I was so excited about going to college. Finally, after four agonizing years of seemingly meaningless classes in high school, I was going to pursue my dreams. I was going to become a teacher. That's what I'd wanted to do since I was about 5 years old, scribbling on my chalkboard and teaching "pretend" lessons to my Cabbage Patch Kids. I couldn't think of anything else in the whole world I'd rather do.
As I got older and began to babysit, I found I loved teaching little kids how to recognize colors or how to count to 10. My mom, a third-grade teacher, encouraged me to pursue teaching and was proud to know I would follow in her footsteps. So, as soon as I got to school, I felt confident about declaring a major in education. I felt fortunate to be so sure of what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Going to Gordon College was part of my plan. My sister and other family members had graduated from there, and I felt at home on campus. I believed the school would prepare me to be the amazing teacher I had always wanted to be. I never imagined things wouldn't work out. I hadn't considered that my plans might not be the same as God's plans.
Something Wasn't Right
Over the next two years, I faithfully pursued my major in education. But something wasn't right. As hard as I tried, I couldn't explain away the constant feeling of drudgery. I loathed writing lesson plans that bombed in the classroom. I felt overwhelmed by being the educator, mentor, and disciplinarian for each child.
Teaching meant endless preparation and constant control over every aspect of the classroom. On the way to school to teach math to a group of third graders,
I would gaze out the window and wish that just at that moment I could be turned into a squirrel or some other creature whose only worry is in finding the next nut.
That's when I knew I couldn't ignore the symptoms any longer. Longing to be a rodent rather than facing the reality of entering the doors of Cutler Elementary was a huge warning sign for me. It told me that if I continued to pursue teaching, I was going to be miserable for a very long time. My mom tried to encourage me to stick with it, but I was convinced I needed to drop my education major, a realization that left me feeling confused and unsettled. What had happened to my plan?
A few weeks later I decided to major in English instead. I had always enjoyed reading and writing, but I wondered how I'd manage to fulfill all the requirements with only two years left before graduation. What am I going to do with an English major anyway? What if I'm not smart enough to be an English major? After all, the English majors I know are bound to be the next Ernest Hemingways and Jane Austens. Self-doubt continued to eat away at me.
I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, and I found that unbearably unsettling and distressing. I cried. I got depressed. I hated feeling like I didn't have a purpose or any goals. But what I hated even more than anything else, was that I wasn't in control of my future anymore.
In an almost panicky state of mind, I began to think, "Where do I go from here?" I felt so far from God. And I knew that was a big part of the problem. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I began to pray.
As I searched for God's help, a question began to form in my thoughts: What is college for anyway? Is it a way for me to accomplish my dreams? Obviously not, since my dreams were shot to the ground. I felt foolish, selfish, and out of sync with who God wanted me to be. Wasn't college supposed to get me in sync with who God wanted me to be? To allow God to mold and shape me as his own? Without any goals in mind, I began to find that my purpose rested solely in serving God one day at a time.
A Bigger Purpose