Why did I originally go to Harding?
This is a fairly simple one to answer. I wanted to go to a Christian university (church of Christ affiliated) so that I could find a good wife. Second, because of biases from my early schooling, I did not want to go to ACU. Therefore, I chose Harding because I liked the campus the best.
Why am I glad now that I went to Harding?
This is more complex, and I am glad that it is. In no particular order:
- I met great friends. I recently attended the wedding of my suitemate from my freshman stay in Armstrong Hall. Several good friends that date back to that year attended. We had a blast. It says something that we can still get together and have a great time in post-college life. This is just one example of many.
- The smaller size allowed the professors to take interest in their students. I still remember going to Dr. Steil's house for his wife's homemade cinnamon rolls. I played Halo at Dr. McCown's house and beat him in ping pong to win the McChallenge. And who in my department doesn't remember Dr. Behel's fish fry! During my first 2 years I had experiences like these while other friends at other universities were stuck with teaching assistants. When the professors are able to really care for you as a person, you are much more apt to both respect them and learn from them.
- The education was great for my career. Education is always what you make of it, but I was given a good foundation to build upon. I have never been under-skilled in my computer industry because of training. In fact, the methods taught to me in the CompSci department put me ahead of the curve for quite some time.
- The study abroad program. I was privileged to live outside of Florence, Italy for an entire semester in the fall of 2001. I was able to travel the world per say. During this time I gained valuable life skills in terms of knowing how to get around in an unfamiliar place and relate to people that I had hardly anything in common with. I attended a very accommodating church in Florence. I remember going to church both in Sterling, Scotland and sitting next to a guy who grunted something that couldn't be English as well as sitting next to a man at the Omonia church in Athens, Greece who had walked from Iran. Both men praised God and taught me something.
- The religious maturity that I gained was invaluable. I had many teachers in our 'required' Bible courses that shaped my thinking. I can think of Neile Prior, Joe Brumfield, Duane Warden, and Ross Cochran. There were others as well in general classes who always encouraged and challenged my faith. My CompSci professors taught me how to be a Christian in the computer industry and had devotionals every Friday morning.
- The small town of Searcy. Now many people complain about this, and I certainly did my fair share. But going to college in a small town was a great experience. I come from a very large city and frankly don't always relate to country folk very well. I attended a smaller country church named Pineview and made many great friends with the good people in Pangburn, Arkansas.
- Wouldn't you know it, I ended up finding the wife of my dreams at Harding. My high school ambitions were realized.
- I got a liberal arts (rather than technical) education. I was forced to learn about history, business, bible, english, and other things that have nothing to do with computer programming. All of those subjects have proven useful in shaping my opinions, shaping my attitude, and giving me perspective in general.
- I was forced to learn to deal with people who didn't always agree with me. This is what roommates are for. This believe it or not prepared me for marriage more than a lot of things. It took some of the attention away from the center of the universe, which is of course me.
I am sure that more will come to me, but for now I will leave it at this. I hope that you had at least as great an experience during your college years.
Note: I edited this post about 12 hours after posting it. I did not retract or change any meaning. I instead expanded upon areas that I think deserve more thought. I have also added more than a few links to the post.