By Michelle Velazquez Mesnard
I have new eyes this year.
My entire 27-year career has been in higher education, but this year is different. Our son is a high school senior, and I’m seeing higher education in a whole new light as we walk with him through the task of selecting the college he will attend.
At first the process seemed very rational. We outlined the schools that would fit into our family budget; we talked about his major; we talked about academic rigor; we talked about school size.
And then it began to sink in.
This decision would affect nearly every aspect of his life. That’s when I really started praying, I mean praying in earnest. And one of my favorite passages from the Proverbs has become a big part of my prayers—“God, I want you to have the last word in this. And to probe for what is good. You are in charge.” (Proverbs 16:1-3 – Michelle’s paraphrase)
Each year at New Student Orientation, we gather the prayers and dreams parents have for their freshmen. The most common prayer is, “I want my son or daughter to discover God’s calling in life.” I hear the same desire to help students over and over again when working with faculty and staff on Union’s campus.
I taught communication at Union for 13 years. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen students find their niche—their calling—because of the ways they took what they were learning in the physical classroom and practiced it in the practical classroom of their campus job, in leadership positions, in internships, etc. That connection between academic learning and practical application is intentional at Union College. It’s the kind of “classroom experience” that helps Union students connect with what God is calling them to do. And it’s beautiful.
Our son decided to attend Union College this coming fall. It was his choice … really! As a parent, I know he’s made a fantastic decision. He’s attending a school where he will have every opportunity to learn to live joyfully in God’s calling. I am praying for him and all the other students who will join him. My prayer is, “God, I want you to have the last word for each student at Union. And to probe for what is good for each of them. Please, be in charge.”