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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The other side of the college coin (another type of change)

To see what I wrote on the mother side of the college coin, go here and here. This time I am going to write about the student's view of things (even though I am a mother and haven't attended college for many more years than my son and daughter are old, I still get it). 

I have a friend whose two daughters head to college this week. Her oldest is the same age as my daughter and is a senior this year; her youngest, and last, is a freshman. This means she is facing empty nest and she is already struggling. I understand.

This morning I was thinking of the other side of this college coin and thought of myself when I was the one going away instead of the one staying behind. 

I remember what it was like leaving for school so long ago. I had mixed feelings...I was so excited to be grown up, to be out on my own and responsible for myself, but at the same time, I was nervous about the whole thing. Change is difficult and I loved my home and my family. I was taking leave of the familiar and embracing the unknown.

There are things about that year that were very good for me. I took some art classes and really explored my capabilities for the first time. I found that I was able to do well in my classes, if I applied myself. I made new friends and learned to love the campus life.

There were also things that were not good for me. Leaving behind the authority of my parents and their wise reminders of right and wrong, I went full on into exploring the wrong side of that equation. I was at a public university and trust me, they didn't care what I did.* In addition to academics, I also studied the party side of higher education and most of what that entails. I still worked away on my schooling, but I missed a lot of early morning classes. My problem was a lack of character (read: self discipline) and no lack of sin nature.

Becoming independent is where the rubber meets the road. Will godly principles or  ungodly self-indulgences rule the day? Ungodly activities are ubiquitous; godly activities are not (Matthew 7:13). If you are about to embark on this journey, please consider carefully who you want to be on the other side, because what you do now will affect then. Consequences are a reality of life (Galatians 6:7).

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* In a very real sense, debauchery was encouraged and embraced by many of my professors; it was a harsh environment and I was at a vulnerable age. I wanted to appear grown up. I didn't want to appear to be prudish or a wimp. So, when I saw the explicit illustrations in my biology textbook for the first time, I subdued my urge to blush and did not allow my jaw to drop. When the subject was openly discussed in a large, full auditorium, I had to steel myself against my embarrassment and push away my screaming conscience. The first time a nude model walked into my art class (again, I was surrounded by my peers - male and female), I  again found myself caught up in a struggle between the morals I had been raised with vs. the social mores of that place. The social mores won the day. This isn't a big surprise. I was not a believer at that time and the conscience of a depraved and unsaved soul is easy to suppress (Romans 1:18). 

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