When I first stepped out of the car and onto the pavement, Waynesburg University looked like many of the small, private schools I had been touring for months. Historic brick buildings full of character, vibrant foliage and countless visiting squirrels scurrying across the sidewalks. But the one thing Waynesburg didn't have was the one thing I thought I wanted.
Little did I know, things were quickly about to change.
In my mind, I had always seen myself majoring in Equine studies, training world class horses and riders for the Olympics or maybe even becoming the next big “horse whisperer.” Nothing had intrigued me more in my life than the mind and power of a horse, and after years of riding lessons and recent horse ownership, I was more and more ready to take the plunge towards attaining what I thought was my dream.
I had found a couple of equine schools, great ones, actually. So what was the problem? Why was I stalling?
It was my senior year of high school, and I was tired and discouraged. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life and the monotonous campus touring hadn't come close to pointing me in the right direction for my future.
That was before I visited Waynesburg.
As I toured the campus, I found myself being drawn in. The smell of fresh cut grass and hamburgers on the grill, the smiles shared by students as we passed by and the quiet, peaceful sounds of birds chirping overhead, all reminded me of what home is supposed to feel like—an intimate community.
This was a place I could see myself in.
Beginning to pull away from the schools I had found before, I wondered if I was making the right choice. As many of us do, I was second guessing myself when my heart was trying to tell me it was alright to let go.
I needed an awakening.
Up until my Waynesburg visit, I had never pictured myself as a writer. Sure, in high school I had been told that I had a talent for it, but writing never drove me forward. My spare time wasn't spent bent over a keyboard profusely typing every thought that came to mind. Wasn't that what writers were supposed to do? I didn't fit the mold.
When I met with English faculty, my whole perspective changed. As they spoke about their own passions for writing, something clicked. The wheels began turning.
They asked me about my interests and, when I thought it was impossible, explained the ways in which I could incorporate my other passions into writing and how I could make a difference through my words. But more than that, they opened a door I had not been able to see before. As much as I hadn't wanted to admit it at the time, I knew I had found what I was meant to do.
I guess the moral of the story is, sometimes the things we are called to do are not necessarily the things we had originally had in mind. Waynesburg showed me that, and through the years, they have continued to foster a passion I had never known existed.
Looking back on that journey, I can't imagine the outcome any other way.