In college, learn to make choices for your own reasons

Amy Siebels

Why did you choose to come to Lawrence? You’ve been asked that question dozens of times. Your standard response probably has something to do with Lawrence’s academic reputation, musical opportunities, or small size.You may take for granted one of the most important attributes of a college like Lawrence: you have the freedom here to make your own choices.

Now that you are in college, no one will be watching your every move. No one will be waiting to suspend you or ground you if you drink, skip class, or don’t clean your room. That is not to say there are no consequence. But the consequences here are different. Now there are no phone calls from the principal, no lectures from your parents.

Instead, you may find that if you skip class you’ll miss out on crucial information and stimulating discussions. If you drink too much you may find yourself cleaning up your floor in the morning with a throbbing headache. But it’s your choice.

It’s not just the choices you make that are important. It’s your reasons for making them. “My mother said not to” is no longer a good enough reason. “I’ll get in trouble” rarely applies.

You have to reexamine your values and decide whether they work for you now. Maybe you’ll decide to be sexually active, even though your parents told you to wait until marriage. Maybe you won’t.

The truth is that most people will find their values are pretty close to the ones they were raised with. But the process of finding that out is invaluable. It will give you a stronger foundation than just accepting what you’ve been told.

You may think this freedom is nothing special. You may think every college student has it. But what students living at home? What about those at military academies, supervised by drill sergeants?

At one conservative Christian college, chapel is mandatory. There is a seating chart. And if you are not in your seat the security camera will catch you and you will be disciplined accordingly.

These students are supposedly learning about faith. But what are they learning if they attend services not for spiritual reasons but for fear of punishment?

You don’t have to rebel against everything you’ve ever believed in. But you do have to ask yourself why you make the choices that you do. Find your own way.