My eldest started college last week, which has got me thinking about my own college days at Eastern. You’d think that a strong introvert would have dreaded moving into an entirely new social situation and forced to make relationships 1, but in many ways I’d go back to college in a heartbeat.
Maybe if I’d gone to a larger school, with the accompanying factory mentality that is too often part of undergraduate work these days, perhaps my experience would be different. But I didn’t go to a large school, I went to a small Christian college 2 which was seen as a bit of a black sheep among other Christian colleges for a variety of reasons 3. For four years my job was to read lots of books, try to solve all the theological problems of the world with my friends, or hang out in my professors’ offices after class. I got to hang around, and study, people who knew stuff, and expected me to be interested in the stuff they knew. It was metaphorical heaven. To this day I still strive to surround myself with people love to learn and muse. College revealed that side of me.
So as my daughter begins her college journey that’s what I hope for her. I hope she’ll discover the joy of learning rather assuming she already knows. I hope her biases are challenged, her convictions become internalized, and her ability to hear dissenting thoughts is strengthened 4. Because that’s what college should be – learning how to think well.
- And apparently one of the personality tests we had to take during orientation flagged me as someone who was likely to struggle, not continue my education, and possibly drop out. I still remember laughing at my advisor. ↩
- Now it’s a university, I never updated my degree. ↩
- No curfew, no mandatory chapel attendance, we didn’t immediately expel LGBT students (a stance with which I disagreed at the time, to be honest), etc. ↩
- As well as to recognize the difference between actual dissent and monstrous opinion. ↩