July 2005


My name is Elizabeth and I’m 28 years old. I’m a Southern gal, “in exile” as I like to say, living in Michigan. Like Kristen, I’m originally from North Carolina, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from North Carolina State University in 1999. I moved to Michigan that same year to pursue a graduate degree in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. I spent four years there. However, with my husband and family’s support, I chose to leave the program “ABD” (all but dissertation) when I became pregnant with my now 20-month old daughter, Charlotte. My husband currently works for the university as a computer programmer. We are very fortunate to be part of a wonderful church family here in Michigan, which makes our separation from our families bearable.

It was actually a very difficult decision for me to leave graduate school because I truly value education, and it was a huge step to “give up” on a PhD, though I know I’m not the first to do so. The last couple of years of grad school I had been unsure about whether to continue or not, because the lifestyle of the female professors I met in my field was not appealing to me- the work hours too many and the stress too great. While I enjoyed my classes, reading, teaching, and much of my research experience, I found that I did not enjoy “the nuts & bolts” of preparing papers for publication and endless grant writing that dominated my experience. However, I’m still thankful for what I learned both inside and outside the classroom and research lab in graduate school. I know that whether or not I eventually pursue another graduate degree in a different field in a future season of my life, I’ll continue to benefit from my grad school experiences. Above all, God really used that challenging time in my life to draw me close to Him.

I enjoy reading the perspectives on College Girl in part because I had become somewhat negative about my graduate school experiences. It’s helped me to gain a better perspective on it- I had found myself thinking positive thoughts about advanced education generally, but negative thoughts about my own experiences. I suppose I was “burned out” by grad school. It may seem strange to say this on a pro-schooling blog, but I believe not ALL schooling experiences are equally beneficial, especially if there is a poor match between the student and program. I went into grad school “on my own steam”, without really seeking counsel from others or even praying about it. I was extremely troubled by this at one point about three years into my program, and spoke to a wise lady who works with graduate students about it. She reminded me that God can redeem all things, and encouraged me not to wallow in guilt from making decisions without seeking His will, but to turn the situation over to His control. I am so thankful that I followed her wise counsel.

Unlike many of these lovely ladies, I did not really grow up in a Christian home. I was christened in the Methodist church, but did not attend as a child, and my mother, at least, was agnostic. She passed away when I was six years old, and my father remarried three years later. My stepmother did start taking us to church, and I came to know Christ when I was 10 years old, and was baptized at that time. I am continually amazed at the way God has worked through difficult circumstances in my life! I feel extremely blessed in my life. While I whole-heartedly support the pursuit of advanced education, and truly enjoyed my undergraduate college experience especially, I love where I am today. I spend most of my time caring for or playing with Charlotte, of course, along with writing, reading, decorating my home, digital scrapbooking, reading and posting on my parenting and scrapbooking message boards, gardening (way too many tomatoes this year!), and enjoying my husband’s good company.

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My name is Kristen. I am one of the younger members of this blog as I’ll be 24 in just over a month. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. I married Michael in August of 2003, moved to Austin, TX and taught third grade for one year. I retired to stay at home with our sweet daughter Kate who was born last July. Our lives were radically altered when we became parents, in the best of ways, and now we’re living in Virginia and expecting Kate’s first sibling at Christmas time.

I was raised in a Christian home and have been faithfully trying to live for Christ as long as I can remember. I still chose to attend a large, secular university which was the perfect fit for me. I loved my college years. I had time and space to really think in college. I figured out a lot of important things theologically and philosophically, was able to serve the church body in a variety of ways and learned a lot from both my classes and my experiences and learned a great deal about myself. I am, and will forever be, a faithful Tar Heel fan, but going to Carolina was a lot more than that to me.

Tonight I am off to a local reception for admitted students matriculating to Carolina this fall. I can’t wait to meet them, to congratulate them, to give them advice and to go home and pray for them by name, that God will use their time at Carolina to draw them to himself in the ways that he used that experience for me.

Fifth post in the series (and too long as usual)….

My name is Joy, and (at 29) I’m the eldest of the four McCarnan “supersiblings.” I was born on the campus of what was to become my alma mater, and earned a B.A. English/Creative Writing and an M.A. Theology from there. I was not “born again” until shortly before my freshman year of college, and so, as God would have it, a great deal of my post-conversion discipleship took place on that campus and in churches affiliated with that university. Like my dad, who also got an M.A. Theology from there, I opted not to use my degree for a pastoral position (we all thank heaven for that). I wanted it for a better basis for discernment in my writing. Even if I never write a book, I’m grateful for the educational path along which the Lord has brought me. When I sought the counsel of men and women for whom I have great respect, whose own lives and accomplishments I admired immensely, not one of them told me I would regret pursuing higher education. Not one of them told me that I would regret pursuing a seminary degree as a female. Did they have admonitions for me? Did they have advice? Yes, and yes. But the unanimous verdict was that a degree in theology could be of benefit to me in every aspect of my future, no matter what God might have on His agenda for me. They said it couldn’t hurt me — couldn’t hurt my “helpmeeting,” couldn’t hurt my mothering, couldn’t hurt my writing, couldn’t hurt my teaching, couldn’t hurt my housekeeping, couldn’t hurt my spiritual life. They said it seemed to them it could only help.

what joy looks likeI live in the river district in Rockford, Illinois (about an hour due west of Chicago). If it would pay the bills, I would write haiku and shoot photos all day, but alas, I had to get a real job. I coordinate the production and promotion of distance education courses for a paleoconservative, classics-focused, magazine-publishing “think tank.” I freelance for BigBlueHat, a South Carolina based web firm. I have a number of dream jobs, some of them more or less likely to be realized. Since the Discovery took off without me yesterday, I’ve had another reminder that “Astronaut” isn’t one of the likelier dreams to be fulfilled. I’d love to be a Wife, a Mother, perhaps a Missionary, a Teacher, a Writer. I’d love to teach creative writing on a university level. I’d love to teach English as a foreign language overseas somewhere. I’d love to write with a Christian worldview, yet competitively artistically and credibly, for a mainstream audience. For now, I’m doing a lot of stuff that I hope will continue to employ and multiply the affinities and abilities God’s given to me — I help out in various ways at my church, teach ESL, teach Greek, edit for Kids4Truth, take pictures, study languages, read fabulous books, sit around plotting ways to visit cool people like my new nephew, and — last but not least — I write the occasional poem or essay or article.

I don’t have a skyrocket IQ. My GPA in college was nothing to write home about (unless the deans were writing warnings home about it). But one of the best things any woman can learn is the vast disparity between what she has learned and what there is left out there to be learned — in other words, how much she doesn’t know. There are a lot of things I should be doing, or that I could be doing, but I’m not unhappy or overly stressed. If I get stir-crazy or tense, there are always rollerblades in the trunk of the car. There are always dishes to wash and letters to write and people to see and places to go. My mama (who has a degree in education, by the way, and who is still pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision) always said, “Only boring people get bored.” A lifelong learner is never bored, and I’m content with how my experience with higher education has helped me become just that — a better lifelong learner.

This is the fourth post in the introductory series.

a quarter of a century and I still have my hope” –eric peters

My name’s Allison Redd and I’m 25 years old. My parents still live in the house where I was raised, located on the banks of a creek in a tiny southeast Alabama town. An only child, I attended public school with the same group of folks from kindergarten until my senior year. My parents instilled in me a desire for higher education: it was never a question of if, just where. I am forever grateful for their guidance: at their prodding, I attended Birmingham-Southern College on a tuition scholarship, where I developed an interest in roadtrips, Reformed theology, and midnight breakfasts. Upon graduation, I left BSC with a greater passion for service-oriented life, a heart for revitalizing urban communities, a much longer books-to-read list, a better appreciation for liturgy and the church year, and a degree: a B.A. in English with a minor in art.

On one particular college roadtrip to see a particular musician, I met my fantastic husband, Gaines, who also hails from the heart of Dixie but stayed in Atlanta after graduating from Georgia Tech. After a two-year long-distance relationship, Gaines and I celebrated the first day of our marriage on August 10th, 2002.

We live in an international apartment complex in northeast Atlanta; our neighbors hail from places like Mexico, Venezuela, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, China, and Korea. For the past three years, we have been part of a ministry called Apartment Life, which seeks to build community and share Christ in urban multi-family homes. Our time requires a mingling of event planning and ministry; this unique vision stems from the desire to connect the local church with apartment complexes so that both benefit. Though we will soon take a sabbatical from our CARES Team duties, we plan to stay in the same apartment and continue developing the friendships we’ve made. I know the kids will keep knocking on our door for popsicles, and I’ll probably teach another ESL class in the evenings if I have time.

I went to college seeking Christian community–and I found it. I also discovered a yearning to be part of God’s transformation of the world. It had not occurred to me before that He sees fit to use us as agents in His redemption of the earth, that all callings are sacred for those in Christ. It took a few extra years for me to discover that my role, for the present, is to be a teacher. On August 7th, I will graduate from Georgia State University with a M.Ed. in English education. A week later, I’ll introduce students to the joy of reading excellent literature as I begin teaching 9th-10th grade English at a public charter school near our home. I love working with international students, and hope to garner an additional TESOL endorsement (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in the next few years.

Higher education is not for everyone, I know. However, I also know that as a wife, daughter, sister-in-law, and (hopefully) mother, my life and the lives of those around me will be enriched because of my years as a professional student. My experiences on the hilltop in Birmingham and among the highrises of Atlanta cultivated in me a wealth of diligence, patience, endurance, and joy that I would not have otherwise. The fact that my parents (and my husband) sacrificed in order to grant me those opportunities makes this blessing that much sweeter. Their support has sustained me through the plethora of papers, projects, and practicums required over the past year and a half, and when I one day see my students walk across a stage to receive their diploma, I will know the effort was not in vain.

This is post number three in the series.

My name is Rachel Draper. Age-wise I register right after Liz as I am almost 24. I was blessed to be home schooled during my whole elementary and high school education. After high school graduation I attended the local community college for three years and graduated in 2003 with an Associates in liberal arts. I then transferred to Bradley University where I completed my B.S. in mathematics this past May. I would love to continue my education in math some day, but at this point I’m taking a break from formal education.

I got married to my wonderful husband, TJ, this past June, so I’m still in the adjustment stage. Lately, I have found myself spending my time sewing, reading, doing cross-stitch and cooking and then of course the less pleasant aspects of homemaking – cleaning. However, I haven’t been able to escape from the math books and you can sometimes find me scratching away at problems on my slate chalkboard.

I’ve been enjoying this blog too much to post on it, but I thought I better come out and introduce myself instead of hiding in the shadows. I enjoy it because it reminds me that it is possible to enjoy formal education and value it, while at the same time valuing home, family and children. The two are not mutually exclusive and I love seeing both set forth as examples in women’s lives.

Post number two in the series.

My name is Liz. I am significantly younger than many (dare I say most?) of these ladies, registering in at almost 23 years old. I started college when I was 16, and subsequently spent six years in undergrad enjoying the way I could let my ecclectic nature wander about from subject to subject. I graduated last summer with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and intend to pursue an M.A. in English within the next five years. Camille has recently got me thinking about adding a Ph.D. in Linguistic Anthropology on to the end of that, but we’ll have to see what happens. A self-defined ecclectic, I have dozens of degrees that I would like to have before the end of my schooling. My parents like to say that I’ll be a professional student for the rest of my life. I honestly hope they’re right.

I did everything in life early, and married my husband three years ago next month. We have a 19 month old son that I am continually blessed to stay home with. I intend to stay home for as many of the early years as I can. I aspire to become/am working on becoming both an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a freelance writer.

I tend to spend my time reading, writing, scrapbooking, sewing, and otherwise trying to be useful. I enjoy College Girl because reading the posts and discussions stretches my mind – and I can only hope that it has a similar effect on those reading us.

Perhaps in an effort to “extend the hand of friendship,” perhaps to lend some credibility to us all, here is the first in the series of college girl introductions. All introductions are open to curious questions.

My name is Mollie Campbell Greene. I hold a B.Mus. in Piano Performance and an M.A. in Dramatic Productions, from Bob Jones University. I am also a licensed Kindermusik educator and currently teach both Kindermusik and piano from our home studio, Greene Bird Studios.

I am married to Aaron,

and we have two fabulous children, Henry, 3, and Jude, 1.

I am currently a play-at-home mama and hope to maintain this position for a very long time. We live in central Illinois near to my parents and three of my still-at-home siblings.

When I’m not in the midst of mothering, and sometimes when I’m right in the thick of it, I enjoy making and listening to music, reading piles of various and sundry, clicking my way through cyberspace, digging in the dirt and helping things grow, sewing and creating of all kinds, theater arts here and there, studying child development, cooking and eating, different flavors of reality tv, taking care of this beautiful house with which we’ve been blessed, and all matter of family life in general.

I enjoy college girl primarily because I learn something new in nearly every post and secondarily because it confirms my already strong belief that the best thing I did for myself and for my family was spend more than half of my twenties pursuing higher education!

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