Better than a dream school

The college application process really intimidated me. Even though I had worked hard in high school, applying to colleges still felt like I was putting my name into a hat and crossing my fingers that, magically, I would be chosen. 

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When spring arrived, I started hearing from the colleges I’d applied to, but letter after letter was the same: a rejection. I was confused and frustrated because—on paper—I was qualified for almost all of these colleges. But that didn’t seem to matter. 

Dismayed, I turned to God in prayer as I had so many times before when I’d needed help. I wanted to feel God’s guidance and know that no matter what, there was a place for me—that God would lead me to wherever I needed to be. 

I began by pulling out my phone and opening Concord, an online program that allows you to search the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings, including the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. I decided to look up the word patience because I wanted to stop the creeping feeling of worry that was trying to overwhelm me. This was supposed to be an exciting time in my life, but it was hard to feel calm, expectant, and patient when it seemed like everything was out of my control. 

I wanted to feel God’s guidance and know that no matter what, there was a place for me.

In my search, I came across this passage from Science and Health: “When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path” (p. 254). This helped me feel less afraid, because I knew that since God is my Father-Mother, He always gives me just what I need—just as any good parent provides for his or her child. I prayed to understand more clearly that my God-determined place was already established and that I could see this spiritual fact expressed in a practical way in my life. I knew the right college would be just as much a blessing for me as I could be for it. 

During this time, I visited a college that I hadn’t been considering too seriously. I was surprised when I really liked it. The people there made me feel at home, even though it was two thousand miles away from home. And I could see lots of positives to being a student there.

When I returned home, I felt intuitively that this was the college for me. I had this quiet, underlying assurance that I was being taken care of. It was almost as though the decision were out of my hands. But initially I pushed these feelings away because I thought my own plan to attend a name-brand school was better. 

That’s something else that’s intimidating about the college admissions process: It’s so hard not to make a decision based on a school’s name, on its programs and location, or on where your friends are going. I wrestled with wanting certain things in a school, but deep down I knew that making a decision based on these factors really wasn’t going to make me happy in the long run. I knew I wanted to go to a college where I could give back instead of just focusing on myself and what I was getting from the experience. 

I suddenly saw that what had looked like a disappointment was actually a gift.

It dawned on me that God had been leading me all along, but I’d been so busy stubbornly trying to make my own plan happen that I’d felt disappointed and rejected instead of grateful. As I reflected back on the letters from some of my dream schools, I suddenly saw that what had looked like a disappointment was actually a gift.

This insight broke my fixation on where I couldn’t go to college and opened me up to seriously considering the school I’d visited and loved. After that, it was easy to make the decision to go to the college where I’d felt so at home.

I’m so happy to have ended up where I did, and I have been blessed by many opportunities to give back to the campus. What I’m even more grateful for, though, is learning that I can discern God’s guidance and direction and can trust it and act on it.

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