Tired of trying to figure out my future, I plopped down on the couch and let out a big sigh. "I think you're making this too hard, Alyssa," Mom said with concern. I knew she was trying to encourage me, but it wasn't exactly working. Trying to decide if I should go away to college or stay close to home was becoming the hardest decision of my life.
It was the summer after my graduation, and I still had so many doubts. Everyone kept telling me to "weigh my options." But that was the problem—there seemed to be too many!
My friends assured me it would be impossible to get the full college experience if I didn't go away. But many of my parents' friends who were older and wiser kept reminding me how important it is to stay grounded in my local church, surrounded by people who'd continue to hold me accountable in my walk with God.
After listening to all their advice, I felt like a bee's nest had exploded in my head. I had a million swarming questions. Will I grow up if I stay close to home? Will I be miserable if I go away?
Before I knew it, I'd ripped off the month of July from my calendar. August had never seemed so intimidating before. I needed to make a decision soon. But what if I make the wrong choice?
Over the next few days, I spent a lot of time thinking through everything I'd been told. And I prayed that God would make it clear to me what choice I should make. That's when I began to realize that I was consistently coming back to the same issue. I just didn't feel ready to leave my friends, family and church behind. So why should I?
The next day I was talking to my mom. I hadn't told her yet which way I was leaning in my decision. I was still kind of scared I might be making the wrong one. Somewhere in the conversation my mom said, "Alyssa, I know you can survive if you choose to attend a college far from home." That was really what I needed to hear. At that point I realized she had confidence in my decision, no matter what I decided to do. I think that's probably what gave me the boost I needed to make my final choice.
I've never been disappointed with the decision I made to attend a local college. In fact, I continue to be challenged, nurtured, and strengthened in my faith and spiritual growth every day. Choosing the right college is tough; that's why it's so important to listen to the wisdom of those who know you best. God can use them in a big way to guide you; he definitely did that for me.
Alyssa is a college junior majoring in English.