If I had it to do all over again, I may or may not have chosen to go to the high school(s) that I went to, but I definitely would not have gone to the seminary I went to. I just didn’t know what I wanted out of a school. I basically asked my principal, who I highly respected, where he thought I would like, and he told me to go to the school that I did.
Even before I went there, I was a little apprehensive about it. I knew that it was more right wing than I was, but I wasn’t sure that was a bad thing. I knew that the girls from my high school who’d gone there weren’t exactly like me, but then again, who IS exactly like me? It seemed that everyone who spent a year learning in Israel came back at least a little, if not a lot, more religious than they were when they started.
I bring this up now not because I’m dwelling in regret, but because my sister is a senior in high school and is deciding where she wants to apply to seminary now. Now, my sister and I are vastly different people, and I acknowledge this. However, her arguments for applying to schools that are more right wing than she is sound eerily familiar. “My guidance counselor thinks I will like it, and she knows me well” “So-and-So went to this school, and she’s a cool person” “I don’t want to go to seminary just to read texts all the time. I like the discussions” “I’m not looking for the same things from college that I am from sem”.
I want her to go to the best school for her, not the best school for me. If she wants to go to the same school I did (she doesn’t, but for different reasons) then so be it. However, I hope she isn’t tricking herself into thinking that because other people tell her that’s what she wants, it’s what she wants. I want her to have the clarity of mind to choose a place that will affect her positively for the rest of her life, not just for the 6 months after she gets back when she’s still on her spiritual high.