I wasn’t terribly sure what I wanted to do with my life, nor did I have any idea how to get where I thought I wanted to be. My relative lack of passion wasn’t seen as a deterrent in my affluent Texas town, though, as it was a place where nearly all high school students went on to collegeвЂ”it was the only option we really considered or that was presented to us by our families, teachers, and counselors as a post- graduation plan.
So I began the requisite search by looking first at nontraditional college environments, for while I had done reasonably well at my large and impersonal public high school, nor had I flourished either. It seemed to me that if I was going to spend the next four years of my life in school, I might as well try a different tactic than the one that had allowed me to coast rather unremarkable through high school. In the end, I settled on McAlister College, a small liberal-arts school in Minnesota with a strong emphasis on internationalism and social action.
It is certainly more mainstream than most of the schools that began my college search, but it is also intimate enough that I wouldn’t be able to slip through many cracks; it is located in a sizable metropolitan area where my learning would not be defined exclusively by campus boundaries; it is a place where hard questions are encouraged and expected; and its classes and dorms are well-represented by a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.
In hindsight, it was as good of a choice as any I could have made. Many of my older friends have told me that, in some ways, one’s ass are the most difficult decade of one’s life: in this country, at least, it often meaner to question who and why you are, what you will spend your life doing, where you will spend your days, and who you hope to spend your life with.