As most know, I’m about to graduate college. And although this moment is bittersweet for me, I can look back on this experience, and I can tell you that I’ve learned more than I ever imagined possible. I learned more about myself, my relationship with God has been tested, and I”ve come out stronger thanks to my college experience. I could tell you a million things all future college students need to know before they pursue this adventure, but I’ll limit this to just 5 of the most important things I learned while I was in college.
5. You are now responsible for yourself.
Yep, that’s right. You are now the one who decides when you go to bed, if you do homework or not, if you go out on a date with that cute individual that asked you out, and you are even the one that decides if you go to church on Sunday morning or not. I say this all to say that your parents are no longer responsible for the decisions you make or the consequences you face for making those decisions.
I say this knowing that most of you had many decisions made for you. And whatever decisions you made, regardless of if they were the right choice or the wrong one, you very rarely received the full consequences of those choices. Sure, you got grounded or maybe even had to pay to fix the bumper of your car, and some of you were probably forced to go to church on Sunday morning regardless of if you wanted to or not, but now all of those decisions are up to you. For the rest of your life, you can do whatever and whenever, and listen to me when I tell you, you will want to make God a priority in your life. I’m not saying you need to be in church every Sunday or you’ll be damned to hell by any means, but you will need God to help you navigate through this transition period of your life, and you can’t do that if you shut Him out.
4. It is okay to not know it all.
I remember when I started college, I thought I knew everything plus some. And I soon came to realize that I didn’t know it all, and that it’s okay. I’m not just talking about school work either, but I’m talking about the big stuff, you know, like figuring out who you are. See, you think you know who you are, what you’re meant to do, and there are a few fortunate ones that know all of this exactly, but if you are anything like me, you have no idea. College was the time I took to learn who I truly am, and what all I stand for.
Living in my household, I won’t say that it was hard to have different opinions on different subjects such as political views, but it wasn’t easy. It’s hard to go against all you know. I lived in a small town with many people believing the same thing, and I didn’t know there were different kinds of people until I left home and went to college. I learned more about the differences of people within my college years than I ever did in my first 18 years of life. With that being said, there was a good bit of stuff I didn’t know, but college was the time for me to learn about them. And I still don’t know it all, but that’s okay. I’ll learn what I need to know in time.
3. Your parents still know a lot more than you think they do.
Most young high school seniors won’t admit that their parents know a lot, and back when I was a high school senior, I wouldn’t either. But as I started college I learned very quickly my parents knew better than I did most times. When I first moved out, I would call my mother for virtually everything from what kind of laundry detergent I should buy to random dating advice. And I can still say, my mother knows more than I do.
I learned throughout college, that although I didn’t need my mom’s financial help too often, I still needed her for other things. She helped me make important decisions just by listening to me, and giving me advice. And sometimes, I think this is why God gives us parents. They aren’t there just to give us embarrassing sex talks and show horrible baby photos to new boyfriends, but rather to help guide us on the next chapters of our lives. I know my mother will always know more than me, and for that, I will forever be grateful to have her.
2. College is full of challenges; this is the time you either turn to God or run from Him.
Now this one is hard for me to discuss. I can say once I moved out of my mother’s home, away from her rules, I went a little crazy. I did not know what to do with the freedom. I went to parties, made new friends, and did many questionable things. For the first two years of my college career, I can say that I was less strict on myself about spending time with God, and I, in all honesty, threw God to the side. I always said I would work on my relationship with Him later. And this thinking caused the Lord and I to grow apart, for me to fall apart. When I started attending my university, living in an apartment on my own, I hit rock bottom.
Although I had great grades and amazing friends, I wasn’t happy. I was doing things that weren’t right. I was dating the wrong guys, and I knew I was slipping away and the devil was winning. I found myself faced with challenges that I had no idea how to deal with. I found myself in situations that I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be in, and it took me a while to realize that God was calling for me, but I was refusing Him. And it took me a while after I realized this to open the door God was knocking on.
But once I did, things got better. I was no longer placing myself in situations I didn’t want to be in. I wasn’t allowing myself to be unhappy with who I was, and that’s all because I chose to listen and work on my relationship with God. And let me tell you, if you one day find yourself in that situation, the Lord will and does fight for you, everyday. All you have to do is lean on Him and let Him help you.
1.It is okay if you have no idea what your purpose is when your college ride is over.
I’m fixing to graduate, and let me tell you, I have no idea what I’m called to do with my life. I started my studies in my degree for a career I thought I wanted to do, but throughout this last year in my college career, I’ve questioned if this is what I am called to do. And in all honesty, I still don’t know. And that’s okay.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
You will face many challenges, and you will sometimes wonder if you chose the right career path for yourself, and it is okay to question it. Just remember, the Lord has a plan, and sometimes it may not be what you wish for, but it will be beautiful and wonderful for you.
Enjoy your college years, because they fly by fast. You will learn more about yourself than you imagined possible, and you’ll make memories that you’ll be thankful for. It will be an amazing journey, and just remember, God will always be with you.