(This photo is of Oregon State University.
It's from http://oregonstate.edu/.)
Disclaimer: This post is not an attempt to spark bitter arguments or put down stay-at-home daughters.
A few years ago, I made the decision that I would not be going to college. A few months ago, I did a 180 and decided to go to college. Here's a glimpse into what happened.
When I first heard about stay-at-home daughterhood and watched Visionary Daughters, it seemed really nice. It made sense. I like being different from the crowd. But in a sense, I jumped from one crowd straight into another one. I don't think either one is inherently "wrong". It depends on God's will for your life. Where is He leading you? You can glorify God at home. You can glorify God in college. You can glorify God on the mission field. You can honor him as a homemaking wife and mother. You can honor him as a doctor. As a lawyer. As a writer.
That's what really matters, isn't it? Bringing God glory. Loving Him first and loving others second.
There can be wrong motives for going to college and there can be wrong motives for staying at home.
The problem that sticks out in my mind is that the stay-at-home daughterhood movement often doesn't stop at sharing their position as a viable alternative...it often presents itself as the right option at the exclusion of everything else. Come to think of it, some college-loving people do the same thing. "You're not going to college?!? What?? What will you do with your life?" That's not right, either. College is not for everyone. I stand by that.
One of the defining issues that made me finally stop defending and promoting stay-at-home daughterhood is their stance on missions. They're against women missionaries. (Unless you're married and move as an entire family unit to another country.) They see the heroic God-fearing single women missionaries of the past as flukes. Accidents. Mistakes. I see them as women following God's calling on their life...women who were in the very center of God's will for them. Were they perfect? No, none of us are. Are all women destined to be missionaries? No, neither are all men. We are all called to be a part of the Great Commission by praying and sending and sharing the Gospel wherever we are. Not all are meant to go (who would be there to send?). But if God says go, you go. Having felt the undeniable longing in my heart for missions, I cannot say "no".
This was separate from my decision to go to college. I can be a missionary without a college degree.
I hated doing a 180 on such a life-altering decision. The first time it was relatively easy. As a kid, I'd grown up thinking that of course, I'd go to college...isn't that what everyone does? (Both of my parents are college graduates.) When I decided at about 14 years of age to stay at home, my parents were supportive. We both saved a lot of money. I didn't need to find a job outside the home. Sure, people might have occasionally thought I was crazy...I had to get used to that eventually, anyway :). But after four years of highschool...four crucial formative teen years of not preparing for college...never having taken the SAT...after telling family and friends...after *gulp* trying to convince others that they didn't need to go to college (and to stay at home)...it was not a decision I could make lightly. I wrestled with it. Once I make a decision, I like to stick with it. I make goals and I work hard to achieve them. I went over the pros and cons. I knew this decision would affect the rest of my life.
And...I chose college.
For a variety of reasons.
Not the least of which was...I love media. I'm especially passionate about filmmaking. If I can someday combine media and missions, it'll be a dream come true. The truth is that most organizations (yes, even mission organizations) require a degree if you're going to be working for them in a technical field like video production or at least equivalent work experience (which is horribly difficult to get without a degree). So my plan is to major in New Media Communications and minor in writing.
Now, this is not a right-away thing. It's not even a for-sure-this-will-work-out-and-happen thing. Due to not having taken the SAT in time, I can't attend university until Fall 2013 (unless I want to go without any chance of receiving financial aid...uh, no, thank you). And you know what this means: I still need to take the SAT. It keeps looming in my future. I feel so inadequate in math. I know I need to just pick a test time and do it. (And study, of course.)
There are unanswered questions. What if I don't get a high enough score on the SAT? What if I don't get a job to help pay for college? What if...? If I try my best and it's God's will, I have to believe it will all work out.
So that's where I'm at right now. I've made a conscious choice to go to college but there are no guarantees. In that respect, it's easier to choose to stay at home because there aren't so many unknowns that could keep you from doing it. It's certainly not stopping me from trying, though!
I'm actually taking my first college class online through a local community college. More on that later.