Ivory Tower Dreams7:30 AM
It wasn't that I didn't want to go to college. Rub shoulders with people studying the same books as I. Have coffee with my English professor. Debate current affairs in the lounge. That was dream-stuff to me. I loved it. I wanted it.
But for a while, it wasn't God's will at all. Expensive education lay every which way I looked, but none was my opportunity. As a steward, as a servant, spending four years of my life and thousands of greenbacks getting a half-helpful degree was not the best aspiration. Still, I settled on an online college and shrugged off the disappointment of never meeting a professor or stepping foot in white tower academia.
Not being college bound didn't hurt me a bit. Indeed, knowing nothing would come to me on a course plan made me study harder, longer, deeper. I wasn't locked into college planning: I studied theology, British literature, classical feminism, childhood development, things that interested me without earning school credit. Since entrance into an online school was practically guaranteed, I didn't take classes at the local college that would have made my transcript look trim but burdened me with repeat stuff I learned in eighth grade. I actually studied the hard stuff, volunteered and reveled in my writing obsession.
And I kept throwing away college propaganda.
So on and so forth until the daily mail yielded up two shiny brochures: one from a liberal arts college forty-five minutes away and one from south-central Michigan's Hillsdale College. Classical education. Judeo-Christian backdrop. Thriving Christian presence. Christian studies major. Study abroad options at Oxford. Need I say more?
They even had annual all-campus water balloon fights.
Seriously, seriously, it was too good to be true - and it was expensive beyond belief - and there was the problem that I'd untechnically sworn never to go to college - and I hadn't really prepared for a selective college - and did I really want to tell my mother, who was currently corresponding with the dean of the online school about my expected enrollment, that her flighty daughter had changed her mind again?
And who was I kidding? Eight semesters away from mi familia? Eight hours away from my friends, my home church, my Daniel Franklyn? Living like a typical college girl, homeless, family-less, who'd never been in a class setting in her life, whose ACT scores weren't anything to brag about, who would wilt at the first political debate under the shadow of the Winston Churchill statue?
No, ma'am. No, sir. I cried myself to sleep every night just thinking about it.
But I jump ahead of myself. At the love at first sight moment, I woke from my trance and snatched the brochure from the burn pile. Bailey Bergmann was never going to be a college girl. She'd said so herself. Everyone else had said so. But I hid it under my desk mess, guiltily.
I starting praying again: Maybe? Is it possible? Am I dreaming? Why now? Who, me? After becoming the congratulated spokeperson of stay-at-home-daughterhood by default?
My mum called me down to the computer. She wanted me to look over an email to the online college re: CLEP tests and courses. I told her then, like a girl breaking off an engagement, cutting her old life clean in two: "I don't really want to do this anymore."
We talked - we talked money, life goals, will of God, girls, home life, college.
"Bailey," my mother told me, "of course I want you here with me. I want all my children with me, always, but I would rather have you away from me in the center of God's will than close at home and far away from Him."
It was the first of many talks - how can I submit to my parents eight hours away? How do I involve my family? How do I stay strong all on my own? - but never, not once, did I doubt, though I cried and thought hard and worried what everyone would say.
The problem was money. No way did I have $120,000 for four years of college. No way did my parents have the means to get a second mortgage on the house. No way was I going into debt.
Scared out of my wits to lose my dream but determined to follow the Lord's will, I promised this: "If it's Your will, You will provide every single penny for this education. If it's not, You won't. And I will not circumvent Your will."
I would do His will His way. To do it another way would be to not do it at all.
The next day I received a thick packet in the mail (well, my school principal did, but that's beside the point) announcing that Bailey Bergmann was a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist...which meant that I was now valuable property. Colleges would pay to have me if I advanced to the finals, and if I became a scholar, I would have more scholarships than years to do college. And guess who was an affiliate with NMSP?
That's right. Hillsdale College.
Funny thing was, I'd taken the PSAT (the scholarship test, basically) at a time when I didn't know I was going to college, at a time I didn't know what potential it held, at a time I didn't realize it was imperative that I get an amazing score.
Other little things fell in place, little doors letting in light on the bigger picture of God's will, and long story short, I'm almost finished applying, I'm visiting in November and if it's the Lord's will, I'll be enrolling next fall.
Will you pray for me? Will you walk with me? Will you encourage me to seek God's will whether or not this falls through?
Thank you, friends.
I am amazed at God.
p.s. Consider the comment section OPEN on the debate, "Should Christian girls desiring marriage and family go to college?" Ready, set, go.