I considered going other places for school, but some were so big they were intimidating and some were too far from my family. I never found that feeling of assurance or connection when choosing my college, but now I look back and think, wow, it's clear I made the right choice.
I know that because of how quickly I became integrated into a community, simultaneously large and small.
I entered the Honors Program when I was a first-year student, which put me inside a smaller group of 100 students. We lived alongside one another, had classes together, seminars, and social events too. It was easy for me to find a sense of place here in this community inside a community. I felt at home and found friends in all of them.
And I found my niche. For me, it's not only the research I love to do, but the opportunities provided to develop my spiritual side by becoming part of a larger community.
This isn't just a college town. Opportunities to become linked with the community around you are everywhere. You take core classes in subjects like individual and social behavior and diverse cultures, and then you have the chance to apply the principles you learn.
In that way, your education becomes integrated. Your mind opens as well as your heart.
I am coming to a greater understanding of the importance of happiness in your life, and the importance of happiness in other people's lives. The routes to obtain it are many, but the sense of it is the same and connects us all.
It's not all about only working toward your goal, academic or occupational.
Education is more about getting your feet wet and starting to integrate in the real world. It's about living in a community, becoming part of it, and making a difference in it.