Top Ten Tuesday: Dear Freshman Me

Top Ten Tuesday: Dear Freshman Me


Today at 9:30 am, I will attend my last class at the undergraduate level.  Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I will take final exams, and next semester I will be a student teacher in a fifth grade class.  Lord willing, I will graduate in less than five months.

Looking back, I realize that some of the emotionally challenging days of college could have been avoided.

10 things I wish I could tell my freshman self

  1. God is God. You are not.  Trust His plan, and don’t try to fix it.
  2. Be humble. Be a servant.  Be like Christ.
  3. Treat your body like God’s temple. Worship in it, but don’t worship it.
  4. The accolades really don’t matter, so don’t get too engrossed in the competition. Enjoy the challenge for how it is building you individually.
  5. To have friends, you must show yourself friendly.
  6. Enjoy the moment because it is all you have.
  7. Quit worrying about money. God will supply your needs.
  8. Wear your polka-dot rain boots. Wear your green shorts.  Wear your flowy skirts.  Don’t be embarrassed by your quirky style.  When you finally get brave enough to wear those clothes in your junior year, you will get a ton of compliments.
  9. Get involved in school events and at church. You want people to know who you are.
  10. Perfection is unattainable. Quit trying so hard.

I would never claim that college is easy, but the past 3.5 years have been some of the most rewarding years of my life.  As I learned the ten truths that I listed above, I have grown emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.  I have seen God’s provision to pay for college and missions trips.  I have seen God’s sovereignty to orchestrate convenient class schedules and amazing summer jobs.  God showed His grace by sustaining me through difficult classes and long nights.

Truthfully, student teaching terrifies me, but I must “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk.”

  • God will continue to provide for me.
  • God will continue to orchestrate His plan.
  • God will continue to graciously sustain me.

Meanwhile, I will believe the ten statements that I want to tell my freshman self.

Top Ten Tuesday: Freshman Year

Top Ten Tuesday: Freshman Year

freshman

It’s been a wild ride.  Besides tubing down the New River, playing late night games of mafia and Nerf wars in dark, abandoned classrooms, sledding down steep hills, sliding across baby-oil slathered tarps, and taking late night strolls downtown for smoothies, the year has been filled with daunting projects, killer quizzes, and ominous exams.  Most nights were late–some because I was socializing in the lounge while watching Frozen, some because I was pacing the stairwell trying to memorize facts about the life of Christ, and some because my brain had too many thoughts to be silenced for sleep.  But now, it’s all over.  The seniors marched through the auditorium on Friday and received their diplomas.  They turned their tassels.  They have reached their goal.

This first year of college cost me quite a bit–monetarily, emotionally, and physically.  However, it gave me even more things–new friends, amazing memories, and a wealth of knowledge.  So here for you are the…

Top 10 Things I Learned Freshman Year

1. It’s okay to change your mind.

And I do change my mind on a seemingly constant basis (I’m not indecisive, am I?).  I came to college with an unbendable desire to teach fourth grade.  At the current moment, I have no idea what I want to do with my life.  Teach? Photograph? Travel? The options are endless.  Only God knows the outcome, which brings me to my second point.

2. God’s will is my sanctification.

As I’ve said before, I wish someone had explained this to me years ago.  God’s greatest desire is for me to become like His Son.

3.  I need time alone.

Sometimes the friendliest place is a solitary bench.  Yet, …

4. I need my friends.

I need to know that there are people who love me, are praying for me, and will do absolutely anything for me.  Because I change my mind, I need advice.  Because God is putting me through trials to make me like Christ, I need companionship.  While the solitary bench can be friendly, it can also be lonely.  I often need someone to fill the empty space beside me.

5. Hot tea is awesome!

It warms the soul, calms the heart, and quenches the anxious mind (all while being healthy).

6. I know nothing.

And I don’t know why I ever thought I knew anything.  My ignorance and stupidity are glaring.

7. God’s Ways are not Our ways.

Our ways are simple, but His ways are perfect.

8.  Mornings are glorious.

Serene, calm, still: they provide time for me to be alone with my Savior.

9. I actually like all those foods I never tried as a kid.

Oatmeal? Warm and filling.  Watermelon? Sweet and summery.  Cauliflower? Buttery and smooth.  Cottage Cheese? Creamy and sweet.  Green beans? Nope, those are still disgusting.

10.  Jehovah Jireh is my Provider; His grace is sufficient for me.

He gave me strength at my weakest moments.  He gave me peace in the midst of storms.  He gave me health when others were ill.  He gave me sustenance when I was hungry.  He gave me rest when my heart was anxious.  He gave me wealth when I felt poor.  He gave me friends in the midst of enemies.  He gave me direction when I lost my way.  He never gave less than or more than what I needed.  He never makes a mistake, and I will trust Him eternally.

College: Miserable and Marvelous

College: Miserable and Marvelous

I know you.  You have watched countless episodes of Boy Meets World, and you cannot wait to move into your dorm room, decorate it in your favorite colors, and start learning keys that will help you with the rest of your life.  However, you have also spent many hours searching for the perfect college and feeling absolutely helpless, scared, and apprehensive.  College is the one thing that has managed to both excite you and terrify you all at once.

How do I know this? Because you are me.  Last year this time, I was sitting on the floor of my living room with a spreadsheet comparing which college would best suit me.  I took into account the weather, the number of students, the price of tuition, the dress code, etc.  What I wanted was the ability to look into the future and see which college I had chosen.  Last year, I wondered how I would really adjust to college life;  I went to the same school for thirteen years, and my best friends had been with me my entire life.  But I knew that college would be different.  I would have new teachers, new classmates, a new church, and a new living situation.  College was an unknown, scary, huge monster staring me in the face.  I cried myself to sleep more times than I can count.

But I have good news for you.  You don’t have to go through all of that.  Why?  I am the long-awaited person coming back from their first semester of college that will tell you how attending a small Christian college really is.  The truth? College is miserable and marvelous.  Let me explain:

On one hand, college is completely different than high school.  You will move away from your parents, eat 21 meals a week in a cafeteria, make new friends, completely reboot your life schedule, and spend quite a few moments in absolute misery.  I am not going to lie to you.  There were definitely times (especially the first week) that I was afraid to even open my mouth because I knew that I would burst into tears.  I missed my parents, my friends, and my teammates.

However, as soon as I got into the swing of things, as soon as I made a few friends, as soon as realized how much I LOVED my new church (and I would HIGHLY recommend getting involved in a church ASAP), I started to fall in love with college.  Let me tell you why.  In college, the classes are extremely applicable.  I love my Bible classes because they have taught me more about my Savior than I could have ever imagined learning.  My professors are geniuses.  I can’t even comprehend how they know some of the facts they know.  My job is awesome!  I get to spend hours every day with kids.  My church family is terrific.  They definitely seek to serve the Lord in all they do.

All of that is to say this:  don’t let the looming promise of college overwhelm you.   Instead pray for guidance.  If you can’t decide which college is right for you, do this: choose one and sleep on it.  If you still like your decision in the morning, go for it.  If you hate your decision, go with the other college.  Don’t worry.  College is absolutely awesome.  And all those freaky unknowns that are killing you?  They really aren’t that bad.