College: Where you learn how to write a 10 page paper 3 hours before it is due, live off Ramen for a week, and survive on -37 hours of sleep.
College is a fun time don’t get me wrong. So many of my best memories have been while I’ve been in college. I have said this before to my friends, but I like to describe college as the best and the worst time of my life. This seems like they would contradict each other, but in actuality this perfectly describes my college experience thus far.
I am a Junior at the moment, so I cannot say I have successfully survived college, but I definitely have learned a few things here and there these past 3 years. There were so many lessons I wanted to write about for this blog post, but I condensed it down to 10 things I have learned while in college. Lets get into it:
1. Step out of your comfort zone
Yes, we are starting off with a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. My first semester of Freshman year I was a recluse. I didn’t meet new people, I saw no need to go in the common room, and Netflix became my best friend. My roommate would always invite me to hang out with her friends on the hall but I would always decline the offer. Why? Because meeting new people was out of my comfort zone. I didn’t have a large friend group in high school so meeting what seemed like a million people at once was overwhelming. When people asked me to come out in the common room, I always came up with excuses like “I’m an introvert” or “I have a lot of work to do.” Little did I know that I truly was just a scared little extrovert who didn’t know how to make friends.
Stepping out of your comfort zone hard. Trust me, I KNOW! I like creating a safe space for myself, but then I have to be careful because I find myself staying in the safe space I created for myself and not exploring the possibilities around me. Creating a safe space is necessary, but it is only necessary for a limited amount of time. We outgrow them quicker than we realize. You come to college to learn and grow, but you won’t accomplish this if you stay in the bubble you created for yourself.
There is a quote by a man named Benjamin Mee that talks about courage and what can happen when you step out of your comfort zone. It goes: “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Give yourself 20 seconds of courage. Sign up for that club. Switch that major. Ask the girl out. 20 seconds of insane courage can change everything.
2. Your friend group will change
Your friend group will alter and change each year you are at college. Yes, there will be people you meet Freshman year that will stick with you until the end of time. My friends Grant and Greta who I wrote about in my last blog post are two great examples of that. I met Grant a few times in my first semester of Freshman year but we really became friends second semester, and Greta was my Community Group Leader second semester Freshman year. It’s been almost 3 years but we are closer friends now than we ever have been before.
However, I would also like to point out that the majority of my friends from Freshman year (and Sophomore year for that matter) have gone on to do their own thing and we barely, if at all, see each other now. And you know what? That’s okay. I used to get so torn up about friend groups changing and separating, but once I changed my perspective, everything got so much better. Before I saw it as me loosing friends and never finding new ones as good as the ones I was loosing, but I realized that I had those friends in my life for a reason and for a specific season. Freshman year Lindsey is nothing like Junior year Lindsey. As you change as a person, so will your friend group. But think of it this way: the more friends you make in your college years the more connections you will have in and after college. You will find your ride or die friend group but it will take you meeting a lot of people in order to find those people.
3. Counseling can be just as important as going to the gym
There is so much I could talk about in this category! I am very passionate about mental health and stopping the stigma that surrounds it, but I will keep this condensed and dive deeper into this subject in future blog posts.
Counseling never crossed my mind when I came to college. In fact, I used to have a very negative outlook on it. I used to think those who went to counseling either had major issues or who just sucked at handling normal, everyday life. Boy was I SO wrong about that! I quickly came to the realization that counseling can be the very tool someone needs to work through anything, whether that be a small mental hurtle or a huge life change (hello college).
If you are like how I used to be and struggle to see the good that can come out of counseling, I want to share with you something that definitely shifted my perspective. You go to the gym to improve your body. You eat healthy foods to make sure your body is given the nutrients it desires. You put on lotions and creams to make sure your skin is healthy. You take vitamins and supplements to give your body the things it is lacking. We do all these things to make us quote unquote “healthy”, but none of these things mean anything if we are not taking care of our brain. Our brain literally controls everything about our physical body. It tells us when to wake up, when to go to sleep, what feels good, what we need to stay away from, how our relationships will unfold, how we perceive love, and SO much more. If we are not taking care of what could be described as the main control center for our physical body, everything else is just a temporary fix. Does your relationship with Christ have a factor in all this? Oh, absolutely! I believe those two things go hand in hand, but that is a topic for a later time. You may still be wary about counseling, but you can never fully create an official option about counseling until you try it out for yourself. As someone who went to counseling for almost 2 years, I am a witness to the beauty that can come of it.
4. Its going to be okay
You didn’t get into the program you wanted. That sucks. But it’s going to be okay. God shuts doors so better ones can be opened.
The relationship you wanted to happen didn’t pan out. That is a hurt that hits so deep your own chest seems to ache. But, honey, I am here to tell you that you are going to find the one that pursues you for who you are and not the perfect version of yourself. You are going to meet someone that wants to serve you and who wants to take you home to meet the family. You are valuable and worth dying for, and anyone who treats you less than that is not deserving of your heart.
The finances you needed didn’t come this month. Do you think God got you this far without already having a plan? He hasn’t left you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He knows what you need and he will sustain you.
5. Find time for Jesus
This point is the most important one of them all. If you take away anything from this post, please understand how important it is to find time to have one-on-one time with Jesus. You may have a quiet time routine set in place while in high school, but I can promise you that college will challenge, if not completely change, you quiet time. If you don’t make Jesus a priority in your life now, it will just get harder and harder to find time in the future.
Please hear me out. I am preaching to the choir when it comes to having quiet time with Jesus. This is something that I have always struggled with. I will go through phases where I am reading my Bible every day, and then I will go through phases where I haven’t even read a Bible verse in months. I am not perfect, however I know that even in my seasons of running, Jesus is still waiting for me. And even though I may not pick up my Bible in weeks, I am still able to see God’s grace and mercy through so many other parts of my life. This isn’t an excuse to not have quiet time; but it is proof that Jesus is woven into every part of our lives and it takes quiet time with Him to see those threads in our lives.
Like I said above, there is so much more I could have written in this post, but I chose to keep it a little bit more condensed. College is a crazy time but it is worth every cent paid and every hour dedicated to your work. There are many uncertainties when it comes to college, but the one thing that is certain is that you are going to have endless experiences that will change and challenge you.