Once, not that long ago, a little girl was fascinated by how the brain works. In fact, she decided she wanted to be a brain surgeon someday.
As a forward-thinking ten-year-old, she decided to quiz her physician father about medical school. What was it like? What kinds of things would she have to study? How could she prepare for it? And, most importantly, how long would it take?
The answer to the last question shocked her ten-year-old self. It seemed like forever! I can’t wait that long to actually do this, she thought. No wonder not many people become brain surgeons…
This revelation sparked a new thread of discussion. “Daddy, there has to be a faster way to do school,” she said. “I mean, why do we have to go to college after high school anyway? Don’t they just teach a lot of the same stuff over again? After all, look at the Founding Fathers.”
And so plans began forming of how to save time. Knock off a year here. Save two years there. Surely there had to be a way to do education faster and better.
Well, as this girl grew up, she discovered that she really wasn’t built to be a brain surgeon and that what she really wanted to do was help people and serve the Lord. (And maybe do some outlandishly awesome science experiments with her children someday.) So she took all of that passion and poured it into a few others areas. But, even as the brain surgeon idea faded away, the dream of doing college faster stuck with her.
As she and her parents toured four-year colleges, she kept thinking that someday there had to be something different. At one of those colleges, she purchased A Different Kind of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto and read it. That book convinced her even more that something had to change in higher education.
Meanwhile, a few other people were thinking the same thing. In a couple of years, the girl’s and their paths would intersect via audio messages, books, kind friends and a conference. What was this new Accelerated Distance Learning thing really about? Maybe just maybe…
Fast forward. As a nineteen-year-old (one month before her 20th birthday), this girl received her fully-accredited bachelor’s degree. Clearly, it took heaps of work, but thanks to the foresight and help of CollegePlus and Thomas Edison State College, she had finished her BA in two years, joining the ranks of other CollegePlus and TESC students who have proven that it can be done. She recognized the opportunity as a God-given gift and a dream come true. Now she could step forward to live out other, bigger dreams.
Of course, I was that ten-year-old girl dreaming big, the sixteen-year-old girl reading that book and the nineteen-year-old girl receiving her diploma. This subplot of my life reminds me that God can bring dreams to fruition. Not often in the way we expect. Not always in the way we think we want. But I believe He cares. He gives us dreams. And He is the One Who can make them come true.