Our family has slated tours of several colleges onto our spring calendar, and my son is logging hours in an after-school class to prepare for the ACT test. We are about to embark on a journey dotted with questions, marked by difficult choices. Other parents, teachers, and college advisors are stressing the importance of choosing the “right” school, suggesting that the college my son attends could mean the difference between almost-certain career success, and having to claw his way into his field from a one-down position. When I was college-shopping myself 25 years ago, my most important criteria were location, affordability and frankly, whoever would accept me. Now, the competition for admission appears fierce, and the pressure to choose “wisely” is so intense, that we almost lost sight of the one constant that trumps all others– trusting ourselves.
The Truth Is IN There
Our family has weighed the opinions and wisdom of the experts, and we have invested our energy in educating ourselves about our son’s college options. But, as in any decision, I’ve reminded my son that HE knows himself better than anyone else. HE knows his passions, his priorities, his needs and wants. What might be the “optimal” college for networking with top players in his dream field may not offer him the social justice opportunities or the spiritual sustenance that he values as highly. The “renowned” faculty may not be able to provide him with the personal, mentoring relationships that help him most to thrive. While my son has talent and ambition for his art, he also prioritizes giving back to his community. I’ve reminded myself, and my son, that HIS “right” choice will reveal itself if he just pays attention and listens–not to the “experts”, but to the truth within himself.