Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let the Great Adventure Begin

Last Wednesday Mark and I met with the Junior class for the first time.

It was our opening ceremony, so to speak, for our new College Seminar.

Pulling out a tattered copy of The Hobbit, I opened to an early scene where Gandalf chooses Bilbo for the expedition.

Gandalf's choice is met with consternation among Gloin and the other dwarves.

"Let's have no more argument," Gandalf gently exclaims, "I have chosen Mr Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you...There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself."

The college search is indeed an adventure.

A journey of self-discovery.

And hopefully self-validation.

Deep things reside within all of us.

And to be educated is to experience a connection with those passions, gifts, and abilities within us.

That's the kind of education that our College Seminar hopes to provide our juniors.

Visiting with the juniors, I shared with them that Mark and I essentially have four roles in the college search and admissions process.

We are servants. Like Sam Gamgee. We are always here to serve the needs of our students.

We are leaders. Like Aragorn. We hope to lead from behind as much as possible.

We are guides. Like Gandalf. We seek to provide a compass when the path disappears.

We are supporters. Like Gimli and Legolas. We will always have your backs.

And who might you ask are the Juniors?

They are the Bilbo's and the Frodo's.

They carry the ring of responsibility through the college search and admission process.

And they will eventually carry the weight of choice.

In the end we hope all of our seniors have at least two colleges to choose from. The majority, however, tend to have 4 or 5 excellent options.

So as we step outside our hobbit holes and leave the Shire, I remind you that the journey ahead will be fraught with uncertainty, difficult, and frightening moments. But rest assured that this adventure is not a solitary undertaking. It is and always will be a communal effort.