This is how it all unfolded... in June, I found a mentorship program that I want to start this October (more about that later). When I mentioned it to my dad, he brought up the whole college thing again. He asked if I could do both college and the mentorship program. He really thinks it's a good idea for me to complete my degree.
Anyways, this year was the first year that I actually seriously considered it. In the years past, I knew it wasn't what God had for me. It's not that I'm against college at all, I just knew God wasn't leading me to be in college at that time in my life. I didn't want to just go to college because most everyone else goes to college. Getting a four-year-degree right after graduating high-school seems to be "the thing" to do. I didn't want to follow the crowd. When I was 18, I attended a college for a year on-campus, as well as a year online during my senior year of high-school. I went mostly because it was what was expected of me, from my dad, as well as from society. I bought into the lie that I wouldn't be worth anything if I didn't have a college education. Like people can't possibly be educated if they aren't "formally educated."
I also didn't want to go unless and until I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I didn't want to get any degree, I wanted to be passionate about my degree. I feel that so many young people go to college, without truly knowing what they want to do with their lives, and then they end up with huge amounts of debt, with a degree they'll never use. Another big factor was I didn't want to be in lots of debt.
Because this was the first year that I didn't immediately know I wasn't supposed to continue my education, I know it was God who opened my heart to going back. It was also important to me to have a Christian-based education. If I went back to school, I knew I didn't want to obtain my degree from a liberal university. Just the fact that I even looked into it proves to me it was God. Christian colleges are very expensive. I know because my freshman year was quite expensive and I was in debt. It's an amazing story of how God got me out of debt.
Anyways, I also knew that I would probably want to continue my education online. At this point in my life, I have a job, I will be traveling and speaking a lot, and I just have a lot of "stuff" going on. I can't exactly move somewhere and focus my entire life on college, like most 18-21 year-olds do.
I looked into Liberty's online program and saw the perfect degree for me. I know several people who went to Liberty, including my best friend. I am from Crozet, Virginia, which is about an hour away from the Liberty campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. I've always known about Liberty and that it's a great Christian school.
It turns out because I am 24 before the end of December (as of August 12th), this is the very first year I am eligible for a grant that will pay a large portion of my tuition. The fact that God put it on my dad's heart to mention college to me again... the fact that I was actually open to it... the fact that I looked into Liberty University, even though I know Christian colleges are expensive... the fact that they have the perfect degree program for me... the fact that this is the very first year I am eligible for this grant... it just amazes me to see the hand of God in this! I knew that if I wasn't meant to do it, the Lord would show me and it wouldn't work out. It was probably within a couple weeks that I applied to the program and was accepted and all registered for classes! It happened really fast.
It's also incredible that when I was 18, I chose the degree of Psychology. It works out that because I already had that degree, nearly all my credits are transferring over, which makes me a third of the way through my program. It's just amazing that I am still sticking with this degree, just with a different focus and passion. Sooo much has happened in my life since I first went to college in 2007-2008.
I will complete my degree in three years, so I will graduate in spring 2016. Since I live close enough, I will go to Lynchburg for my graduation! I could technically finish in two years, but because I have so much going on, I don't want to be overwhelmed. I am a full-time student, but I will be taking the least amount of credits I can to remain full-time.
My degree is Psychology with a specialization in Crisis Counseling. I am really excited about this degree program and know that it will greatly benefit me in ministry and doing whatever it is God calls me to. I believe my degree will better equip me to minister to women in unintended pregnancies, as well as post-abortive women. I am considering continuing my education so I can be a licensed counselor, with the goal of counseling women who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Even if I do not continue my education after undergraduate school, I know God has led me to this point and that He will guide me in His plan for my life. I am in a place where I want an education, not just a degree. I will appreciate my education in a way I wouldn't have if I had gone straight through school. I know that even if I never professionally use my degree, it will better equip me to serve Jesus and others in the areas where I feel called to be in ministry. Primarily, I want to be a writer and speaker. And I believe it will help give me credibility in that.
Anyways, after just a couple weeks of school, I am so thrilled that I chose Liberty! They are the largest Christian University in the world, with one of the largest number of online students - 90,000!! They have an amazing, established program, with great professors. And I am so glad to be at a school where I can not only be open about my beliefs, but also everything is taught from a Biblical worldview. It's AWESOME!
I just want to encourage others not to feel like going to college is the only thing that makes you have value. I believe part of the reason I wasn't supposed to go until now was because God wanted to teach me many lessons in waiting... one being to trust Him and not care what other people say or think. Trust the Lord to lead you where He wants you. I also want to encourage people to look into online college. It's so convenient and much cheaper!
I'm off to finish my homework for the week. This is going to be a long journey... please pray for me! :)