I had no intention of attending Union College.
I wasn’t purposely avoiding the local Adventist college as many students do, it just wasn’t the best option for me. I was interested in “bigger” and “better” things.
However, it became obvious that, regardless of what I thought my future held, God had a different plan.
I know, I know. Especially at an Adventist college, the “God wants me here” line may be a bit exhausted and even unfairly used against students at times. But after careful examination of my path to Union, every move was so calculated and precise that it can’t be anything else.
Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of my life began to fit together to form an image. It just happened that the image formed a tall Clocktower surrounded by dozens of trees. But that’s the thing about jigsaw puzzles—there’s always a hand placing the pieces next to each other, making sure they create the right picture.
I wasn’t one of those students who was grudgingly dragged to Union by their parents. I wasn’t even a student who applied to other colleges, visited other campuses and still ended up at Union.
I actually went so far as to enroll in a different institution.
After graduating high school in May 2015, I left for Basic Cadet Training at the United States Air Force Academy in June 2015. While there, I realized that, in short, I didn’t want to be away from my family for ten years.
I decided to come home. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.
As can be expected, when I came home, I had put myself in a bit of a predicament. My return came long after the deadlines for not only my second option, the University of Nebraska, but also Union College. My scholarships had expired for both colleges, and now, regardless of where I attended, I would be footing the bill.
That is, until one day, after I finished work, I came home to my mom on the phone at her desk. As I walked in, she frantically waved me over. I waited for her to get off the phone, and when she had finished, she looked at me with a smile and said, “They’re extending the deadline for you”
I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I knew that Union was a small college, but extending a deadline for one student? Needless to say, my call to the University of Nebraska went quite differently.
Without a doubt, part of what makes Union unique is the special interest it shows in students, both current and prospective. But, at least in my experience, it didn’t stop there.
From the beginning of my senior year, I knew I wanted to major in political science. However, the only problem is, Union doesn’t have this major. I heard it recently created a new major, international relations, so I figured this was as close as I would get.
After completing almost an entire year in international relations, I can honestly say that, knowing what I know now, I would choose IR over political science ten times over. I wouldn’t have known that if I had gone to the university downtown or anywhere else.
I’m not saying Union is for everybody. I’m not guaranteeing Union will bend over backwards to accommodate your poor life choices, nor am I promising a new major Union creates and you don’t even know exists will eventually become your passion.
But I’m telling you it can. Because it did just that for me.
Even past its spiritual atmosphere, Union is a special place. Personally, I appreciate Union’s efforts to provide an academic environment that rivals those of much larger, more well-funded institutions. But what’s amazing to me is Union does this with an enrollment of under one thousand students, which in and of itself provides many benefits.
Like I said, Union isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re a current student coming to that realization.
Maybe you’re a prospective student wondering if Union is the right fit. Or maybe it’s time to ask yourself why it is that most people who know about Union end up going to Union.
It’s not the weather; Lincoln is no San Diego. It’s not the caf; one can only take so much veggie meat over an eight-month period. It’s definitely not the price; we’ve all seen the cost of tuition at community college. I don’t exactly know what it is.
But it’s special. And I’ll be eternally grateful for being given the opportunity to attend Union College and experience all it has to offer.
Jonathan Deemer is a freshman International Relations major.