Why I am in College

Every once in a while, a professor will ask, “why are you in college?”

The students always answer, “To get a better job. To get more money.”

Recently I realized with a giggle that I am going to college in order to become poor. Despite my writing ambitions I am quite resigned to the fact that I will end up as a poor missionary wearing second-hand clothing and stocking my kitchen with ugly plastic missionary barrel cast-offs.

My sociology professor this term was talking about dead end jobs. I always thought of a dead end job as just being a really boring low-paying job, but no. A dead-end job is one in which there is no way for you to move forward, and to work your way up.

So what do you think about dead-end lives?

I once wrote a post about college called Women and Higher Education, in which I was very much for women going to college. When I first went to college I realized that there was no need for me to have a dead-end life. I could learn more, and push myself, and work towards something.

Of course there was something that I failed to mention in that post which a lot of people pointed out in the comments. Namely, there are ways to learn and grow and keep yourself from a dead-end life without going to college.

I should also point out that many, if not most, of the people I meet in college are themselves in a dead-end life. What if you are in college, not to learn, but to scrape by in hopes of getting a job you like that pays you a lot of money? Is that sort of like trying to do the minimal required to be a Christian so as to avoid Hell, without really having a hunger and a desire to know God and to be with Him?


Disclaimer: I am single. I have never had to support or help support a family. Therefore, I have a somewhat clouded view of the importance of money, I am sure.

But. In some ways, I view beauty as my currency of choice.

There is sunshine and flowers. There is a life waiting for me where I can have tea with prostitutes and paint a pink elephant on the wall of an orphanage. There is a place where I can learn how societies work, how the industrial revolution shaped the western world, how to write effective argument. Still, I sit next to people who are thinking of dollars and cents, and are basing their lives around getting more of those green-inked notes.

On Easter morning I wanted to go to a sunrise service, but I couldn’t find one. So I decided to get up at 6:00 and go watch the sunrise, just me and God.

I was tired. The clouds were up, and I didn’t see much sun rising action at all. But it was so beautiful, the fields and the solitude and the crisp air, pink-tinged sky, and Him.

I thought about what I owe God, for what He did for me on that first Easter morning when he conquered death. I thought, “do I only serve God because I owe Him?”

I didn’t like that thought. I thought there must be something more.

And then, in that sleepy surreal moment, I burst into tears. “I just want to see Your beauty,” I said.

That, I think, sums it up. It’s not just about getting to Heaven to see God’s beauty, but finding all the reflections of His beauty on earth. Seeing Jesus in people, looking at the sky, receiving by giving. College is the place where I grow, where I learn, where there are people who need Him, and where I can prepare for a life on the mission field.

That is why I am in college.

6 responses to “Why I am in College

  1. Great post. I identify.


  2. This is beautiful! Thank you, Emily.


  3. Emily, I completely agree with you. And I was especially blessed by your thoughts about having tea with a prostitute. See, I think that though people judge, despise and are quick to start rumors, they forget that sometimes our deepest satisfaction comes from doing simple things with the lowly. And Jesus was a perfect example of thing.

    I enjoy reading your blogs, and I love your style of writing. Keep it up girl.


  4. this is so so lovely dear


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