In 2010, I was fortunate enough to attend the Montreat Youth Conference with my church as a rising senior. I come from a small church where, due to funds and the number of youths, the MYC doesn’t happen for us every year, and this was Austell Presbyterian’s first year back since 2005. As a cool new senior, college was on my mind… but not really on my mind.
While we were leaving lunch one day, my sister pointed to a flyer for Outdoor Education at Montreat College and said it sounded like something I would like. “Lucy,” I responded, “I am not going to go to a college that’s four hours away from home.” And that was the end of my college preparation until two months before my graduation from Alexander High School.
Because of my senioritis, and my refusal to acknowledge that graduation was actually happening, I applied to a public university in Georgia in March of my senior year. Why a Georgia school, you ask? Because it was 30 minutes from home, aptly nicked-named “Alexander University.” That and the SAT requirements were five points less than what I had received on the SAT. Miraculously (or more likely because God was looking out for me), I got in, and a few months later, I headed off to join their new student orientation.
During all of the forums, meetings, sit-downs, and tours, I decided that dorm life would suit me fabulously. I took all the necessary preparations – bought matching green and gray bedding, a plastic rolling dresser, clip-on lamp, multi-purpose lap desk, shower caddy, folding butterfly chair… basically everything you could find in a “BEST DORM EVER!” sales ad. And, not to brag on myself, but my side of the living space did look straight out of “Dorm Room Dreamings” Pinterest board. However, I soon came to realize that life at this particular school was not what I had expected it to be.
The Georgia university is one of those schools in the middle of a transition from a small university to a big university… Throw in the new advent of Greek Life, and you’ve got yourself a Sorority and Fraternity only, unless-you-are-on-my-sports-team-I-will-not-associate-with-you, circus of cliques. I began habitually holing up in my dorm room, taking advantage of my free month of Netflix, and all-around ignoring any kind of activities that didn’t involve going to class, eating, and driving home for the weekend. Essentially, I became miserable. My parents began to notice and insisted that I transfer schools – threatening that they wouldn’t pay for another semester. I began to think of my interests… My strongest passion was outdoors and children. Hmm. Outdoors and children … what could that possibly mean?
And here I found myself remembering my sister’s words (insert echoing dreamy voice here): “Outdoor Ed, Katy. That sounds like something you would like.” Well, off to Montreat.edu I went. I scheduled a visit, crunched numbers with my parents, applied and in August of 2012, I was on my way to the fourth most beautiful Christian college campus in the country! (According to christianuniversitiesonline.org)
Since coming to Montreat, I have learned so much about myself. My journey to get here, to Lookout Mountain, has utterly reshaped my faith statement and has completely anchored my belief in the Lord’s justice and the Lord’s plan. From the moment I stepped out of my car and looked along the ridgeline that surrounds our campus I have felt the hand of God leading me to the places where He intends to use me, to spread the Kingdom and His Glory.
I have completely fallen in love with the scenery, the people, and the community that Montreat so genuinely focuses on. Montreat is truly Christ-Centered, Student-Focused, and Community-Driven, and I am so thankful that I don’t have to be anywhere else.