I never questioned the wisdom of what I was doing when I was in yeshiva. I was just doing what I was meant to do. The fact that I didn’t really do much learning also didn’t factor into my thinking. It almost felt like destiny to me.
And then suddenly, all of that was gone. My entire vision for my future was gone in an instant. I was a failure, but even worse, I had absolutely no idea where to go. I had no idea how to reconstruct my life and decide what I wanted to be outside of the yeshiva setting.
Up until that point, the chapters of my life were pretty clear. I didn’t have to think about the next move, because they were all part of that kollel track. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had really lost every definition I ever had about myself. I literally did not know who I was or what I was going to do going forward. My parents, on the other hand, had a very clear idea of what I was supposed to do next; I was supposed to go to college, but I would have none of that!
The decisions I made subsequently, and the experiences I had trying to make peace with my decision to leave yeshiva, while trying to adjust to a college world that was completely foreign to me, would reshape my life and present challenges and triumphs I never could have imagined.
Stay tuned for Part II.
Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed is a social media consultant and a freelance writer currently working on a book about his collegiate experience. He welcomes comments and feedback at email@example.com or on his website: http://chaimshapiro.com/