I decided I wanted to go to Vanguard when I was 15 or 16. I was visiting another Assemblies fo God College for the weekend and felt like God told me that I should go to Vanguard. I am not talking about God speaking in a voice or anything, but I had a feeling. I went to visit the school as a Junior in high school and pretty much had my sites set on it. I planned on being a Math major and doubling in religion and the reason Vanguard worked was because it was one of two Assemblies of God schools that had s Math Major.
The choice to go to Vanguard- while at the time was definitely what I wanted- kind of felt like a let down in some ways because the school was known for being easy to get into, and was not exactly ranked highly in academics compared to other schools that I had dreamed of going to for years. I still have the M.I.T sweatshirt, because for nothing other than the name it was my dream school for several years as a teenager. I think my mom wanted me to apply there just to see if I could have gotten in, but instead I applied to Virginia Tech (good school for math, science, computer, etc.) and got in with little effort. But alas I went to Vanguard because I knew it was what I was called to do.
I am not at all making fun or questioning 'my calling' to Vanguard. I loved the school. I loved my education. I made some of the best friends of my life. I had professors that I still interact with normally. Because of the cost I decided to graduate a year early so I only spent three years there.
The summer after graduation, before returning to California I moved home, and stayed to help my sister move into her freshman year of college at American University in Washington D.C. I remember having a really hard time moving her onto campus, because I felt like I should be going back to school myself. I was also overwhelmed by the size of her schools and the many Gay/Lesbian, Jewish, etc clubs on her campus. There were booths set up for Frats, and College Republicans and Democrats, and I remember thinking that I missed out on all this diversity at Vanguard and feeling kind of cheated by that in a small way. I also felt cheated out of one more year of school, but I think I had had my fill of Vanguard at that point.
Anyway, on Friday night I was having dinner with a fellow Vanguard grad, and her friend who graduated from UCLA along with my UCI Alum David, and I said I felt like my opportunity to go to UC Irvine for grad school was like a chance to redeem myself. My friend from Vanguard commented that she felt like she had a great education there. I told her that I didn't disagree, but I also don't think I will know how well my education served me until I see how well I am able to do when I initially start grad school.
In general I feel like I have something to prove intellectually, and I feel like by going to an academically respected institution like UCI I will have the academic backing that I really desire in my life. I know it sounds kind of weird, but being from another state, it's kind of a big deal to go to a UC at all. I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel like getting accepted and going to UCI is fulfilling something in my life that I have been wishing I had done for the last 6 years of my life, and at the same time I am not saying that I wish I didn't go to Vanguard, I am saying that I am stoked to take this opportunity to feel like I can achieve something I have been lusting after for quite some time.
I cannot wait for school to start in the fall. I am counting down the days. =)