Confession: I have an absolutely horrible time deciding what to eat. Ask my friends, who moan and groan every time we go to a restaurant because they know how long it takes me to order. One time, I even went to the kitchen to change my coconut cream pie order (can you make sure it's chilled, please?) to a caramel apple pie (with extra caramel, heated until warm, but not hot, please). Isn't that pathetic?
Seriously, I'm not this way about every choice in my life. If I'm late to a class, I can put on sweatpants and yesterday's T-shirt with no hesitation. Movie choices? I'm willing to watch most anything. While food is such an insignificant decision in the long run, maybe my pickiness has led to some good choices about other decisions in life.
College was one of those choices. When I began my search, I had multiple boxes of information. I felt like I was at one of my favorite restaurants, called The Cheesecake Factory. Not only does it have 200-plus menu items ranging from Thai Lettuce Wraps to Buffalo Chicken Pizza to Jamaican Black Pepper Shrimp, but 36 types of cheesecake including Kalua Cocoa Coffee, White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and Passion Fruit Piña Colada. And wouldn't you know it would be a lot harder to choose a college than a cheesecake? I knew it would take awhile before I could make a decision.
Like with menu items, I started eliminating schools. No big universities for me (and no dish with asparagus, thank you very much). And my school had to have a writing program, because for me, writing is as essential as chocolate in a dessert.
I didn't want my school to be in the big city or in the middle of a cornfield. I wanted the perfect balance between exotic and homey. Slowly, the piles shrank.
Next, I got informed. When it comes to food, I can't make a decision without first asking the waiter about five million questions. So, I started talking to anyone who knew anything about my top 10 schools: alumni, students, faculty, admissions officers, and even my pastor.
I also sat down with my parents to see what they thought about each school's cost, programs and reputation. They were great consultants and could give me a more objective opinion. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of a decision, I need an outside perspective to lay out the pros and cons of each choice. That's why I bug my friends to help me narrow down my food options, and that's why my parents could help me narrow down my college options.
I got it down to three schools. Just three. Then came the toughest part. At times like these, I wish I could sample a bite of each dish so I could be certain before I made my selection. Thankfully, colleges aren't like restaurants—they let you sample before you buy! So, I visited two of my three schools, asked a lot more questions at each, and experienced "real" life while staying with students on campus. After I nibbled, chewed thoughtfully and swallowed, I believe God caused a pleasant rumbling in my belly to say, "This is the one for you."
With God as my personal connoisseur in this vast menu of colleges, I feel confident about my college choice. He's given me peace to enjoy every bite of this place—and I'm not planning to go back to the kitchen and change my order.
Just don't ask me to pick out a cheesecake any time soon.