Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going to College

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(This photo is of Oregon State University.

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 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) 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.


  1. Interesting post. Thank you for sharing. I have to agree. Did I go to college? No. Do I plan to go to college? No. Are there times I wish I had? Yes, in a way. I value education a great deal. While I don't think college is the only way to get it, I sometimes think it would be nice to have a little piece of paper that says "I have arrived." :) My very best friend outside the family is working on getting her Masters degree. I admire what she has done, she admires what I have done. The important thing is recognizing that God has called us to different things and encouraging each other to be in His will first and foremost.

    Enjoy learning and seek God’s direction for your life.



    I think you will love this. I support you all the way.
    By the way, I hope you remember me. Joanna, someone you met on Logos Hope in Port Klang, Malaysia =)

  3. Hi Alyssa. I discovered your blog through the Teen Novel Team group! I know how difficult 180 decisions can be having recently made the opposite one and left college to continue writing! :)

    I think you nailed it on the head. Doing college isn't for everybody and not doing college isn't for everybody. You need to go where you feel God is leading you! Right now, at this point in my life, writing is where I need to be! And I love it!

    I'm excited for your new adventures that will be coming up. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love this post! Absolutely nothing wrong with female missionaries!! They change the world, too :)