After the events that I told of in Nice & Blue, I was pulled from my IFB school and home schooled though high school graduation. I loved homeschooling for the most part, but didn’t realize what effects it was having on my mindset and thinking. Everything I learned was taught from a biased viewpoint, whether it be BJU Press, Pensacola’s A Beka Book, or other fundamentalist sources such as Vision Forum and No Greater Joy. For example, there was a ‘world history’ class in my junior year that spent the entire year not on the history of the world, but on church history, and particularly as it pertained to Martin Luther and Baptists. Everything else was trivialized. Remember the World Wars? Those would seem essential to world history, but they were mostly skipped over, save that Hitler was used as an example of what happens if fundamentalism fails. Yeah. Hitler was fundy gone liberal. I digress.
Enter my senior year of home school high, and I was faced with the decision of where to go to college. Now as a little background on the situation, both of my parents as well as myriad aunts, uncles, and cousins went to and/or graduated from BJU. It was expected that I, as the pastor’s son, do the same, but I really didn’t want to. I grew up on the grounds of that school (to a point) and really had no desire to go back, especially as a student. Upon asking my parents what they thought (as they were graciously footing the bill) I was told that “…it is your decision where you go to school, but we like Bob Jones…” So I did some research and decided that I wanted to go to a mostly unknown christian school in Arizona. My parents proceeded to look up the school and answer with a very firm “No”, their reason being that the school was too ‘liberal’ and that “You can go anywhere, but Bob Jones is the best school there is!”. They will swear up and down that they didn’t pressure me into going to Bob Jones, but I felt that they did. I eventually relented and put in the application. It was accepted and I was set to go to BJU in the fall (That summer, I was scheduled to work at a christian summer camp a few hours from home, but that’s another post.).
Since we have family on the way to BJU, we decided to leave early so that we could stop and visit. It was nice to see family, but the day before I was supposed to go and officially enter college life, I was locked away in a back room fighting with myself. I had a feeling in my gut that BJU was not a place that I should be, and that I was about to be led away into the makings of a horror movie. I felt that walking onto that campus and signing my life and free will over to them would be a terrible mistake. I didn’t want to do it. Once again, when I brought this up to my parents, I was met with a strong support of BJU and a lack of support and respect for what I was feeling. “BJU is a wonderful school, and you’re just nervous…” or “…You’ll get over it quick enough.” That didn’t help at all. I felt totally alone.
I arrived on campus to check in on a saturday morning, still with the feeling that I shouldn’t be there. I was closely followed by my watchful parents who kept up a continuous stream of babble about how old they felt being the parents of a student instead of students. I mostly ignored it. I checked in, got my student ID card and room assignment, and went to unload my things into my dorm. I was greeted by three room mates that I thought I might become friends with as I hadn’t made a new friend since I was 11 and was looking forward to it. I was wrong. At no point in my stay did I get along well with my roomies. We were just too different. With that being as it was, I had no safe place to go to during my time there. My room wasn’t safe, and I could never get any peace there. I eventually learned to either take my laptop to the stadium when it was deserted, or to leave campus and go to a nearby music store when I had time and needed space. Those were the only places that I could be reasonably alone.
My time at BJU is a long and detailed story. Unfortunately, I’m out of time for today, but I’ll continue this in later posts.
*Title of this post borrowed from a song of the same name by mewithoutYou.