Monday, April 9, 2012

Missionary Kid Monday: College Bound

I knew exactly where I was going when I graduated from my boarding high school in Germany.

To Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Never mind that I had never set foot in Michigan before.

I hardly had a choice: I wanted to go to a Christian liberal arts college where I could get my deaf education degree in less than five years. The ONLY school in all of America that met those criteria was Calvin College!

And just because I had to go there didn't make it any less terrifying. Here were my fears:

1.) I knew no one in Michigan. No one from my graduating class was going to college in Michigan. I would be lonely forever.

2.) College wouldn't be as fun as high school was.

3.) I wouldn't be able to relate to anyone else.

4.) Somebody would ask me the dreaded question:

But I was driven and ambitious and I knew that I really wanted that deaf education degree. So I went!

My parents flew me out to drop me off. (I'm sure they were terrified in a completely different way!)

I remember thinking that the campus looked so BIG and AMERICAN. I remember feeling so incredibly homesick for Europe. I remember alternating between an internal hissy fit and dramatic weepiness.

But the worst part? My mom tried to console me with these words:

"Don't worry honey. Soon, this place is gonna feel like home."

At the time, this felt like a knife going straight through my heart. To me, feeling at home in Michigan meant betraying my very identity as a Missionary Kid. Never! These words made me angry.

But of course, like most wisdom my mom gives me, she was absolutely right. If you asked me where home was now, I would most likely say "Michigan" (unless you had like 10 minutes to hear the whole story!)

Back then, however, I was depressed. And, if I'm being honest, too arrogant to understand that many other college freshmen had some of the same fears I did.

Looking back, I wish I had given America and college more of a chance. Instead, I retreated into myself most of that first year. I think I missed out on a lot of friendships that way.

How was your first year of college? Tell me, I'd love to know!


  1. I'm so impressed you knew what you wanted to do when you grew up, knowing what major to pursue, etc. So many college students switch majors multiple times. Way to follow through!
    I went to a school where I only knew one person from my childhood and ended up running into some others I went to elementary school with...but we didn't really hang out. College was hard, but I eventually made friends and found my niche :)

  2. Oh I'm in love with that picture! It's always so hard meeting new people because of it. I usually respond with "all over" and hope that'll be the end of the conversation, but of course not. ;) Mt first year of college was actually at a community college. I took basic classes there to save money and figure out what I really wanted to do when I got to school. Worst decision ever! I only hung out with people I went to high school with. Everything was taught on such a low level that I literally felt like I learned nothing and there was no challenge!

  3. You really knew what you wanted! That's something most students don't know until they're almost out of college. Haha. My first year was awful. I got very sick and had to move home because doctors thought I didn't have much time left. I ended up losing a lot of my eyesight and some hair. It's also the reason for the things I can and can't eat now.

  4. oh i hate when people ask where i am from!

  5. My first year in college was all about chorale and getting sick with mono!! And by the way, how is it you remember these things I say....I sure don't! Love you