Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 11.41.38 AMAs a graphic design and digital media student, a small fraction of my studies is devoted to the art of photography and digital editing. Craving more of it, I enrolled this semester in a brand new Commercial Photography class, where every few weeks I am assigned a new project having to do with an advertisement of some sort.

This past week, I brought my younger sister and cousin to school with me for a night so that they could model for my Saran Wrap campaign ad. Needless to say, we had a great time! While I left the experience with many wonderful memories, something that my cousin mentioned while in chapel on Monday has left a mark in my mind.

While in chapel, before the service began, she began telling me about a couple of the colleges she had been looking into. She definitely has a few years to think about it, so I applauded her initiative so early on. After listening to her list of UC schools, I asked, “Have you thought about any private schools?”

She laughed a little and shook her head as though it were an obvious answer, “No, definitely no private schools.”

In all honesty, her response had me taken aback. As I was soon to find out, though, my cousin’s understanding of a “private school” was that they are all uptight, uniformed and strict. She wanted to go somewhere where she could excel academically but also enjoy the uniqueness of a college social life.

So, I set to work.

Now let me be clear, I understand that private school is not the best route for everyone. Certainly, for many reasons, it was the best choice for me and my academic pursuits, but I am not everybody.

Regardless, I think that every high school student should have the benefit of a proper understanding of every option available to them when choosing a university. So over the next day, I was sure to show my cousin every in, out, wall and door that illustrates CBU’s well-rounded offerings. (Actually at one point, she poked fun at my enthusiasm and pointed out a rock and its supposed significance).

CBU teaches humility, not an understanding of uptight religion. CBU endorses plenty of room for students to make their own decisions and grow through that process of independence, rather than being overbearing and strict.  And, most importantly to some, CBU really doesn’t care whether your socks are uniform or not. In fact, CBU encourages God-given individuality and the decision to stray from “worldly” norms.

Certainly, there are a few “private schools” out there that may be considered uptight, uniformed and strict, but CBU is not one of them, and I made it my mission to help her understand that during her stay. And given her state of awe by the end of our time together, I would say that I succeeded!