I stared at the photos on the colorful brochures from several state colleges. These students, with their enlightened yet carefree grins, looked like they were studying physics at Disney World. There they were, gleefully standing in their glossy academic fairyland, far away from the anxiety of their college search.
And there I was, trudging through my own college search. Far from smiling. Far from happy. Far away from any decision.
My search had begun during my junior year. I was confident, hopeful, even excited. After all, wasn't I being such a responsible student to start my search so early? And I'd prayed, asking God to guide me all along the way. I felt he would soon reveal his planned college for me.
Months later, in the middle of my senior year, I was still digging through piles of college materials—no closer to a decision than when I started.
As I sifted through brochures, talked to admissions counselors and fidgeted over financial aid, my planning turned into worrying. My prayers about college became frantic, anxious appeals to God. To put it mildly, I was a stressed-out mess.
One evening I decided to have a serious talk with Mom about my inability to make a decision. As I sat down on her bed and explained my dilemma, she seemed very concerned. She also wanted me to think carefully about the cost and location of any school I considered. She then suggested I look more seriously at the local state school.
"If you go there," she said gently, "we can afford to pay your tuition and keep you close to home."
"It would be nice to stay here and commute, but I've never been interested in that school," I responded. "It has a business major, but no pre-law concentration."
"We'll support you in whatever you decide to do, but attending State would make sense financially … and you would get to see your family."
I left Mom's room with a lot to think about. I was also still pretty unsure about what to do. While the local state university made sense financially and was close to home, I cringed as I pictured myself in the middle of 16,000 undergraduates at a well-known "party school." Besides, I wanted to study corporate law after college. To prepare, I needed a pre-law concentration within a business major. I couldn't get that at the local state school.
The School for Me?
By November, my room was starting to look like a guidance counselor's office. I had pile after pile of college brochures, catalogs and pamphlets. I read, called prospective schools, prayed and worried.
I felt like I was getting absolutely now-here. Then I suddenly remembered an article about a place called Nyack College. I think my mom had clipped it from a magazine and given it to me when I was in 10th grade. Without paying much attention to it, I'd shoved it in my desk drawer and forgotten all about it. Until now.
I sat on my bed and read the article. I found out that Nyack was a small, Christian liberal arts college outside of New York City. It offered a business major, pre-law concentration and Christ-centered curriculum. A Christ-centered curriculum? I felt myself getting excited about the possibility of being taught by Christian professors who could help me understand how my faith fit into my studies and career plans.
What else could I want in a college? My prayers are being answered!
It didn't take me long to contact the school for more information.
When an information packet from Nyack arrived in the mail, I marched proudly into the living room and dropped the material on the coffee table in front of my parents.
"I found my home for the next four years and it's just outside of New York City!" I beamed, maybe just a little too enthusiastically. "Nyack is the Christian liberal arts school that has everything I want. All I need to do is apply and get accepted."