It’s funny. I have a Williams College camelbak water bottle.

For the record, I got into Williams but I didn’t go. I went to Cornell. And my daughter got into Williams but she didn’t go. She goes to Carleton.

I have a Williams class of 2017 tee shirt that I’ve cut to use when I work out. Williams sent that to my daughter when she got in. And the water bottle? I was given that when I led a leadership session for their diversity office.

In retrospect, I didn’t go for the silliest reason.

Back in high school, I was protective of who knew I was a Moonie. While I had worn a button with Rev. Moon’s face on it to school during junior high school, the reception I got from the other kids wasn’t all that great and I had learned my lesson. I told close friends at Stuyvesant, after I’d known them for a while. I didn’t want everyone to know. I realize now that many of my friends probably told other people – it was interesting news to say the least – but I didn’t know that then.

But someone in my high school class who was going to Williams knew I was a Moonie, and for reasons that are too long to explain, this person hated me. I had, at least somewhat because of my confusion about my faith, hurt his friend. Badly. And therefore he hated me. He thought I was scum of the earth actually.

So I was terrified to go to Williams. It was such a small school, and in my teenage brain I was convinced this person would use what he knew about me to ruin my life. I was certain he would tell everyone at Williams, and I didn’t want to deal with people knowing I was a Moonie. Especially since I was questioning so much.

I went to Cornell. I enjoyed my time at Cornell, at least mostly, and what I didn’t enjoy was a result of my inner turmoil at leaving the Church. It wasn’t about Cornell. But when we visited Williams for my daughter I kept thinking of how much I probably would have loved it there. Of how much I probably would have thrived in a smaller school. Of how I probably wouldn’t have gotten quite as lost when my guilt and uncertainty consumed me.

I survived my turmoil at Cornell. I have some great memories and many great friends. And maybe things wouldn’t have been easier at Williams, but maybe they would have.

But I didn’t go. For the silliest reasons. And my daughter didn’t go, for better reasons.

Maybe my granddaughter will go.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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