No one was more shocked than me when I didn't go to college.
The college talk in my house was always, "When you go to college," not "If you go to college." And my high school was Notre Dame de Sion College Preparatory School for girls. If anyone was on the road to college, it was me.
I had really big plans for myself, and they pretty much all centered on fleeing the nest in Kansas City. New York, Boston, L.A. Those kinds of destinations.
Until my senior year, when my college plans started creeping a little closer to home. I applied to, visited, and was accepted by Loyola of Chicago and Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. I also applied to K-State, where my boyfriend was going, but life in Manhattan, Kansas (or "The Little Apple" ... yes, I'm serious) didn't really thrill me.
Feeling totally confused about where I should go, I started asking everyone, "What do you think? Where should I go to school?" And everyone had different opinions and reasonings.
In the end, I wound up so flummoxed, I decided to take a semester off, reevaluate, and apply elsewhere. My second college search turned up even more fruitless than the first. I decided on University of Missouri - Kansas City, registered for classes, and then... Well, didn't go. So then I decided on K-State, now that my boyfriend had turned into my fiance. I don't remember if I actually signed up for classes or not, but I was pretty far into the process when I backed out.
After that, college became an idea I occasionally toyed with but never followed through on.
Everything worked out great. I wound up with the exact life I wanted for myself - husband, kids, writing - without the debt of a degree. We even spent some time living on the East coast, where I learned that I didn't want out of Kansas City quite as badly as I'd thought.
So, I don't know why, but at 3am last night, it dawned on me that in that entire process, I never asked God what I should do. I was a Christian in high school. I'm guessing I prayed once or twice about it, but I never actually sought His will in the matter. Instead, I sought everybody else's.
God's done a lot over the years to bring me to the wonderful place I am now, so as best as I can tell, this was His plan all along. But had I talked to Him from the beginning, I probably would have avoided a lot of confusion, stress, and hand cramps from filling out application forms. Something I intend to keep in mind as I continue to make difficult decisions.
Who are you listening to about those big life questions you have?