Adjust Your Sails

by Lauren Mahoney

My college decision-making process was not an easy one.  I had every intention of smooth sailing with plenty of scholarships, acceptance letters, and an easy final choice.  However, I really struggled to find where God wanted me to go to school!  I was in the final months of my senior year of high school, and still had no clue where I was going to go to college.  Then I got a letter in the mail from Gardner-Webb asking me to apply, waiving the application fee and guaranteeing an answer in two weeks!  I was like, why would I apply to another school when I have to decide on a school in a month or so?  Hoping to find some answers, I applied anyway.

Looking back now, I’m sure glad I did it.  I was fortunate enough to have a really helpful admissions counselor, John Blalock, who worked with me day by day to ensure that every part of my application made it to the right place at Gardner-Webb and on time.  Once that was completed, he worked with me to see how I could be helped financially while attending this school.  Soon enough, I got the acceptance letter.  I felt that God was leading me towards this college for some reason.  I was overwhelmed because I hadn’t even considered it and had to make a decision really soon!  Why didn’t I know sooner? 

On a leap of faith, I made the commitment and chose Gardner-Webb to attend in the fall.  My track coach ended up talking to the track and field coaching staff here and they allowed me to join the team as a walk-on.  This was a surprise opportunity than encouraged me in thinking this was the right choice.  About a month or so later, I got the chance to visit the campus.  Within minutes of being on campus, I knew I had made the right decision.  This campus was amazing!  Everyone was super friendly and willing to help me in any way they could.  It felt like home here, and that’s what I’d been searching for.  I found what I needed at Gardner-Webb University.

I am now in my third semester at GWU, and it has been a wonderful experience for me.  I stay pretty busy as a student-athlete with practices and whatnot.  However, I am sure to make time for all the great activities around campus.  One of my favorites is a student-led worship service called “The Gathering”, held every Tuesday night.  It is a good chance to take time out of your week to focus on Jesus and your relationship with him.  I also enjoy supporting my fellow student-athletes at their games, such as football, soccer, and basketball.  It is so fun to gather as one student body to cheer our hearts out for our team!  Gardner-Webb also offers a lot of off-campus opportunities, like trips Carowinds or Wet & Wild.  I am a part of this Honors Student Association, and they also offer some great trips, like the Big Sweep River Clean Up and Fall Colors Hiking Trip!  There are endless possibilities here at Gardner-Webb University to have an astounding college experience.  It’s up to you to get out there and take advantage of it! 

This process of picking a college is not going to be easy.  I panicked on many occasions.  Rather than freaking out, I encourage you to take a minute to step back and look at your options.  When the wind isn’t blowing you in the right direction, adjust your sails.  It’s okay to get lost!  You’ll soon be guided onto the right path.  Find what is best for you!  I encourage anyone looking for a small town, “feels-like-family” kind of atmosphere, with individual attention in and out of classes, and limitless entertainment and opportunities to consider becoming a Runnin’ Bulldog like me.  You won’t regret it!


Lauren Mahoney: GWU Student.  Sophomore. Sociology Major. Criminal Justice Minor. Honors. Track & Field Athlete.  Lover of the outdoors, chocolate and kitty cats.  Also slightly obsessed with crime shows of all kinds.