Where Is Your Ground?
I recently was perusing some old magazine articles that I saved and came across an old Editor’s Note. It must have been compelling when I read it back in 2016 for me to intentionally rip it out and save it to come back to. The title was “Know Your Place”. In short, it was about finding your perfect place in this world in what you want to do professionally, where you want to move, etc. The backbone of the article was about finding something that really inspired you.
As I re-read the article, I was flooded with ideas of how this correlates to your (a student) current struggle of finding not the perfect college, but the perfect college for YOU. In the article, they talked about finding your “ground”. The solid foundation on which to grow roots and flourish. As with most things in life, it’s very easy to procrastinate to the point, where choices have dried up and we jump at the first thing that’s still available. For this article though, I want you to really do a self evaluation and start to dream a little bit about what your perfect ground/perfect college is for you.
Part of the journey of college is the beginning of independence. That fresh beginning to discover what you believe, how to be involved, what to do with what you’re studying. Finding your groud, so that you can plant those roots and grow upward. When looking at colleges, I always talk about finding the right fit in several key areas. Obviously, the college major you want, is number one for me. But as we go down the list, the next is what level of involvement do you need on your campus to feel connected and grow personally and/or spiritually. You have to investigate the clubs, activities, the campus size. All these things are important parts that I slide in right after choosing a college based on a major. For student that “find their ground”, the college experience is exactly that, an experience. For others, if they don’t feel that fit or connection, the root doesn’t take hold in the ground, and they usually have a less than positive experience. That can lead to dropping out, negative bias on their alma mater etc.
You are going to have many people guiding you consciously or unconsciously through this decision. They can help you when it comes to finding a school with your major, figuring our your financial aid and much more. But what they can’t do, is find “your ground”. That is completely up you. Intentional research, asking questions of current students, multiple campus visits, and finding something that feels right is what is going to help you fine “your ground.”
The college search process is daunting, I get it. It’s a big step off into the next chapter of life. But if you can find a place that inspires you, a place that you get solidly plan your roots into, the rest will start to fall into place.
As always… Dream It, Believe It, Do It and Win It!
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Dustin Hall has been working in higher education for over 20 years. He's passionate about students, technology and entrepreneurship. Over the past two decades, he has owned several companies and worked at a number of private and public universities. At those universities he has held the titles of; Communications Coordinator, Asst. Dean of Residential and Campus Life, Director of Residence Life, Regional Admissions Officer, Director of Admissions and Adjunct Faculty. He's a big dreamer and doer and lives by his motto of "Dream It, Believe It, Do It and Win It!"