By Dr. Dondi Costin // President // Follow @csuprez on Twitter
Most earthlings never get the chance to rub elbows with a real-life rocket scientist. What those brainiacs do seems so complex that we assume only a space cadet could ever understand it. More often than not, our grasp of the galactic is limited to exposing the relative simplicity of every other task with this backhanded bow to their brilliance: “It’s not rocket science.”
As it turns out, though, some stuff is rocket science. That stuff includes a constellation of high-stakes activity with little margin for error. Space exploration is a dangerous business that demands a posse of problem solvers to get you ready, get you up there, and get you home. For number crunchers with their eyes on the skies, failure is not an option.
Any rocket scientist worthy of her pocket protector will pinpoint the perils of strapping yourself to a torch that blasts you into outer space on what could be a one-way trip. When asked which phase of flight from prelaunch through re-entry runs the most risk, that same scientist will cautiously say, “the next one.” Because once you’ve made it through the previous phase(s) without incident, the total risk calculation might be lower than it used to be, but it won’t be zero until your space suit is hanging beside the CSU Blue Crew t-shirt in your closet on planet earth.
When pressed to pick the most dangerous flight phase, however, the average rocket scientist will land on launch without delay. A lot can go wrong right after liftoff.
Despite any prelaunch success you may have enjoyed, how you launch determines how you live. A good launch makes all the difference in the direction you take and the destination you reach. Launch well, live well.
The same is true of everyone who hungers for the heavens.
That’s why the countdown to college is so critical. A recent LifeWay study found that two-thirds of church-going teenagers drop out of church once they get to college. Whether for lack of time or lack of interest, their launch into life is limited as other things sideline the things of God when it matters most.
Houston, we have a problem. In Charleston, we have a solution.
As this world’s most precious cargo is buckled in for the ride of their lives, just moments away from escaping the gravitational pull of their parents’ faith, it’s encouraging to remember that a launch pad like Charleston Southern is well within reach.
A pad where fellow travelers in every class connect this life to the next. Where students
are taught how to think, not what to think. Where character, calling and commitment
set the stage for credentials and careers. Where making a life and making a living
are two sides of the same coin. Where worship is central, not marginal. Where relevant
faith is like rocket fuel. Where the Truth determines your trajectory. Where your
purpose is your passion. And where your destiny is your destination.
Launch time is not the time to take unnecessary risks. Too much is at stake to leave this most important phase to chance. Failure is not an option.
Choosing a university really isn’t rocket science. Or is it?
Photo by Richard Esposito. Anna Menendez '19 speaks to Dr. and Mrs. Costin at the 2019 CSU graduation luncheon.
Originally published in CSU Magazine, Spring 2019.