I didn't have a choice to go to Bob Jones. I remember very clearly thinking I had a choice, and even announced this ("I'm going because I want to, but if I wanted to go somewhere else, I would") to a person (visiting missionary/speaker) eating lunch at our house one Sunday when I was a senior in high school, much to the embarrassment of my mother who rebuked me later. To my confusion. And chagrin. Because if I really did want to go somewhere else, and presented my case in a focused and clear way, they would have let me. Right?
I don't even remember writing an essay; the selection process couldn't be that selective.
I spent a lot of time the first year or two trying to figure out where else I could spend a semester, to experience a "real" school. I didn't want to be away from BJ in the fall, because of soccer and rush; or was it the spring for some other reason? Of course I never even brought it up to my parents because let's be serious, it wasn't a possibility.
I always thought that kids should spend at least one semester away from home because for me it helped me grow up so much. Doing my own laundry. Figuring out my own schedule.
That idea makes me laugh so hard now, because in so many ways I was immature. I lived in a dorm where they told us when to go to bed and when to get up. What to wear when, where to go when (demerits for not going to class), who to talk to and when, when to eat, etc.
My grandmother lived in Greenville. She was in her late 70's, I think, and showing signs of Alzheimer's. My uncle and aunt lived on the BJ campus and taught/worked there. My mom and uncle had someone live with my grandmother and care for her. It occurred to me a few months ago (15 years after the fact, here), that I could have lived with her. I could have cared for her. I could have learned how to cook and clean and caretake and be responsible. Maybe I was too immature. Whether the immaturity was what kept my parents from giving me responsibility or the lack of responsibility is what kept me from maturing, it's hard to say. But I do think that had I been put in position of responsibility, I would have (cultural catchphrase) stepped up to the plate.
I do have some great memories from BJ. For what it was, the people I knew and the friends I made, I have some good memories. Stay tuned for some of those.