"These will be the best four years of your life."
Dear Little sis,
About halfway through the first semester of my freshman year of college, I was beginning to feel like I had been lied to. When you talk to people about their college experience, many will tell you how great their time in college was. They’ll talk fondly of clubs they joined, or fun classes they got to take, but they often forget to mention the difficult times they had. One thing in particular they leave out is the first semester of college…the adjustment period.
One of the most common phrases I heard from graduates was, “these will be the best four years of your life.” In some ways they’re right because when we look back at our time in college it’s easy to only remember the good times. What people should really say is, “you have the potential to make these the best four years of your life.”
I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to feel like I did my first semester. I called my mom multiple times in tears. I thought about transferring schools, and overall I felt like a failure. It even came to the point where I thought college might not be for me, and that’s crazy! It does get better ladies, I promise. It just takes time.
Why is the beginning so hard?
First semester is hard because you’re faced with a lot of changes all at one time. I was adjusting to life with a roommate. I had to learn how to study for college classes, how to manage my time on my own, how to do my own laundry, how to make friends, join clubs, find a church, choose healthy options in the dining hall, the list could go on and on. So do you see what I’m saying? That’s a lot of stuff for one person to have to manage all at once.
It’s okay to struggle at first, but it’s not okay to not do anything about it. My number one problem was I put too much pressure on myself to create a college experience like the ones everyone told me about. When I let go of that nagging voice telling me I should be having a great time, I was able to see my situation wasn’t so bad after all. I had been given the opportunity to make new friends, people I get to choose to surround myself with. I have always been passionate about writing, and Clemson has numerous opportunities for me to express that.
So, what do we do about it?
My number one tip to all my little sisters out there about to embark on their college journey, or those of you who are still struggling to experience those “best years”, would be to make your college experience your own. If it sucks, it sucks, and if it’s the best time in your life then yay for you, but each and every one of you is unique and wonderfully made. The past few years of my life I have turned to God for almost all of my problems and a wonderful mentor of mine gave me this piece of advice: “God has a plan for you and if you let go of control and stop telling Him what college is “supposed” to be like, then He will have room to show you an even better path than your heart could’ve ever imagined.”
Moment by moment you will piece together your college story, and no matter what the story is filled with, it’s yours to tell. Just don’t forget you also have the power to help write it. College is only four years, that’s such a tiny part of our entire lives. If those four years suck, remember you still have an entire life to live!
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This bible verse is one of my favorites to turn to when I feel like giving up on college. God wants me to prosper and He provides me with the hope I need to move forward and continue writing my story. He doesn’t tell us it’ll be easy, but He says be patient, have hope.
My Prayer for you:
You know better than anyone the true struggle of being in unfamiliar territory. You have a plan for each of us God, and I can’t thank you enough for that. It can be scary sometimes to see where Your plans are taking us. We often think we know what’s best for us, especially when others are telling us exactly how we should be living. But the truth is, God, we don’t know, and neither does anyone else. Help remind us to turn to You in our moments of weakness, but also in our moments of strength. Fill our hearts with the hope we need to follow You and remain on the path You see for us. Your path, no matter how difficult, is always the best one for us Lord. College can be lonely at first, but God I pray that you always remind these girls that they’re never alone for, “the lord our God goes with us, he will never leave us,” (Dueteronomy 31:6).