For the Doubter: What to Do In the Face of Questioning Your College Choice

Welcome to the end of June! 

If you happen to feel anything like the way I do, it's a bit crazy that it's practically July. We have almost reached the midpoint of the summer & it's quite a turning point. Summer doesn't feel quite so infinite anymore. For those of us who have done a year (or two or three) of college, we notice the days until our return start to dwindle, & it gets really exciting to think about seeing friends again on campus. As we cherish the remainder of the summer, despite perhaps wishing it was longer, we look forward to another year at a place we've come to call home: college. 

But what if you've never been to college before? How should you be feeling at this point in the summer? Thrilled, nervous, expectant? What if you're doubting your college decision? What if you even might want to change your mind?

If you're an incoming freshman who couldn't be more pumped to start the college life, chances are you know lots of other people who feel the exact same excitement. People who are that excited don't tend to keep their feelings to themselves. But if you're leaning more toward dreading move-in day than anticipating it, perhaps you haven't talked to anyone else who feels the same way.

I'm here to tell you first & foremost that, regardless of whatever it is that you are feeling, you are not alone. Of the thousands & thousands in the college-bound Class of 2017, someone out there feels the same way that you do. If you are out-of-your-mind excited, there is someone else with similar sentiments. If you're nervous about college in general, I know that there are others who share that worry. Even if you are questioning if you're headed to the right college, I promise you that there are other people wondering the same exact thing. 

The truth is that there is no prescribed way to feel about heading to college for your freshman year. Even as the summer grows shorter & shorter, know that there is no particular way that you need to be feeling. However, if you do happen to be doubting your college choice, I do have some advice for you. 

I should probably mention that I once doubted whether or not I was headed to the right school. Then I also felt like I wanted to change colleges. Then I did. I also was the furthest thing from alone in that fear & change of mind. My twin sister had the same exact feelings, & when we had a heart to heart one day in mid-July, we discovered that we had both just decided to change colleges. I also found out that my friend (who became my new roommate!) made the same choice that summer. It happens, so truly, there's no need for any insecurity if you do feel that way. 

If you're wondering whether or not you made the right college decision, don't keep it to yourself. I wish that my sister & I had communicated with each other far earlier on because I could have saved myself some anxiety in feeling alone. Even if there isn't someone close to you who feels the same way, it can be extremely helpful to talk about options with someone else. Seek out a mentor, a voice of wisdom in your life, & pray about the way that you feel. 

Remember also that making the choice about where to go to college is quite possibly the biggest decision you have ever had to make. Doubt is liable to play a part in the smallest of decisions, so it can easily be magnified on a grander scale. However, when doubt is crippling & we give way to it, we don't rely on God to sustain us. So while you don't need to be discouraged about the way you feel, know that when you seek God, He will give you guidance. 

Even though you may know that God is directing your path, it can be incredibly hard to follow that path when it looks like you'll be changing your mind on a huge decision. In my personal experience, wondering what other people would think of me when I suddenly switched colleges held me back for too long. I justified that by believing that such a decision would be embarrassing, but the reality was that I was allowing fear to hold me back. That can be fear of rejection, of change, or of any number of things, but don't allow that fear to dictate your decision when you're questioning where you'll be this fall. 

Practically speaking, it's almost never too late to change schools. When I decided to go to Mississippi College, my admissions counselor was more than ready to facilitate that despite the fact that there were only a few weeks before school. I was still able to receive financial aid & it didn't matter that I missed orientation because there was a special abbreviated version in the few days before school started. If you are scared to make a switch because you don't know if it's even possible, talk to an admissions counselor to get their take on it. They will do everything within their power to help you out.

One last thing in closing: doubting a decision doesn't make it a wrong one. Just because you're questioning whether or not you made the right choice does not mean that you didn't. In a season of doubt, allow yourself to have conversations with your parents or mentors, to pray for a clearer understanding of God's plan for your life, & to take steps to either reassure yourself or to make a new decision about where you will spend your college years. The beautiful thing is that as you overcome your doubt in whatever way is right for you, I am confident that you will gain that unbelievable excitement for college. Then, you'll fit right in with all those other pumped freshmen on move-in day & you'll be ready to have an incredible time exactly where you know you're supposed to be. 

Emmy,
doubt-conquering college-changer