We’ve entered the time of year where many kids and young adults are going to be heading back to school and it’s caused me to be reflective on my collegiate journey. I’d first like to say that I’ve been blessed on many different levels by choosing to go to a Christian college. My faith was tested during college but ultimately I came out stronger than I went in. I’ve met many people along the way who have given me advice I will cherish forever, and I hope my advice in this post will help you as you begin this new chapter of life. Here are a few tidbits I hope you will take with you.
College might be the best years of your life, but it might not. My decision to leave the town I lived in and move 3 hours away to attend college came with lots of fear and doubt. I only knew a handful of people in the town I was moving to and had little awareness of the opportunities that awaited me. I honestly had very little idea of the career path I wanted to take once I got to college, which made my future uncertain and caused me to be anxious. It was also at college where I experienced the death of two of my grandparents within a week of each other (which happened to occur during finals week). While in college I wrestled with things such as finding love, feeling accepted as I was, and being able to live up to expectations I myself and others had put on me. My views about who God was started to change, and I knew that shift would upset people very close to me, but I let the shift happen anyway and I’m better off and happier because of it. I encourage you to not let the challenge of change be a source of long lasting sorrow and pain. God is molding you to be who He wants you to be.
You are capable of doing far more than you think you can. I’ve been given challenges my whole life, and a large one has always been to be able to succeed in school. My cumulative GPA for my first three semesters in college was a 1.8, which ultimately landed me on academic suspension my sophomore year. I could have easily given up, moved back home and searched for employment but by that time I was a firm believer that college was the path I was supposed to be on, and I never gave up on that journey. Roughly only 7% of the worlds population has a bachelors degree or higher. And of that 7% only roughly 13% are people with a disability who have a bachelors degree or higher. If you asked me in high school if I had a chance to beat the odds that only roughly .7% of the worlds population has done I would have said no way. Until I actually began college and ultimately graduated with my bachelors degree you would have had a hard time convincing me that I would graduate in spite of my disability. Sometimes God asks you to walk up the staircase that is life even if you can’t see the step in front of you. Take that step anyway.
You don’t have to journey alone. Some of the best things I’ve come away from college with are the relationships I have formed while in college. Those relationships were with me when I needed them most and help me navigate through some dark times, but also were by me to experience the joy and success I had in college too. You, like me, will probably meet some lifelong friends. Find a community whether it be religious, athletic or whatever it might be that pushes you to be the best person you can be. Find a community that gives you as much as it takes from you. If you are having a hard time finding those people then be that person who gives as much as you take and who brings out the best in others and that community of people you seek will find you.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”