My last blog might have been a bummer.
Okay, it WAS a bummer.
A tl;dr version: this semester has been hard for me, and it caught me off guard. My two biggest dilemmas revolved around community.
I promised that I would write on the solutions that helped me. No, not all of my problems are gone. Yeah, college is still hard. But life is hard, so you just do the best you can and pray about the rest. Here’s what helped me:
1. Schedule times to talk with friends.
Yeah, your friends have lives. Yeah, you have a life. Expecting your friends to just be able to sit down and chat any time isn’t going to work. Set times. Friendships take two people and I definitely can see that this semester; but sitting down and texting/messaging/calling a friend to ask him or her when he or she is free and setting up a time has been beneficial. We have a time to talk, we can catch up and maintain a friendship, and bonus: we have something to look forward to. I’ve found that my conversations with friends motivate me. I have to get this done so I can talk to so-and-so. When I talk to this person later, they’ll want to hear about this, so I’ll get it done. It’s a little weird and takes effort, but scheduling times to chat works.
2. Start looking for community early.
I don’t care if you’re going to a public school or a private school; you’re going to need some support and finding that can be difficult. Start looking as soon as you can.
For me, finding a church was one of my top priorities. I knew the kinds of things I wanted in a church, so I started looking before I even left home. I typed “churches in Boiling Springs, NC” and “churches in Shelby, NC” into my search bar, and went to the website of every church that was 30 minutes or less from the school. I watched sermons.I read statements of faith. I checked out ministries. I knew that if I went to every church that sounded interesting, I’d never choose one, so I narrowed my options. After visiting three churches near Gardner-Webb, I settled into a church, and I couldn’t be happier. The people there love each other, they care about their community, and they help each other in their spiritual growth. It’s a great place to be.
I also went ahead and looked into student ministries when I got to campus. I talked to the people who ran each ministry I was interested in. I tried a few out. I started Bible studies. I asked faculty members about ministries that I should check out. All of these things take effort, but they saved me so much trouble in the long run, and I’m really glad I put in the time.