I’m so sorry that it’s taken me so long to update you all on my plans! You see, I’ve been so busy carrying them out that I’ve haven’t had time to tell you about them!
Where to begin! Well, do you want the long story or the short story? Why don’t I just give you both, and then the people who don’t have time to read the long story can stick with the short!
Short Story: I’m 18 ½ years old, in my sophomore year of college, attending Inver Hills Community College online and Ridgewater College on-campus, anticipating my graduation this spring with a Associates degree in General Studies, planning to get my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Crown College after that, and still employed as Administrative Assistant in my parents carpet cleaning business.
I turned 18 in April this year. In just another 6 months I’ll be 19. I got my license on my 1st try back in May, and I’ve been happily driving my trusty, little, “answer-to-prayer” Buick Regal to and from my college class every other day.
Inver and Ridgewater—how did that happen? Well, last spring when I graduated from high school, I already had 39 college credits under my belt from doing online, free PSEO (college classes that give both college and high school credit) through Northwester College (Baptist school in North St. Paul). Doing PSEO was one of the best choices I ever made! I only have 21 more credits left to get a 2-year degree (equals 60 credits).
Ever since I was very young, I’ve known that I want to be a teacher and work with children. I want to homeschool my own children and still be allowed to if homeschooling laws are put in place (which I could do if I was a state licensed teacher). I also want to live in MN and teach in MN as long as possible (I love it here!)—unless the Lord Himself leads me elsewhere. MN’s teacher licensure requirements are very strict, though, so the easiest way to get licensed is to go to an accredited MN college or university.
So, last year I decided to go to St. Cloud St. University. It’s in MN, it’s accredited, it has a strong (if not the best in the state) teacher program, and I would be able to live at home and commute to class (which is very important to me). I signed up and was accepted and all set to start there once I finished high school. But something inside me was not happy or at peace about SCSU. So I kept looking into other schools. I really, really wanted to go to Rasmussen College (where my brothers attended)—the best, in my opinion, private community college I know of in MN. The setback: They don’t offer Elementary Education. Well, that put me in a very difficult bind. So, I really started to think about exactly what I want to do—long term—with my life. It was at this time that I narrowed down my life’s dreams and goals to 2 basic things: #1) I hope to start a small, private homeschool out of my home for my own as well as other local children, and #2) I hope to design a SDA home- and private-school curriculum. Not knowing what else to do and pushed on mostly by my love for Rasmussen, I decided to go into business Management, which, I reasoned, would be useful if I ever started a school. After getting an Associate’s degree in Business, I decided, I would go somewhere that did offer Elementary Education and get another degree in teaching or curriculum so I could fulfill my 2nd goal. I was so happy and excited to have all my plans in place!
But, a little uneasiness pervaded under the surface. At first I wanted to ignore it—I was tired of having my plans up in the air! But I kept wondering why I was pushing aside my real passion to get a degree in a lesser enjoyment of business. I liked business, I contended (I’ve been working in my parents’ ever since I was 12), but yet I knew that it wasn’t my passion. But what else was there for me to do? None of the MN schools that I knew of had exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to live at home, commute, and go to a good, private school. Rasmussen was the only MN college that I knew of that fit all of the above—but they just didn’t offer Elementary Education!
I felt prompted to continue looking into Ouachita Hills College, a small, unaccredited SDA school in Arkansas. I’ve been through that discussion before, I sighed! I don’t want to go to OHC! I don’t want to be so far from home, it’s not accredited, and I wouldn’t be able to teach in MN. No, it’s not an option!
By now, I was commencing my first week of summer semester at Rasmussen—the only week where free withdrawal is still an option. I wasn’t feeling right about taking Business, so on the last day of that first week, I made up my mind and withdrew. That left me with just one summer to get my act together before the fall semester started.
So, that summer marked the search of a lifetime! In looking into OHC, I spent weeks getting in contact not just with OHC, but also with Andrews University, Union College, the Mid-American Union, and the MN Conference. I gained a lot of information and insight, and a better understanding of what is required in MN, and if a degree from OHC would be recognized in MN. After tons of phone calls and emails, many minutes on hold, far too many, “Let me transfer you…”’s, and many prayers and tears, I found that an OHC Education degree would be recognized by the MN Conference, but not by the state of MN. Well, that would be great for those who want to teach only in conference schools, but it wasn’t going to get me any closer to my goals!
In retrospect, however, I can see that if I hadn’t gone through all that seemingly pointless “digging,” I wouldn’t have found out about Inver!
You see, in my distress and discouragement, I poured out my troubles on a friend and her family, and they told me about Inver Hills Community College, which my friend was attending. They explained that, while Inver does not offer a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, they have a program called the General Associate of Arts degree, which is the first 2 years of any Bachelor’s degree (it basically just gets all the generals out of the way).
The problem: Inver is in the cities—too far for me to commute from home. My friend’s family graciously offered to let me stay in their home whenever I had classes, but I still didn’t like the idea of traveling through the cities to go to school (the city and this country-loving girl don’t mix)! Nevertheless, we went to visit Inver, and I found myself very impressed with their up-to-date facilities, friendly staff, and all the class choices they offered. What “closed the deal,” though, for me was the fact that they were willing to accept all 39 of my PSEO transfer credits! That was a first in my college search!
So I signed on for the fall semester. It was then that I found out that I could do the majority of my remaining 21 credits online, and that my on-campus classes could be taken at Ridgewater College, a small community college in a quiet town only ½ hour from home! What an answer to prayer!!
Fall semester is now underway (½ done to be exact!), and I am loving my classes, teachers, and classmates! Public, government run community college is definitely not perfect, though. Every day I have to combat secular ideas and bad influences! I need as many prayers as possible from my friends during this time! I have such a burden on my heart for my classmates, many of whom are very nice. I’ve even had the opportunity to give an older classmate one of my books! I’m hoping and praying to have many more such “entering wedge” opportunities!
God had a purpose for leading me where He did! It’s so assuring and comforting to know that I am right where He wants me to be! Whenever tough situations arise with classes or requirements, I can know that He’ll work it out, because He’s been leading all along!
And what about the future? Well, during the “summer of frantic searching,” I discovered Crown College, a very nice, Christian school on a beautiful 250 acre country setting. The biggest answer to prayer: It’s only about 40 miles from home—close enough to commute! So, my current plan is to finish my Associates degree in General Studies at Inver & Ridgewater this spring, and then go on to Crown next fall to complete the last 2 years for my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education…. That is, unless my plans change again! 🙂 But, you know, I’m not worried anymore! God has been leading me miraculously every single step of the way, and I know that He won’t stop now!
I am so blessed!