What Do You Really Want?

By: Chloe Baker  |  September 20, 2023

By Chloe Baker, Staff Writer

If you know me, you know that I spent a large percentage of my year in Israel asking myself the question “what do you really want?” After three months in seminary, I decided I didn’t want to stick to my original plan of attending a secular college on the West Coast; instead I dreamt of making Aliyah and pursuing my degree in Israel. I quickly established that my dream was a little unrealistic, and just like that, I was back at square one trying to find the answers to what seemed like an unanswerable question. 

The staff from Yeshiva University seemed to always be visiting my seminary to give Divrei Torah or talk about the school. While these shiurim were great, and there was no shortage of awesome school swag, my mind could still not be made up. However, after many long conversations and trying to seek guidance anywhere I could, whether it be from parents, friends, or the beloved staff members at Machon Maayan, I came to the conclusion that this was a decision only I could make. In March I officially (and nervously) paid my enrollment deposit, and just like that became a student of Stern College! 

The transition from seminary to college has so far been very smooth. I cannot speak highly enough of the staff and students who put their all into orientation week to make sure that FTOC students felt comfortable and ready to take on this next chapter of our lives. Within minutes of arriving on move-in day, I was greeted with both a smile and open arms by Dean Shoshana Schechter and immediately felt welcomed into the YU community. 

There are already so many things I love about YU, but one of the best things has to be that I can shift from a long day of classes to attending a shiur in the beautiful beit midrash at night. I was worried that after seminary the presence of regular Torah learning would have to be put on the back burner. Luckily, at Stern, it is exactly the opposite. Whether it be a shiur at night, during club hour, or a chavrusa with friends at lunch time, Torah learning is everywhere! Torah and secular education are not fighting for a bigger spot in your life but are rather both in equal standing. 

As college students, there are going to be many decisions that we have to make going forward. Many times we will have to answer the question “what do I really want?”  Though I highly encourage seeking support or guidance from people you can rely on, at the end of the day, these monumental decisions will be made by you; as such, they should come from a place of strength and confidence, not fear. 

While there are endless moments I find myself wishing I was back in Israel, basking in the beauty of the Givat Washington educational campus or roaming around Jerusalem feeling inspired, I can confidently say that Stern College is the next best place to be.