So I am sitting at my computer late in the night filling out college applications online, trying to decide on the right degree plan and which scholarship programs I might be eligible for. Tidal waves of indecision and doubt seem to hit me every day the closer the deadlines come. College means money, lots of it. And I don’t have much, which also means having to take out loans because even with scholarships it won’t be enough. College means making huge decisions about my life direction and future. But I am only nineteen and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. My parents want me to get a degree that is practical or prestigious. My friends think I should go to an art school. My sister wants me to start my own blog or publish a book because she knows I love to write. But to be honest, I really want to follow God and His direction for my life. Its hard to know though if college really fits into that.
What I really want to do is something that is practical and real, that touches peoples lives and brings hope to the hurting and broken of the world. The problems in the world seem overwhelming. I also feel like I need to discover more about who I am and what I am created for. I know getting a degree could be helpful in doing and discovering both of these things. Following God is both logical and irrational at times. But is college really for me right now? I don’t want to just sit in a classroom for hours on end studying theory and memorizing for tests. I want to actually do something that touches others hearts in a way that impacts them for the rest of their lives. Yet I struggle with the knowledge that so many people in the world can’t even afford elementary education, let alone high school. Am I taking for granted my blessings? I’ve heard all the great advice about how I can discover myself in college. They say I don’t need to know by the first year what I want to do. Supposedly by graduation I will have it figured out.
Yet I look at the statistics on the average amount of money a graduate has in debt after college and how many years I would spend afterwards paying it off and the numbers are impossibly discouraging. I don’t want to spend tons of money on something I am not even sure about and then waste over a decade of my life trying to pay off that educational experience while working a job that has nothing to do with what I want to do. I don’t just want to be successful, I want to do something meaningful. I also want to be able to pay my bills, have a phone, be covered by medical insurance and buy food. I am not trying to be unrealistic. But I can’t stop dreaming of something other than college.
And so here I am still tossed between conflicting opinions, trying to make a choice that feels like it determines my entire future forever. A choice I feel pressured to do because it makes sense, but not because it makes me come alive. The opinions, statistics, and choices hurled into my nineteen year old face off the bright light of my computer just make me want to cry in desperation. Surely there are other options that are shorter, more practical and less debit-riddled? How do I know what God’s plan is for my life? Does it include college or not?
This was me at nineteen years old. This might be the story for many of you out there reading this. Maybe you don’t want another option on top of the other dozen options and pressures being hurled at you, but what if there was another choice? Maybe it is not a choice that excludes college forever, maybe just a delay it for a year or two. What if there was a choice with abundant opportunities and very little financial burden? A choice that sends you to the nations, to see the world through multiple perspectives, offers practical training and diverse experiences that is priceless in the informal education and learning you may gain. What if this choice may help you narrow down with confidence and accuracy the degree you want to pursue when you return home and finally start college? Or maybe this choice will launch you into an entirely new adventure in life you had never even considered? Maybe a six-month Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM could be this choice.
Check out our Discipleship Training School here in Norway at YWAM Grimerud for more information!