got me a college girl

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

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just Who Are These Women? (Rachelle)

This is post no. 12 in a series.

I'm Rachelle, a 30-something wife and mother. I was born and raised in Oregon in a Christian family and homeschooled for most of my education. My extended family was very pro-education and I started requesting college brochures at 15 and after graduation attended Biola University in southern California for a year before my money ran out. I took three years off to work, save, and pray and then finished my education at Concordia University in Portland, earning a degree in Humanities and a minor in International Business. The highlight of my college career was attending Oak Hill College in London for a semester.

I have worked in higher education (admissions) for 6 years at three different colleges. While working in Virginia, I met and married my husband, Mike, and we have a 2-yr. old son Ben. I left the full-time work force when Ben was 4 1/2 months to be home with him and we subsequently moved to western Washington state. We are active in Christ the Victor Church, where I help with the church calendar.

I'm excited about the voice that got me a college girl brings to the table for many reasons. One is the lack of support I received from my family when I knew that a college education was the right thing for me to pursue. Secondly, my most recent job in higher education brought me into contact with a lot of people that believed that a college education should not a viable option for women and others who thought the value of college for a girl was an expensive debutante ball where their daughters would be introduced to "a higher calibre" of male prospects for a husband. Third, I encountered opposition from some who presumed that because I was an educated woman in the workplace, I would not be willing to submit to my husband and stay home and raise children. I find this view so biased, as if the modern workforce is such a wonderful place for a woman that once she has experienced it, she'll never want to leave. I've never heard this vocalized by women who have been there, but only those who haven't worked outside the home, and men. Lastly, I was single until I was 32 and knew that to some I had less value as a single woman than I would have had I been married and having children. The students I worked with often felt this acutely too, and I spent some time with young women in my office who were confused about their place as Christian women in the 21st century. This blog speaks to their inate value as daughters of God in a culture that pulls them between being defined by their economic/educational value or by their relational value (whom they are married to/mother to).

I relish the opportunity to be home full-time with my son and to help my husband manage his life more effectively. I fully recognize that this is a gift that not everyone has the opportunity for, and am thankful that God has let me be home for this season of my life.

7 Comments:

  • At 3:18 AM, Blogger michele said…

    I think that what may be part of the problem is that we as a society have lost focus as to the reason for college. College used to be looked at as a way of obtaining knowledge, now it's looked at solely as a way to prepare for a career. We've lost that original focus. So, if your family doesn't think you will "use" your education in a career, then why spend all that money. It is a very utilitarian way of looking at it.

    Unfortunately we see the fruit of this attitude in the way kids rush through college on their way to their career. They only take humanities courses because it is a requirement and they don’t value the learning process and see it as a means to an end.

    I face this now with seminary, I have to justify the cost of seminary to myself and my husband by thinking that there can be some monetary value from attending seminary, but I really should be looking at seminary as a way to learn more about God (which of course was one of the reasons I went to seminary).

    Of course college is the way to a better career and has value in that capacity but I think that if we go back to the way college was originally viewed, then some of these issues might go away. As we prepare for whatever calling the Lord has for us we need to value the time spent in preparation. It’s not just a means to an end and has value in and of itself.

     
  • At 5:35 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Rachelle,

    Welcome to college girl! We all look forward to your insights and are greatly encouraged by what you have already shared with us!

     
  • At 5:39 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Michele,

    YOu have made, once again, great points. You are correct in that many people just do not understand the value of the educational experience. It is so true that it is seen as a means to an end, without its own value. But some of these same people will spend money on other things rather than on tools for learning, whether it be tuition or books, etc.

     
  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger givengrace said…

    Rachelle,

    Interesting thoughts! Glad to have you on board! :)

    Shanna

     
  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    I am going to "delurk" here (as I've been lurking behind the scenes for awhile) to say that while I agree with Michele that a career shouldn't be the only reason for going to college, the IMMENSE cost of college these days really does put the pressure on all college graduates to make a sucessful career when they graduate. Learning is the most important goal, yes, but the $25,000 in student loans that I had when I graduated from college demanded that I find a good job. I have since also earned a master's degree (add $20,00 in debt). I am 29, single, and praying for a husband. I will bring a heavy load of debt into my marriage and that's an issue to consider in all this discussion. The sheer economics of college have to play in as well.

    Thanks so much for this blog! I have really enjoyed reading all your thoughts about the value of college for women. This addresses a problem that I didn't really even know still existed.

     
  • At 7:42 PM, Blogger michele said…

    Laura, I understand what you're saying, you can't afford education without getting a job to pay for your education. Education is soooo expensive today. And debt can be scary when you have to face it by yourself.

    But let's look at this from another perspective. We pay over $10,0000 a year to send our daughters to a Christian school. Why would we do that when we have a perfectly good public school that we helped pay for with our taxes? Because we value our daughters' education (we want them taught our way not in a pluralistic/atheistic/relativistic way) enough to pay over $45,000 and still counting.

    There may be no way that we will be able to recoup the finical investment we are making in my seminary education, then why do it? Because I value the education and so does my husband. By the time we are done it will be over $20,000.

    We will pay the cost for the things we value. My parents tell me that if they added Tivo to their digital cable they would be paying close to $100 a month – that’s a little more than one course at Westminster. My sister likes to drink those fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks which are $4 each and if she had one four times a week and twice a week she had a cookie, she would have spent enough for a course at Westminster.

    I paid my way through school. As I mentioned my father didn’t think I should go and couldn’t afford to give me any money even if he agreed with what I was doing. I went to school part-time and worked part-time because I understood the value of what I was doing but I was only doing if for the career. Now, that I’m in seminary I wish I had taken more philosophy courses, more literature courses. I wish I had valued the education more instead of the preparation for my career.

     
  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger ShangriLewis said…

    I know when I started College when I was younger that I did it with a career in mind. But, now that I'm starting all over again I'm enjoying my education so much more. I think that's do to the fact that I'm fully aware of how much I enjoy learning. How much I savor my classes and the chance to learn from someone wiser than me. But, I get a lot of questions about my future plans. People are so happy for me that I don't have to stay home anymore with my boys. I still spend a lot of time with my boys. I'm only gone 2 1/2 days a week and I'm there for breakfast and putting the boys asleep.

    I don't know that I feel like I'm moving onto some new season in my life. I'm still a mom and I'm still home with my boys, unless my dh is.

    Right now I'm enjoying my education. If the Lord wants me to have a career after He will lead me there. I didn't plan to have all these boys. But, I'm so happy that we have trusted the Lord each and every day. He leads me and I follow. He has so many greater plans for me. I could never have planned all of this.

    For me education is just part of the process. I'm just here a little later than a lot of women.

     

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