It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to this blog. I am currently enrolled in a local college, so most of my time is taken up by work and study. I love college, and I wish I had enrolled years ago. Better late than never, I guess. Many of you readers have encouraged me to enroll, and that’s largely why I finally took the leap. Thank you! You are amazing!

Of all the ex-Amish people I know (hundreds), less than a handful have gone to college. Why don’t more of them seek a higher education? I believe there are several reasons:

  1. Many of them don’t think it’s necessary. Many of them believe they can make a decent living and enjoy life without going to college. In a way they’re right. The Amish are taught to be hardworking and entrepreneurial. Many Amish and ex-Amish start businesses, and whether it’s a furniture shop or a construction company, they often succeed fantastically. It is not uncommon to find college-educated people working for an Amish employer that has no more than an eighth-grade education.
  2. Another reason for not going to college, I suspect, is that the ex-Amish don’t set set their dreams very high relative to the general population. For them, just being out among the “English” is so much of an adventure that going to college and doing even greater things doesn’t seem that much of a step up.
  3. For many ex-Amish, college sounds like an intellectual hardship. Many of them didn’t enjoy Amish parochial school, and most have been away from the world of study and exams for so long that they shudder at the idea of returning.
  4. As for myself, I’ve always planned on going to college some day. The only thing holding me back was time and money. I thought that if I could only put in a few more years of work in my entrepreneurial pursuits, I would have both the time and the money I would need. If I could only make a bit of money at an ‘okay’ job, then I could move on to pursuing my dreams.

While college does take a lot of time and money, I’m happy to report that it doesn’t take nearly as much as I had anticipated it would. If you lack time, you don’t have to enroll full-time. You can take one or two courses at a time, if you like. As for the money, if you go to an instate community college where tuition is a lot lower, financial aid may cover most of it.

Then, of course, there are the scholarships. There’s actually a scholarship specifically for the ex-Amish seeking a higher education. The Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund was started by two ex-Amish women, Emma Miller (featured in Devil’s Playground 2002) and Naomi Kramer. This year they’re giving out several hefty scholarships (from $1,000 to $5,000) to ex-Amish students.

I think what they’re doing is amazing. If you’re an ex-Amish person thinking about going to college, be sure to head over to their website and apply. Don’t think that you won’t have a chance. If you’re ex-Amish and want a higher education, you’ve already distinguished yourself from the pack. If you qualify, I think you’ll have a very good chance of getting a scholarship. If perchance, the scholarship is $5000, that will cover the tuition and fees at some community colleges for a whole year.

If you’re not an ex-Amish student, consider donating to the cause or publicizing the scholarship by ‘Liking’ their Facebook page and sharing posts.

College is much more than just a crapload of exams and then a stressful job. In college you can learn so many interesting things. In college you  can direct your education, to some extent. You can choose many of your own courses, and study what interests you. In college you will broaden your horizons and begin to understand so much more about our society, our history, and where we’re going. With a college education, you won’t be limited to mindless, back-breaking, labor–you can follow your dreams.

Note: I am not receiving anything other than satisfaction for promoting this scholarship. I promote it only because I think what they’re doing is amazing.