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Benedictine College recently welcomed nearly 400 potential Presidential Scholars to campus. It is always an amazing event on our campus. High school seniors who have learned about us submit their applications, and are invited to visit our campus, talk with our students and, yes, be interviewed by faculty, staff, and friends of the College.
I sat in on my eighth year of interviews. In ensuing semesters, I have had students who, while not qualifying, find me, to tell me they opted to attend Benedictine College. It is a beautiful affirmation to their tenacity and “thinking larger” than the money.
Suffice to say, it is intimidating for these young folks to be thrown in the midst of hundreds of total strangers, lined up to be interviewed by, in the case of my colleague and me, a Ph.D and Ed.D and Assistant Professors in our specialties. Some are well-rehearsed, hitting the points they want to get across, and responding well to our planned and off-the-cuff questions. Others are excited, nervous, scared to be sure, and we say and do what we can to put them at ease.
Then, there was the applicant who had much deeper concerns than simply aiming for a scholarship. It was my first time interviewing someone who was seriously conflicted with the idea of leaving a close family and making the move to another town. She had been accepted at a large state school in her hometown, as well as a faith-based college nearby.
But she knew she wanted more, needed more, the challenge to find out who she is, not as a member of a family, but herself. She shed tears over this personal chasm, and my colleague and I were thinking, “Oh, no…we’ve pushed the wrong buttons here.”
But we also realized we had given this young lady a door opener, am opportunity to identify her fears, and to know she is welcome, wanted, and, her essence is needed here. I said “_________, we want you here! Take this invitation, and don’t be afraid to take this opportunity!”
We could see her tension ease, with our affirmation that she is a great candidate, with or without the Scholarship funds. She can make her difference at Benedictine … She can learn about who she is and who she can be and will be.
Thatis an element of education, preparing to be confident for life.
I pray she finish her application and comes to see my colleague and I when she arrives on campus.
God … will be with her.