Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… My dad had quadruple bypass surgery during my senior year of high school. He pulled through okay, but it changed our lives forever.
It’s been two years since I’ve written one of these Life Story posts. Honestly, I’m not sure why. It’s not as if my life ended with high school. In fact, I would argue, that’s when my life really began.
I’ve made it no secret that I never cared much for high school. I didn’t hate it. But I definitely didn’t like it. I didn’t enjoy my four years at Patrick Henry. Moments, sure… but overall, not so much.
College… That was a very different story.
I was pretty indecisive about college for most of high school. In fact, I’m not sure I ever gave college much thought when I was growing up. I mean, I assumed I would go to college. It was the logical next step once I finished high school. But where?
I know there are a lot of kids… maybe even a lot of families… who have a good idea about where they want to go to college from a young age. I wasn’t a legacy or anything. Dad didn’t go to college. Mom went to the local community college, though I don’t remember if she finished her associates degree. So neither of my parents pushed me to go to “their” school.
Though, if I’d been smart from a financial point of view, I’d have gone the community college route for my first two years. But that’s not something I considered.
For a while, I think I considered Radford University to be my most logical choice. It was out of town, but only by about an hour. So it was still local. Sure, Virginia Tech was just as local, but for whatever reason, Tech was never on my radar. I really don’t know why.
Radford made sense, though. I knew it had a reputation as a party school. But that’s not why I was interested. If that comes as a shock to you, then you should probably go back and read all the previous Life Story posts. Because that’s just not the kind of person I was. And I didn’t intend to go to college just to become some kind of rebellious cliche.
And then I was introduced to Bluefield College. During the summer year after my junior year of high school, I participated in a mission trip with my youth group. We traveled down to far away Danville, Virginia to take part in Impact Virginia, which put together groups of students who worked on the houses of those in need. My group put on a new roof, retiled a kitchen floor, built an outdoor staircase… we did a lot.
Sidebar… This trip was where I first heard one of my favorite jokes. One of the other kids in my work group shared it in the van one very warm afternoon. “How do you fit an elephant into a Safeway shopping cart? You take the F out of Safe and Way…” If you figure out why it’s funny, let me know in the comments.
Anyway, I tell you about that mission trip because that’s where Bluefield College became a school that I was interested in. The youth minister in the church where I grew up was an alum of Bluefield. But I never really gave that much thought. It wasn’t until I met a current student of Bluefield that I became interested in the school.
One of the students on the worship team for Impact Virginia was a sophomore at Bluefield. And he had great things to say about the small college in Bluefield, Virginia.
Early in my senior year, my youth minister offered to take me to Bluefield so I could take the tour and really get to know the campus. It’s not a large campus, so it took all of an afternoon to really get to know the place.
But I really liked it. And it wasn’t long after that visit that I decided Bluefield was where I wanted to go to college.
Being a private college, I really had no clue how I would afford it. My parents weren’t wealthy, so there wasn’t much to go around when it came to educational savings. But even if I’d gone to a state school, money would have still been an issue. To say I racked up some hefty student loans would be an understatement. But that’s life, right?