a dear friend of mine shared with me how she turned down stanford to go to williams (my alma mater, a place that will always be close to my heart for this is where i grew and found the support i needed to find my wings and to believe in myself – it’s a small liberal arts college that attracts professors who love to teach and are devoted to their students). she grew up near stanford, and had always envisioned going there, so when she found she had gotten into both stanford and williams, she had to pause and consider these two wonderful choices before her.
in many ways williams is a smaller version of stanford, on the opposite side of the country, both offering outstanding academic opportunities. stanford has the big name that everyone recognizes, but williams has the small classes and professors who invest time and interest in you. stanford is close to the city, while williams is set in a valley, surrounded by purple mountains…after visiting the two schools, her head kept telling her stanford – people would be impressed if she could say she goes to stanford, but her heart told her to go to williams.
every time she thought about stanford, her head would grow, and every time she thought about williams, her heart would pound and her hands would sweat. she realized that williams was more of an unknown to her, that she was curious about what the williams experience would be like. she realized that she liked the idea of exploring and trying something new. she was excited about the adventure, and she wanted to step into the unknown.
ultimately she chose the school where she thought she would experience the most growth.
she chose the school that made her heart pound and her hands sweat.
sometimes i get stuck hoping my dreams will define me, and sometimes, if i’m willing to be open, i see i have choices. my choices can deepen me to explore and discover parts of me i never knew and there i find who i really am, and it’s not my dream after all.