I read the article “Does College Kill Faith” in our Public Square this week with interest – and it made me reflect on my spiritual journey during my years in college. I wish I could say I was more thoughtful, more truth seeking and that studying the wonders of science made me ask the bigger questions. That sounds very academic, very noble and very mature. I was unfortunately, none of those.
I was just plain busy. I felt overwhelmed on most days with the changes that college brought to my life. I was a Chemistry major working three jobs to pay my way and desperately trying to have a social life. There was no time for religion or questioning the world’s big questions. I focused on just what needed to be done to get through. I certainly had no respect for my mortality during that time — I ran hard, studied hard, partied hard and slept little. I seemed to have little focus beyond how to get through each week.
I saw the college years as simply a passage to my real life — the life that was set to start as soon as I could get done with college. It was simply a time of progressing to the life that I had always imagined for myself. That life included a strict timeline that included completing 4 years in college, finding a man to marry, marrying the summer after college, getting a great job, becoming a successful business woman, and having 2 kids before I was 30. That was the goal. That was my definition of a successful life. I did not think much about whether all that would actually make me happy, or whether the nature of the work that I did would matter, or whether my spiritual being would need to be nourished. I had a checklist……and that was what motivated me.
That was 20 years ago this year……seems hard to believe. And I will tell you that some of “plan” actually went the way I thought it would……but the happiness was usually found in the part of life that was unplanned. And certainly all of the spiritual journey came as I stopped worrying about the plan and starting living my life. Today, I am still plain busy but have become the seeker that I always wanted to be.