got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Making Wise Decisions (Rachel)

Someone mentioned in a comment a while back that maybe we could address the topic of choosing a major. So how does a girl go about deciding what to major in? More generally, how is a girl (or anyone for that matter) to make all of these important decisions that she has to make at this time in her life? She needs to decide whether to go to college, what school to go to, what to major in, etc. When I was 18 or 19 I went to a conference and heard a speaker lecture about how to make wise biblical decisions. I believe he was speaking mostly about vocational decisions, but the principles can be applied to any sort of major decision. It was some of the most helpful information that I received at that time in my life. I will try to sum up what he said for all of you. There are three things to consider when making a life decision.

1. Is it biblical?


Is the major that you are considering biblical? This would also apply to why you want to study that major. Does the Bible have any thing to specifically say about the major that you have chosen? At this point I can’t think of any specific major that would fall in the unbiblical category off hand. There are vocations that would qualify (i.e. hooker, thief, etc), but that isn’t the focus of my discussions. But if you decide not to go to college because you can make more money being a stripper then I think you can safely conclude that you are outside God’s will. This is something that you will have to think through yourself.

2. Do you have the ability?
This seems to be a straightforward question, but when you start talking about the fine arts it can get kind of tricky. If you want to major in art, because it is such a personal matter it might be hard to tell if you actually have the ability in art (people might just be nice). But in order to answer this question you need to be very frank with yourself. You don’t want to spend a whole bunch of money and time on something just to find out that you don’t really have the ability.

3. Do you have the opportunity?

Lets say you really want to go to a certain university, but you aren’t accepted. It would be safe to assume that you don’t have the opportunity. Money can also be a consideration in this question. I don’t think it is necessary to sit and wait for an open door, but if a door is constantly being shut despite all of your efforts then perhaps that is not what God what you to do.

If a decision makes it past these three things then you need to decide if you want to do it. I don’t believe God makes us do things that we don’t want to do just to be mean. I think that if we are conforming our lives to his then we will begin to want what God wants. If you are dealing with two things that you have the ability and opportunity to do, decide which you would rather do. If you really can’t decide toss a coin.

I followed these points in making decisions as to what college to go to and what major to study. During my first year at the community college I applied to a paralegal program and a classical school on the east coast. I was also continuing my study of math. I had ability for all three subjects. I thought all of them were within Biblical guidelines. The opportunity for the classical school fell through as I didn’t have the money and I really wanted to get through college without debt. I had the money for the paralegal program, but I didn’t get the score I needed on one of their entrance exams by 10 points (they later accepted me anyway), but I had already made the decision at that point to continue at the community college. When I was anticipating transferring I was considering two colleges. One was large Illinois State University that I knew I could afford. The other was a small liberal arts university (Bradley University) that was a lot closer to home. (It also had a much better math department, but that wasn’t part of my consideration as much.) I made a point of not getting my hopes up for either university. I applied to both and applied for a full scholarship to Bradley because I knew that was the only way I would have the opportunity to go there. In God’s grace I received the scholarship and was able to go to Bradley. So now I had the opportunity and ability to go to Bradley, so that is what I did and I’m very thankful that I went. I had a great experience and learned so many good things.

I hope this post will be helpful to you, but remember above all . . .
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

9 Comments:

  • At 5:33 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Rachel,

    That is a great outline and an awesome testimony of God revealing His will to you.

    I can remember hearing John MacArthur talk about discerning God's will for your life and he went through an outline similar to yours. He said that as you go through each point, I believe he had seven of them, and you still don't know what to do, it is at that point that you do what you want to do and can pretty much know that that is God's will for your life!

    Thanks so much for sharing your insights and your story. Both were well stated and encouraging!

     
  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    I'm in the long-term track for finishing my degree. My AA concentration is PolySci. Ack. I can't even imagine wanting to major in that for my BA.

    Yet, the areas I'm interested in majoring in when I return to school (slowly, gradually, a class a semester for now. . .) really aren't offered at the local universities. And the night classes all focus on business. *blech*

    And then when I consider all the things I'm interested in. . . well. . . *L*

    Actually, I am narrowing it down a bit, and I really liked your post. Helped give perspective.

     
  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger Miss Tresninos said…

    Excellent advice. Thanks. I'm going to save this for conversations with my son.

    BTW, here in my area the colleges offer up a number of decidedly unbiblical majors, not the least of which is Gay and Lesbian studies.

    It's depressing out there. Glad I'm not going to college now. I thought it was bad in my day. :-(

     
  • At 7:09 AM, Blogger Rhea said…

    As a side note, just because you have the ability to do something doesn't mean you want to spend four years studying that subject. I am a senior and my major is Public Administration.(The left-side of my brain is killing me after going through this major.) While, I have learned a lot and I can do the stuff, I have often wondered in the past year if a better major for me was not English.

     
  • At 7:25 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Rhea,

    I know what you mean. My degree is in human relations, with about 60-80 hours in psychology. My minor was communication arts and I have often thought that I should have made THAT my major.
    On the other hand, I also know that God has given me many experiences and opportuniites that otherwise I wouldn't have had had I not spent as much time studying what I did.
    So, now I am nearly obsessed with studying the art of storytelling, which I think can use both my major and minor areas of study!

     
  • At 7:50 AM, Blogger Rhea said…

    Prairie girl,
    I feel the same way about my major. I have learned a lot of stuff and I get to use my 21hrs of electives to take English classes. (As long as I can get my advisor to approve it:)
    Creative Non-Fiction and Public Administration always make a nice mix!

     
  • At 6:48 AM, Blogger Camille said…

    Maybe it's because I'm at a Christian uni, but my set of questions that I ask my students is a little shorter. I assume that they want God's best and since we have no proficiency in stripping, I don't think that's in our purview. :)

    It starts and ends mostly with, "What do you enjoy?"

     
  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    It starts and ends mostly with, "What do you enjoy?"

    Yeah, but. . . What is the next step when there are lots of things that are enjoyed? Or when what is enjoyed doesn't clearly fit into a "major" choice? Or when the student knows what they enjoy, but isn't sure which major fits it best?


    (Not theoretical questions, btw. *grin*)

     
  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Camille said…

    >>What is the next step when there are lots of things that are enjoyed? Or when what is enjoyed doesn't clearly fit into a "major" choice? <<

    A good academic advisor can interpret those enjoyments and translate them into academic skills and future pursuits. :-D

    That's when you go ask someone else!

     

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