The Bigger the Better?

   BY SAMANTHA MCCRABB

     How do you know if you made the right choice? The one that defines four years of your life and pretty much everything after that? My junior year in high school I was overwhelmed by the “college talk” and the visits that went along with it. How was I supposed to know which one was for me? That year, I visited Samford University. I loved Birmingham and I loved the beautiful campus, but I was feeling that I wanted something bigger. The bigger the better, right?

    My senior year in high school I had numerous talks with my teachers and other parents. I told them that I felt ready for the big time. I wanted to go to a big SEC university and I wanted to make a difference on that campus. After attending a private Christian school for a portion of my education already, I was ready to be bold and move out of the comfortable stage I was in. I chose the college that I loved. It was beautiful, it was far enough away but not too far and it was everything I was looking for.

    During my first semester at my dream college, I began to wonder if I had misjudged my ability to stand strong in what I believe. The campus minister I had heard great things about left, my plans and ambition faded and I felt myself losing sight of the very reason why I wanted to be there. This was a huge lesson: pride before fall.

    I was prideful about a handful of things leaving high school and I was quickly shown that it is not easy to stand alone and be the difference people are looking for. I was not prepared to keep allowing this constant battle in my life - fighting against the crowd and being without a community - and I knew something had to change.

    After my first semester, I sat down with my parents and was very open about my feelings towards where I was mentally, academically and spiritually at college. I was disappointed with where I was and made the decision that I needed a change and decided to leave. I remembered Samford's beautiful, classic campus and I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to be. Samford may not have been what I was looking for at the time, but it was everything I needed.

    During your college years, you grow a lot. During that growth it is important to surround yourself with a good community. It makes such a difference when you are around people with similar goals. Samford stands out among other schools for many reasons, but I recognized a few that I loved. At Samford, the people are set apart from the norm. They are motivated and intentional with their time. Students have a clear perspective on why they are here at college and take that very seriously. Samford is a place where I know I can have fun and grow in all areas while people challenge me.

    Some may question my decision to transfer. Maybe it was the comfortable thing to do. Maybe I got scared and gave up. Or maybe I found a place where I can accomplish all the things I need to in college.

    I have learned so much more here in class than anywhere else. My professors know who I am and they care about my success. The community has variety here, but it is made up of people who are outstanding students, friends and leaders. It is okay to realize that where you are is not where you want to be, but I learned I had to make the change. Bigger is not always better and it is a lot easier to get pulled down rather than pulling others up. My decisions helped shape me and allowed me to learn. I simply realized I was not heading in the right direction and changed my course.

Everyday, I am grateful for that decision.