Today I’m getting on a plane and heading to Europe. It’s crazy to think I’m going on my third year of college and have this opportunity to travel on this grand adventure. I have not a single fear or anxiety in my heart as I embark on this journey because God has been so present in everything…
But I wasn’t always this confident. Three short years ago going into my freshman year I was a mess. I didn’t know a single soul, I was an introvert dreading being forced out of my comfort zone, and I was so scared I would never meet my people. God provided so so abundantly in my first year of college and I want to share some tips with those of you who are going off to your first year of college, first year of college, or honestly any new unknown.
- Enter in: Go to all the weird community events even if you don’t know a single person. Don’t be afraid to be standing alone in a room full of people talking because odds are you aren’t the only one. Don’t be afraid to hang out with people that aren’t your normal crowd – give people a chance they might surprise you! You might be the craziest introvert in the world but I promise you if you force yourself to get out there the first week while being at school you won’t regret it.
- Press Into the Loneliness: You will be lonely. It might not be right away or it might be the first whole semester. Do not be afraid or hate the loneliness. Take it as a time to enter into a deeper relationship with God. My first semester of school I had a couple of friends but I still felt lonely so much of the time. After being so known by friends and family it was hard to go to a new place where people didn’t just know me and know my story. I spent so much time in the chapel having breakfast and coffee with Jesus or spending my nights in there when I was feeling lonely. Trust that Jesus will provide you with the friend group He desires for you – I waited for mine and I wouldn’t have changed the timing for anything in the world.
- Leave Bad Situations: This may seem like a given but I promise you this – you will find yourself at least once in any freshmen year with a group of people or in a situation that you realize you should not be a part of. Ask God to give you the courage to just leave. My best friend and I started in different groups and she found herself in a group living a totally different lifestyle than she desired and she left immediately. It may be embarrassing or humbling in the moment but it is worth it. You might be lonely for a week or two as you work to make new friends but it is better than being with people who go against what you believe in.
- Choose Joy: In every moment choose joy. This doesn’t mean don’t allow yourself to feel sadness or feel loneliness but in everything choose joy over despair. You will not be alone forever, you will find people who love and understand you, you will pass that class, things will work out. Freshmen years are hard for everyone – you are not alone. But if you choose joy then people will be drawn to you and you might just encourage others to do the same. Be a light for people on your campus.
Your heavenly Father loves you and is with you in every moment. Do not be afraid. It just might turn out to be some of the best years of your life.