All of the other college girl contributors posted their installment of “Just Who Are These Women” over the summer. Being the last person to join this wonderful team, I wasn’t around at that time. But now that I have a little free time, I wanted to introduce myself in a similar fashion.
To summarize why I am a part of college girl… God has different plans for different people. For me, it included a very different college experience from most Christian women. But I know that this was HIS plan for ME. That is why I feel so strongly about the presence of this blog. It isn’t about telling all women they have to be college educated. It is about celebrating the experiences of those women who are called by God to pursue higher education. It is a helpful resource for young women who are navigating the world of higher education, where they can find support and encouragement. And it is about standing in awe of the unique women God has created us to be and how He takes such a personal interest in our individual journeys that He carefully prepares for us.
I attended a smaller high school (150 people in my graduating class). After thirteen years in the same school district, I could hardly wait to attend a large university where I could be anonymous! I was fortunate enough to live near Michigan State University. I desired to pursue a degree in Elementary Education and MSU had one of the best programs in the country. My parents graciously agreed to pay for college and let me live at home. They felt strongly about my not going into debt for school, a conviction I did not always share at that time, but am profoundly thankful for now. (In fact, my five years at MSU only cost around $6,500 in total because of living at home and scholarships!)
My first year at MSU was actually a lot like high school – go to campus, go to class, come home. MSU is such a huge school that most of the relational aspects center on dorm life. Since I didn’t live in a dorm, I found it very difficult to make friends. I continued attending the same church and had the same job as when I was in high school. So while college was ok, something was definitely missing.
However, during my sophomore year some radical changes came into my life. I changed churches, changed jobs, and joined a sorority. GASP! Yes, I pledged a sorority and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. The fall of both my freshman and sophomore years, I really wanted to go through fall formal rush, but didn’t have the confidence to do it on my own. (There were nineteen sororities and over a thousand women went through formal rush each fall.) However, when I switched jobs I ended up working with two women who were both in Alpha Xi Delta. They defied every sorority stereotype. Above all, they were really NICE to me, a non-Greek. They encouraged me to go through informal rush in January and suggested four houses I might like. To make a long story short, I received two bids – one from Alpha Xi Delta and the other from Delta Delta Delta (aka Tri Delta). I knew without a doubt the first time I walked into the Tri Delta house that it was home.
Joining Tri Delta changed my life and I know God put me there for several reasons. I had incredible leadership opportunities, met a wide variety of women, had opportunities for social activities, had increased opportunities to be involved on campus, and also had the opportunity to be a witness for Christ. I served twice as President of my chapter. This was unheard of because I did not live in the sorority house. (Because I lived at home, I was not required to live in-house.) In order to be President, our chapter had to receive special permission from the national Executive Board because it just wasn’t done. But with God…
It was always clear to all of my sorority sisters that I was a Christian and my faith mattered to me. Most of the women were fine with it. There were a few who were hostile to it, but because of my intense commitment to the ideals of Tri Delta and the level of my involvement, I think it probably diffused a lot of criticism. I abstained from alcohol and did not attend most of the mixed-sex social functions, something that again bothered a few women but really didn’t matter to most of them because that was just who I was. I attended only two term parties because I did not have a boyfriend and was not interested in being set up on a date with a non-believer. I almost never attended fraternity parties until I became chapter president and decided for liability reasons it would be wise for me to go. But even being “different” in those respects, I had so much fun! Contrary to popular belief, sorority life does not revolve around alcohol and boys. Some of my fondest memories are just silly, fun times I had with my sorority sisters.
I ended up taking five years to go through school, graduating in 1990. I am not overstating it when I say I LOVED COLLEGE!!! It opened up a whole new world to me as a person. I grew in so many ways as I took on many leadership roles both in Tri Delta and on campus.
Academically I had many interesting classes and opportunities. Yes, I was exposed to tons of humanistic garbage. Some of it I was very aware of and some of it I was not because I had not developed sophisticated enough higher level thinking skills. But my experience was that if you are a hard worker and the professor/instructor knows you take your studies seriously, it will cover a multitude of “sins” (such as being a Christian). I worked very hard and honestly do not remember having any problems with instructors being unfair to me because I was a Christian.
I received a good education and college degree. Because I was in the Honor’s College, I had many more options and opportunities available to me. It made the campus seem smaller and also opened doors that might have otherwise been shut to me. I graduated summa cum laude and was also named one of the twenty-five outstanding seniors. I know I could never have achieved these honors without the support of my parents, my church, and my sorority sisters.
Truthfully, when I look back on my college experience, it is not the education that is the foremost in my mind. It really is the friendships and experiences for personal growth that stand out to me. I am thankful for my degree because it has opened doors I could never have walked through otherwise. I will always be thankful that my parents made this opportunity available to me. I was the first woman on either side of my family to graduate from college. At the time, I think I took it for granted because I just always assumed since I was an excellent student I would go to college. In retrospect and with a broader understanding of history, I realize how fortunate I was to have this opportunity.
So, now I am a former teacher and stay-at-home wife. I work at home part-time in Arts & Letters, Inc., the business my husband and I do together. I’m very happily married to my husband of almost nine years who I met online. To this point, the Lord has not blessed us with any children other than one baby in heaven. I enjoy reading, writing, blogging, puttering in the kitchen, cross stitching, scrapbooking, music, decorating my house, avidly following college basketball, and speaking/teaching.