Hey everyone, I’m finally back after a far too long hiatus!
For those of you who have been wondering, everything is totally fine on my end. There haven’t been any illnesses or catastrophes of any sort—that is, unless you count the absolute frustration of writers block. For a while, I have been completely stumped on the prompt I’m about to answer today. I have had plenty of problems in the past, but I wasn’t quite sure which to use. Nonetheless, after talking with my mom about it, she gave me an excellent idea:
Talk about the transition from high school to college.
As some of you know, this has been my first year out of high school and I’m currently in the process of transferring to Liberty University—a college that I believe will be the best fit for my future career. Nonetheless, before I decided on Liberty, I was attending a local college near my house—and the year of 2015 may be one of my rockiest years to this date.
For a while, I have avoided writing about the fact that I was homeschooled on this blog. I wasn’t ashamed of it, but I was worried it would conjure up stereotypes of an anti-social, socially awkward girl in her room doing math problems all day—which is far from my actual experience. Nonetheless, because I strongly believe in the process of being real and sharing your stories with others, I have recently began to write about it—especially since I believe it had an effect on my high school experience and my subsequent transition to college.
Contrary to the stereotypes, I wasn’t raised in a church—but began attending with my mom during late elementary school. Nonetheless, because many homeschool environments (though not all) are run by Christians, I’ve pretty much been in that subculture for my whole life. College was the first time I was ever in a school that lacked faith.
Because I was well aware of this, my best friend and I spent long hours talking about what college may be like and all-but planning an escape plan in the case of a God’s Not Dead scenario. When graduation night came, I felt more terrified than anything. What did the next chapter hold? What was my life going to look like? From the summer of ’16 all the way through the end of the year, I began experiencing weight gain, acne, and other physical stress syndromes.
During my time at college, I faced both internal and external conflict. I began to think about life after high school, and experience almost paralyzing fears about the future. I wondered if my unusually close friendships would survive into adulthood and if I would end up as the little personification of the crazy cat lady. I also worried about my career, missed my high school classes, and tried to figure out what the heck I wanted out of my life. I had a basic idea, but my career path changed during my time at college from teacher to journalist, subsequently affecting my degree and college choice.
At college, I was faced regularly with dramatic clashes of ideologies. I heard things that never, in a million years would have been taught in any of my high school classes. Friendship and family ties were all but mocked, prayer was seen as unimportant, an obnoxiously loud sociology teacher in the next room over taught that sex was between two or more people, and that rape was simply inconvenient, and I met a fellow classmate who was a self proclaimed witch. I felt like I had entered an alternate universe and all but emotionally shut down.
Nonetheless, as difficult as this time was for me, God managed to teach me a lot and bring good out of bad. He taught me to depend more heavily on him and open up to wise Christian friends and mentors. The more stressed, anxious, and depressed I became, the more people God brought into my life to help me. It’s easy to follow God when things are going well and you feel like you’re on top of the world, but it’s a lot harder when you feel like everything you know is crashing down all around you. This experience taught me to trust and fully lean into a God who’s a lot bigger than myself.
I also became more aware and humbled by the fact that everyone has a story—and that sometimes, we have to learn to simply love people where they’re at. It can be so easy to disregard people as some kind of giant agenda or conspiracy, but there’s always more to people than this. I learned that one of my professors, who I had a huge personality clash with had a much more difficult life than I had originally thought, and learned to have compassion through hearing their story. I also learned that the classmate who practiced wicca really wasn’t a “bad person“—just a lost one, who also had a difficult past.
Now, that season is finally behind me, and I couldn’t be more excited to start at the university I believe God is leading me to—but I don’t regret a moment of my time at my first college. I learned valuable life lessons and I believe I’ve become a stronger, more compassionate Christian and person because of it. If you’re going to college this fall for the first time, I’m not going to lie and tell you it will be easy. It will likely be a challenge—a grueling one, even—at times. But you’ll survive it, just like I did. Trust in God, lean into friends and mentors, and don’t let fear control you.
God has a plan for you even in the midst of your hardest battles.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4