This year is my junior year of college, but it’s my first year away from home; it hasn’t been all peaches and rainbows and sunshine and happiness, surprise.
I don’t think I actually thought that it would be perfect here. I knew there would be difficulties, but I didn’t really know what they would be or anything. I knew how to college already, so I didn’t figure the education part would completely knock me down, and it didn’t.
Even though college is supposed to be about your education and becoming a well-rounded individual that is prepared for a future of adulting, it’s even more than that. You’re joining a community of people, and you’re going to meet some people who are a lot like you and some that aren’t much like you at all. You’re confronted with new ideas, new atmospheres, sometimes financial challenges, moral dilemmas, stress, new friendships, and all while trying to get good grades.
I’m not falling apart, don’t get me wrong; but some aspects of this semester just caught me off guard.
The challenges that people face vary, but here are 2 of mine:
1. Losing Community Back Home
Okay, so I didn’t LOSE them. I have my friends back home. They love me and care about me and we talk. But it’s different. I’ve known a lot of people who have gone to college and they say that it’s not the same talking to someone over the phone or Skype as it is talking to them in person. I haven’t had a problem with that. I would love to talk on the phone and Skype with people from home, and I do that.
It’s funny how much less that happens than what I expected, though. My friends and I try to keep up, but we’re both busy. It’s one thing when you’re back home and you get to see each other all the time because you run in the same circles and you do the same activities. It’s like my life and the lives of my friends made up this Venn diagram, and there was a big overlapping space. Now, my friends and I still love each other, we have similar interests, and we want to communicate, but we are caught up in so much busyness. We don’t have this Venn diagram anymore; we have some circles that sit beside each other. I do keep up with people, and they try to keep up with me, but it’s really hard to keep up with friends when you are juggling everything you have going on at school, and they are juggling everything they have going on back home.
2. Finding Community at College
When you’re going through new stuff at college, it’s nice to have friends. Duh. I’ve never had trouble making friends before, and this time was no different; it was finding those right people that was so hard. I go to Gardner-Webb University, which I absolutely love. There are so many opportunities to grow in my faith, and I love the professors and environment. Some people here are actively striving to be more like Christ, and I can look at them and see it; some people want to live more like Christ, but they just don’t put in the effort; some people are just apathetic.
Back home, when you have mentors and parents and friends who know Christ and want to look like Him, it’s easier to make wise decisions when it comes to friends. Luckily, my parents taught me to be discerning and vigilant in relationships, but this time, I’m kind of on my own.
In the past year, I’ve heard a few adults say things like,”Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future!” and “You become like the five people you hang out with the most!”. And those are valuable things to understand, but there’s a lot of pressure when you are finding those friends and you’re in a community that looks different from what you’re used to.
Don’t despair, guys. I’m still figuring out this college thing, but there are some solutions. I’ll talk about those in my next blog.