Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Wheaton Trip

I just returned from my first and only college trip with my son.  What a great trip!  We did  sign him up to visit Bethel, a local Christian College he got into, but all we did was go to a brief parent q&a and leave.  We did not visit the school with him and even he did not take part in the entire experience.  But this week Jake and I traveled to Wheaton, IL to visit Wheaton College.  I have to admit that secretly in the back of my mind I have wanted Jake to attend Wheaton since he was a little boy.  I didn't know much about the school except that it has a great reputation for pumping out Christian leaders, it was hard to get into, a big deal to attend if you are in the Christian circles and it is expensive.  With those details in my mind I was afraid to really hope, dream, encourage Wheaton too much.  As an impressed teacher told Jake when he found out Jake got into Wheaton, it is the "Christian College Harvard".

Apparently I talked it up enough or it has a good enough reputation on its own that Jake decided to apply.  I didn't even dare consider that he would get in.  But then he did!  We were all so excited.

As proud as Jake is to have gotten in, Wheaton isn't his number one choice.  He was on his way to Northeastern in Boston (His girlfriend is at MIT).  Or so he thought...

He was interested enough that he conviced me it was worth my time and money to drive down and visit Wheaton.  I decided that the opportunity to spend 7 hours down and 7 more back with him in a car was worth the experience even if the school was a bust.  So off we went with low expectations but lots of enthusiasm on Thursday morning.

After a wonderful and blessed drive down where we covered the gammit of topics, we arrived on campus a couple hours before the program and just got a cup of coffee and hung out in the student center.  We walked over at 4pm and while I won't bore you with every detail of the trip I will say that I don't know if I have ever seen God's hand in so many ways in a 2 day period before.  Wonderful people, great connections, every question answered and opportunities we didn't even know we could want presented to us.

Highlights include:

  • Talking to the Education department head who used to teach at Jake's high school and had just come to Wheaton from several years at a school in Boston and was planning to visit the church we have a connection to down there on Sunday.  He was able to talk up Northeastern while then telling Jake why Wheaton was better.

  • Walking up to the ROTC guy who recognized Jake's name because he had been looking at his file that afternoon. Then talking with a second year cadet who answered all this mother's questions and really sold the Wheaton ROTC experience well.

  • Ending the visit with a trip to just meet the wrestling coach hoping there would be any opportunity for a kid with limited wrestling experience but lots of enthusiasm to be part of the program.  Findng out that the program is in a building phase and every kid who comes out gets on the team.  Then talking to a wrestler that is also in ROTC.

Wheaton pretty much hit every point on Jake's list and then some.  The two words I told Jake I felt were what I most liked about the school and Jake agreed are, "Mentoring" and "Community".  The professors don't just teach but every person we met teacher, coach, ROTC all used the word mentor.  They see themselves as more than just information givers but are looking at the student as a whole and helping them be fully prepared for life after college.  And life after college is more than just a career.  The students all were clearly part of a community and were bonded within.

This mama left feeling very satisfied both by the visit and by conversations we had about possible financial aid and ROTC scholarship opportunities still available for Jake.  And my favorite future college student admited that his trip this week to Northeastern has competition he did not anticipate.  He is going to have to take the visit much more seriously.

So now I am home not sure if I am on a high or if I should just move straight into fret and panic over the trip to Boston this week.  I feel as his parent I have every right to share what I think he should do and I assure you he knows it is Wheaton and not Boston.  To be clear, if he chooses Northeastern I will become its biggest fan because my favorite freshman will be attending in the fall.  But I want him at Wheaton and I think God is leading him there.  Unfortunately, I can't make that decision for him.  Jake has to make the choice, hear God's call, live with the decision.

So as I sit here on Saturday afternoon trying to solve a problem that won't be solved today and control a trip I can't control.  I am learning patience.  I am learning trust, of God and my son.  I am reminding myself that I didn't expect God to work as he did in the trip to Wheaton and He was amazing.  So why wouldn't He do the same with the trip to Northeastern?  I am praying for clarity and ease of decision.  I don't know what will happen next but I am assured that whether Jake ends up in Boston or Wheaton God will be there with him.

In the mean time:  Go Wheaton!

No comments:

Post a Comment