“What college are you going to?”
This is the question that dominated my last year of high school.
At the beginning of my senior year my future was extremely fuzzy. I could hardly see anything & really had no clue where my path lead. I had some ideas but nothing was really set in stone. All I knew for certain was that God would lead me where I was meant to be. He would take care of me.
As the school year progressed parts of my future slowly began to become clearer.
I went on a campus tour of the University of North Texas & really enjoyed it.
I attended a journalism convention where I realized my passion for writing & possible future as a journalist.
Everything was slowly coming together. It was still pretty fuzzy, but I could make out some objects. Although I couldn’t tell what they were, I knew they were there.
When I imagined college I saw myself living in some dorm on some campus at some four year university. To me, that’s what college was. So when I visited UNT (Go Eagles!), everything clicked. There were so many things that lined up with what I was looking for in a school & potential home.
They had a great journalism school.
I had a lot of friends who already went there.
One of my close cousins was also going there in the fall & could be my roommate!
AND! My church had just recently planted a brand new satellite church in the same area!
It was fate.
I remember the moment I knew that UNT would become my future home. My vision felt clear as day. So, I applied & got accepted- everything was great.
Except, four year universities are kind of expensive. And while everything seemed clear & perfect in my eyes, my parents weren’t seeing the same thing. I’m their oldest of three kids and within the next four years all of us will be in college. Now that is expensive.
My future began to become fuzzy again.
I applied for a couple of big scholarships but I knew it would still be a lot on my parents financially. They could pay for my college expenses, but we all knew deep down it just wasn’t what was best for us as a family.
What my parents had in mind was not something I had given a thought to for my possible future- community college.
There was one a few minutes away from my house. I didn’t consider it as an option until I had to.
I mean…it wasn’t a four year university. It wasn’t UNT. It wasn’t very exciting. And it wasn’t in my plans.
But it was logical. It was close. It was wayyy cheaper. And (surprise!) it was in God’s plans.
I knew in my heart that NCTC was where I was going to end up in the fall, but I didn’t want it to be true. There was always a tiny sliver of self-forced hope that UNT was where I’d be. My parents told me they would support me & get me there if I really felt like I should go to UNT right away- but they could feel it in their hearts too.
I wrestled with this for awhile and went back & forth about where I felt I should go as my senior year slowly began to come to an end. I tried to make my future seem fuzzy when the answer was clear.
But ultimately, God’s plan for me trumped the plan I was trying to make happen for myself.
“What are you majoring in?”
“Where are you going to college?”
I remember the first time I actually said that I was going to a (gasp!) community college. I felt like I had to explain why & add on the fact that “I’m only going there for my basics & then I’m transferring to UNT to study my major”.
I wasn’t ashamed that I was going there. I just wasn’t excited. On the outside looking in, it would seem so silly to feel this way because at the end of the day- it is still college & I’m going to get the same education as I would have during my first two years at a four-year university & I am going to be at UNT eventually so it is still my future home & I will still get a college experience there!
But I wasn’t on the outside looking in, I was right up in the middle of tons of kids my age who were making commitments to big schools & who were getting excited about their future homes & who were going to leave to go on to, what seemed like, “bigger & better things”.
And, because my heart wasn’t completely focused on God & His plan for me, I really struggled with being excited about my graduation & future. The fuzziness was gone, everything was pretty clear- and I didn’t like what I saw.
I wish I could say that from the beginning I was focused on God & where He was taking me & all of the positive things NCTC had to offer & that I was excited about the fact that I was even getting to go to school but, honestly, I wasn’t.
It took time for God to open my eyes & humble me. It was only during the last few weeks of high school that He began to truly open up my vision to the clear future He had for me.
At first, the only hope I held onto was the undeniable contentment God had given me about my decision to go to NCTC.
I felt like I was alone in my decision & was the only one in my class who was taking the “NCTC path”. But through conversations & announcements & hallway signs (God works in mysterious ways…) He encouraged me by physically showing me that I am not alone.
Then He began to open my eyes to the logical aspects that my parents had seen from the very start. That was so big because I began to see how much of a blessing it was for me to have the option to go right down the street to a great, affordable community college.
Everytime I would tell someone, whether it was a fellow student or adult, that I was going to NCTC they would confirm & encourage me.
And most recently, God has been placing Godly relationships who go to NCTC in my life. He’s also laid on my heart the fact that I get to stay rooted in my life here at home for at least another year. I am confident that He is going to answer some big prayers this year & do some amazing things in & through me. He has taken me out of a valley & has put me on a mountaintop of hope & excitement for this new season.
I’ve never felt so content about where I’m going. He has made my vision crystal clear & the future I’m seeing is exciting, bright & mine. I am beyond ready!
So, why am I sharing this mini journey to my freshman year of college with you?
Well, I want it to be a reminder (to any & everyone, no matter where you are in life) that God’s plan for you doesn’t look like everyone else’s plan. And sometimes, that is a hard truth to swallow.
But He does have a plan for YOU & even though the journey can seem crazy & hopeless, the destination will be so much more satisfying than what the world could have ever dreamed of offering you.
At the end of the day, we are all walking different paths & I am so thankful that, no matter how confusing our paths may become, we can rest in the truth of knowing that we have a Father who gives us a hope & future to prosper us.
Today, I am proud to say that I am going to be a student at NCTC (Go Lions!) this fall & can’t express to you in words just how excited I am that God is going there with me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”