The college decision deadline is approaching. By May 1st, many high school seniors will have to have committed to a college or university for next year. It's a time that brings excitement but also angst. Where will I be? Should I go east coast or west coast? Small school or large school? Faith-based or secular? Public or private? While some might say these are "good problems," they also impose legitimate worry. Students in the high-achieving American milieu don't want to fail, and many tend to think that choosing the wrong college may cause failure.
It doesn't help that many colleges require the selection of a major before students even graduate high school. What room does that leave for growth and development? What about letting different classes and experiences shape one's course of study? I find that a lot of the pre-college anxiety is increased by students' belief that they have to have their lives and careers figured out by the time they are 18. But, as many students ask, what if? What if they want to change their minds? What if they end up hating pre-med or enjoying philosophy? What if they just aren't sure and need some time?
In these decision-heavy days, I find that part of my role is to remind students of the Spirit's varied paths. I want to say: Your college choice is not all-or-nothing, your major can change, and you can transfer schools if necessary. Be open to mystery, and don't let the desire for certainty restrict your search for truth, freedom, and authenticity.