Meet the maker: choosing my own path (college)

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Part 2 of a 4-part series: college

I am only in my 30s so I can only lay claim to a limited amount of wisdom. However, when I have reflected on my life thus far it seems that the best decisions I have made were the times when I chose my own path, one that was different from what was expected. Those decisions have been been God's way of directing me to the life He has for me.

See also Part 1: high school

Technical center to technical college

My transition from a career-focused setting in high school to a uniquely career-focused university felt natural. Instead of landing at an art school or even in the art department, I ultimately chose to attend Ferris State University. The graphic design program at Ferris is housed in the College of Business. In a God-gift of a coincidence, my high school guidance counselor actually knew someone who graduated from the program. She could recommend Ferris' program with first-hand knowledge.

Scholarships for the win!

As an added bonus that has had domino effects forward into my adult life, I was offered a very generous scholarship that covered the cost of my tuition. Additionally, because my father had attended Ferris as well (he studied heavy equipment technology – not art!) I was also able to apply for an additional scholarship for children of alumni.

Liberal arts vs. career focus

I am not going to attempt to settle this debate once and for all in this blog post. However, I am going to say that in my personal experience attending a university with a more narrow focus on a very specific career was a win in so many ways.

First, I got right into my subject matter on day one. I didn't spend a year or more on prerequisites without sampling my chosen area of study.

Second, my program was very structured which made scheduling a breeze. There was a very clear outline to follow and if you kept on track graduating in four years was indeed possible.

Third, teaching on how to be professionals in the workplace was woven into all my classes. We were constantly being pushed to think critically. Daily we practiced public speaking and the ability to explain our work. Being in the College of Business, we were required to take basic courses in marketing, advertising, public relations, and economics. These courses guaranteed that the business world in which we would be employed wouldn't be foreign territory. Additionally, during our senior year we did real client work.

The only downfall of choosing a more career-focused university would be if you were't sure what you wanted to do or if you changed your mind and didn't want to switch to any other available programs.

What's your story?

What influenced your educational choices? If you chose to attend, how did you decide on a college or university? If you're years out from the decision, how do you now see your choices?

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