Yikes, I’ve been in college for a year already?!? Half of me feels like I’ve been a Biola student forever, and the other half feels like I just started college yesterday! It’s been a beautiful year filled with wonderful memories and sweet new friends.
Here are a few bits and bobs I’ve learned this year. I hope you can relate to some, and that they encourage you. Comment below with anything you’ve learned this year!
- There are more kindred spirits than you think. During orientation, everyone is nervous and a little scared, and everyone thinks that everyone else has it together. It’s actually kind of amusing to watch! I learned to take a deep breath and realize that there is almost always at least one other person who feels the same way I do. If I feel lonely, someone else on campus does, too. This reminded me to be real with the people around me and to reach out to others, because you never know who might need your smile.
- Friendships take time. One of the things I was most excited for this year was the opportunity to make good friends. However, that can get real stressful real fast. During orientation week, people already seemed to be close, and I was just meeting my friends! At first I was tempted to compare my friendships to those of the people around me, but this year I learned to stop comparing. First of all, who knows what the friendships I see are really like? People can seem like best friends on social media, but I don’t know what they really feel. I also learned that real friendships take time to develop. That’s healthy. That’s good. So don’t be scared if you don’t have a bestie after orientation week. It’s healthy and good to meet people and then grow closer over time. Time is a good thing, and we don’t have to be freaked out by it.
- The little things are actually really important. One of the ways my friends made me feel super loved was by their encouraging words and actions (click this link to hear a story of how they used post-it notes to make my day: http://runningwithrissa.com/blue-post-its-how-to-practically-impact-your-relational-world/). Sometimes it seems silly to do small things. If I can’t do something huge, why do anything at all? BUT sometimes the little things turn out to be the things that mean the most. This year I definitely learned that! Do your best with what you have, and trust that God will take your offering and mold it into just what he wants it to be.
- Reach out to intimidating people & those who don’t fit in. I don’t know about you, but some people scare me! They seem so put-together, intelligent, and popular. However, people are people, and all people have fears and hopes and dreams and souls, and you’ll never know someone’s true self unless you reach out. Some of my closest friends now are people I was intimidated of at first. But the more I got to know them, the more I realized that we dealt with many of the same issues and faced many of the same struggles! It’s so freeing to realize how many kindred spirits really are out there ;). Also, sometimes I don’t fit in. Maybe I’m too quiet, or I don’t have the right brand-named outfits, or I’m just having an awkward day (or week…or semester…). But my friends still reached out to me even though I wasn’t the “cool” one, and it meant the world. So don’t be shy to reach out–whether it’s to someone who intimidates you or to someone who doesn’t quite fit in. I betcha you’ll find a sweet friend who has a lot to offer if you take that first step!
- PRIORITIZE. sheeshie. It’s so hard to make time for things in college! Because of this, I often ended up slacking in spending quality time alone with Jesus. Thankfully, God showers us with grace and I could see his goodness even when I wasn’t the most faithful. However, my relationship with God should be the most important thing in my world, not the least! When I realized this and began to act on it, my days got brighter and my heart felt lighter. Don’t get me wrong–it’s not like every day I read my Bible was a day for the books. But with each choice I made to set aside time to spend with my Savior (even if it was just a whispered prayer on the way to class or a quick devo before shutting off my lights for the night), our relationship grew. I couldn’t always feel it, but over time it grew deeper, just like with any relationship. In addition to prioritizing Christ, I also learned to prioritize sleep, because if I’m tired I’m a total mess. Combine lack of sleep with lack of Jesus time and I feel sorry for anybody who has to deal with me those days ;). So do your best to prioritize the important stuff, and enjoy resting in Christ’s grace for the times ya mess up.
- Be present. I was trying to decide what to write for my last point, and it’s hard because there are just so many things! How do you cram a year’s worth of musings into a blog post? But I think a lotta problems work themselves out if you’re present in the moment. I realized that when I was at school, I started thinking about how much I wanted to be at home. But when I went home for a weekend, I missed school and all the adventures I had there. When I was in class, I thought about how much fun lunch with my friends would be. But when I was at lunch, I thought about all the homework I had to get done! Clearly, this left me feeling unsatisfied all. the. time. SOOO instead of that annoying route, let’s choose to be present where God has placed us. Maybe it’s in a class that we think is boring…but who knows what beautiful truths our King wants to teach us through the lectures and work? Maybe we’re at dinner with friends and we feel like we have to finish our papers…but who knows how much the conversation might impact and bless us (and our friends)? Let’s trust Jesus and trust that he has good reasons for placing us where he does, and then let’s do our best to enjoy the spots where he’s placed us.
Love you, friends! As I mentioned earlier, drop a comment sharing what you’ve learned this past year! Isn’t it wonderful how Jesus teaches us all throughout life’s crazy seasons?!
Enjoy His joy,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” –Jesus (John 10:10)