Some Lessons From College: What I’ve Learned So Far

Last week, I started my first day back to college for the fall semester—after a summer that flew by way too fast.It was also my first day of my third year of college, which feels funny to say, considering the fact that it seems like just yesterday that I started my first year as a nervous and excited college freshman.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot. About myself. About life. About my faith. And though I still have a long ways off until I graduate, I feel led to share about what I’ve learned so far, and my personal journey as a Christian college student. Hopefully, if any of you are going into college, or in the midst of the insanity of college life, you’ll find this post insightful and helpful!

So, without further ado…here is my list on how to survive as a Christian college student! 

  1. Find a community of believers who share your faith – This is so important y’all. I cannot emphasis this point enough. As Christians, we weren’t meant to do life alone. This is a point that’s emphasized time and time again in Scripture, and through the example of the early church in Acts 2:42-47. Furthermore, Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”                    Depending on the college that you’re attending, there is a very good chance that you’re going to be a minority in your faith. Even if you’re going to a Christian college, it is a good idea to get plugged into a smaller club/Bible study/church where you can meet people on a more intimate scale. College life can get pretty hard, but it is so much easier when you have a solid group of Christians in your circle to do life with.
  2. Stay close to God This is an important one for any stage of life, but when you’re in college, it takes on a whole new urgency. College is a time filled with changes. Odds are, you’re probably going to change your major at some point, and a lot of people even change their career path during college. You will probably also have a lot of changes to your schedule and sometimes, even your state. This can be pretty hard for a lot of people (especially if you’re and ENFJ like me!) and staying close to God will give you the security and solid ground that you’ll need to endure these changes. College can be a time for real growth in our faith, but if we don’t actively pursue God through prayer and Bible reading, it can be all too easy to miss out on the lessons that He is trying to teach us.
  3. Ask Questions – For many people, college is a time when people really start thinking about what they believe and why. Many Christians see this as a bad thing—but it doesn’t have to be. I have learned so much through the questions that I’ve dared to ask and the answers that I have found. I would never detour someone from asking hard questions about their faith – because there is no question too big for God to answer. So dare to ask questions and think critically about the world around you. Read books. Listen to lectures. Engage with your faith and make it your own. Asking questions doesn’t mean your losing your faith – it means that you’re growing in it.
  4. Life probably isn’t going to go as planned…and that’s OK – When I got to college, I thought I knew exactly what my plan was. I was going to do two years at a local community college and than transfer to one of my state’s universities. I was going to major in teaching or psychology and than become a teacher. I was going to work at one part-time job all through college. However, when I actually got to college, everything changed. I still am taking classes at the local community college, but rather than going to the university I was planning on, God led me to get my bachelors’ through Liberty University Online with a double major in Linguistics and Theology. I still am working towards becoming a teacher, but there was a journalism detour along the way. And I did get that part time job—but it closed down a few months after I started working there—leading me to a brief office internship and later, to a position at a different store in the same mall. Long story short, nothing turned out the way I thought it would. But God’s plan was better than my plan (isn’t it always?). And now, as chaotic as it was, I’m thankful for every experience that God has given me.
  5. Stay true to your convictions – In college, you’re probably going to meet people who live pretty differently than you. That’s almost inevitable. And as we probably all know, sex, drugs, and alcohol aren’t exactly a rarity on most college campuses. But as a Christ-follower, you have the power within you to stand against temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.Through Christ’s power within us, we can stand courageously against peer pressure and the attacks of the enemy – and dare to live original and be a light in a world surrounded by darkness.
  6. Study what interests you – In college, we have an opportunity like never before to study the subjects that we find interesting. You need electives for your degree anyways, so why not take the time to study things that you care about? You want to become a better communicator? Take a public speaking class! You want to improve in your creative writing skills? Do it! You want to learn more about politics and policy in America? Go for it! You’re only in college once, so take full advantage of the opportunities that God has placed in front of you!
  7. Schedule, schedule, SCHEDULE! – If there’s one thing that any college student will tell you, it’s that time is valuable because in college, you don’t have a lot of it! Between part-time jobs, classes, and church activities, your schedule is going to be full! The good thing is, if you’re careful to plan out your time, you can usually get everything done with some free time still available. Make a to-do-list, or get a daily planner. Prioritize, and decide what’s important and what you can do without. In the words of a quote I found online, “You gotta make it a priority to make your priorities a priority.”*
  8. Have a healthy view of your GPA – Grades are super important in college. Many of us know this and have been preparing all through high school to succeed in college. And for those of us aiming to get into a post-bachelors program, the pressure is all the more real. However, never let your grades define you. There is so much more to life than getting that A+ on your exam or making the dean’s list. You have inherent worth as a Child of God that is not rooted in your grade point average—and there is nothing that you can do to change that! So work hard and study hard, but never put your grades in the place where God should be.
  9. Find Godly mentors – 1 Peter 5:5-7 says, “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”[aHumble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.Having godly Christian mentors is such a blessing, and I am grateful to all of the older women who have spoken into my life through my transition from high school to college. I would highly recommend finding someone (or a couple of someones) who can speak into your life, and help you through the ups and downs of college life.
  10. Have fun – You’re only in college once, and one day, your going to look back on these days as a faint memory in your rearview mirror. Make them count, and take advantage of the blessings and opportunities that God has placed before you.
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My first day of college back in 2016.
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My first day of college this year.

How about you? Do you have any advice that you would give someone in college? Or any experiences from your own college days that you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below! 

*This quote is by Riche Norton, whoever he is.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

Good news everyone, I just got nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Juni Desiree from Sapphire Life Writer! Her blog is awesome and I would totally recommend checking it out!

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.

Here are the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you
Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you
Nominate 11 other bloggers for this award
Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated
Notify the bloggers you nominated

Now, without further ado…The Questions! 

What has been the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in your life?

I’ve honestly learned a lot of things over the course of my life, but the biggest one would probably be to trust God. As I wrote about in a recent post, I struggle with wanting everything to happen my way and in my time. Nonetheless, I’ve found that when you trust God, he can make even your craziest dreams come true in a way that’s better than you ever could have imagined. And, when he closes a door, there’s probably a really good reason.
What song has impacted you the most and why?

Hmm, this is another hard one, but I’d have to say Ready Or Not by Britt Nicole. I first heard it in the 9th grade and at the time, I was pretty shy and still searching for myself. Her song encouraged me to live confidently and not be afraid to speak up and let my light shine for God. Her other songs have also been really encouraging and her albums were pretty much the soundtrack of my high school years.
What movie has impacted you the most and why?

At different points in my life, different movies have impacted me. In middle school, my favorite movies were Soul Surfer and The Left Behind movies, because they encouraged me in my faith. I was a new Christian in middle school and movies like those helped me to solidify my faith. In my freshman year of high school, I saw the movie Lemonade Mouth for the first time, which encouraged me to use my voice and be more confident. Currently, I’d have to say the God’s Not Dead movies, as they all speak about being a Christian in a non-Christian environment, something that I’m experiencing for the first time this year.
What book has impacted you the most and why?

There are a lot of books I could mention here, but I’m going to go with the Sunday School answer: The Bible. The Bible is sort of my manual in doing this thing we call life. Because it has so many accounts and so many different lessons, different parts of it relate to me at different points in my life. Recently, I was talking with my pastor’s wife and she noted that my situation with college was a little like Daniel in the king’s palace. I had never thought of it that way before, but I now find that account relatable in my own life. I have also been leaning heavily into passages about being “strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9) and “trusting in the Lord” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
What quote do you resonate most with?

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis. There are a lot of quotes that I like, but as I’ve grown in my faith, I feel this one to be more and more true every day. My faith informs so much for me that to take it out would leave my life a fragmented mess. It informs everything from my dreams, to my views, to my perception of life itself. It is also the common thread that ties otherwise very different personalities and lives together – something I find very cool.

What are your 10 most important core values?

  1. Faith in God
  2. Respect and love for people
  3. Staying true to myself
  4. A good work ethic
  5. The importance of family and friends
  6. Having a purpose in life
  7. Loyalty
  8. Courage
  9. Helping those in need
  10. Living out my faith

How can you most help others best at this time in your life?

Probably through helping out at different charity organizations and donating to charities like Salvation Army and Operation Christmas Child (Yes, my mind is already on Christmas).
If you could only write one book in your life and were guaranteed to succeed in it, what would you write?

I truly wish this said series, but since it’s saying only one book, I’m going to have to say the first book of a series that I’m writing. I don’t want to say too much about it online before it’s published (Hopefully by the end of my college career) but it’s about a group of teenagers at a local church youth group and how their lives impact one and other. I’ve already finished the first book, and I managed to incorporate some of my core values into it and tell a story that I believe will inspire people. It’s my dream to see it on a bookshelf one day.
What do you want to be known for?

The short answer is, I want to be known for sharing my faith with others and inspiring others to live confidently in Christ. When people know God and live for Him through their own lives, personalities, and situations, amazing things can happen. The more technical answer is that I want to be a writer. My goal is to go into professional journalism, become a successful author, and publish my song lyrics (I’ve already written a lot). I want to leave my mark through writing things that will inspire others and make the world a better place.
And taking this opportunity to possibly get some help with the book I’m working on: what message of encouragement would you give to survivors of sexual abuse?

Your life is worth living. You were not created for someone else’s pleasure at your expense. You were created to do big things and God isn’t finished with you yet. He has a purpose in your life, and you have to keep moving forward. What happened wasn’t your fault – you were a victim. But, you won’t always be a victim. You can and will rise above this.

Now, the new nominees are

Saved By Grace 2009

Dainty M. 

Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Nora Elkins 

Julian For Jesus 

Passion and Pixels 

Concealed Foundation 

Papberry 

Mandie’s World  

Ever Changing In Christ Jesus 

Unfiltered Freckles 

And the new questions are…

  1. What is your testimony? How did you find God, or if you were raised Christian, when did it really feel real for you? 
  2. What has God been teaching you lately? 
  3. What is your biggest dream? 
  4. What is one quirk you have that you don’t mind sharing? 
  5. Where do you see yourself five years from now? 
  6. What do you believe the purpose of life is? 
  7. What is one piece of advice would you give your younger self? 
  8. What has 2016 been characterized by for you? What things stand out about this year? 
  9. What was your hometown or the city you grew up in like? 
  10. What have those closest to you taught you about life? 
  11. What was a defining moment for you? 

 

When Questions Consume

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ― Voltaire

I’m a questioner—I have been since I was a child. I was one of those excessively curious kids who would ask questions about everything. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why is the grass green” “Why do birds fly but people can’t?” Not sure whether these were ever my exact questions but you get the picture. Obviously I’ve out grown those questions, but in there place are more complicated ones—ones that can’t get immediate answers.

Some of my questions are about theology. I’m kind of a Bible geek and stuff that intersects theology with the lives of human beings fascinates me. I regularly read magazines like RELEVANT and Christianity Today and have spent heaps of time researching random current issues in relation to the Bible. The only problem is that sometimes I end up with more questions than answers. The Bible covers most topics, but what about the ones that it doesn’t address or is unclear about? What do we do then?

Other questions are more immediate—questions about my own life and future. Will I be able to find a job? Will I be able to break into the writing industry? Will I fulfill all of my dreams? Will I end up lonely? Will I have a roommate? If so, than who? These questions can be simply maddening at times! As someone who is kind of obsessed with fiction, I find myself watching movies, TV shows, and reading books to try to get an accurate picture of adult life6356388427610595271282450916_969748_10103227871636285_1801255318_n-1.jpg
Here’s what I’ve found over the years—questions aren’t bad! Questioning something about your faith doesn’t mean you’ve lost it. Questioning something about the future doesn’t mean you don’t have faith. You want to know what it means? It means you’re human! Congratulations on surviving as an earthing! You have a pulse!

All jokes aside, God wants you to bring all of that before Him. Matthew 11: 28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I think sometimes it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have to have it all together before we come to Jesus. I’ll be honest, if that was the truth than I’d be in trouble—because I don’t have it together! I’m just one young college student trying to figure out this rapidly spinning world. And, if you’re experience is anything like mine, you probably also don’t have everything together. You probably have doubts and questions of your own, and that’s OK!

The key is to be honest—with God and with each other. God gave us family and friends for a reason! It’s OK to open up sometimes—in doing so we become a bit more human and a bit more connected. We weren’t meant to keep everything inside and try to look perfect—we were meant to be real! Real messy, real transparent, and real people!

We may not be perfect, but God is! We may not have it all together, but God does! And, He’s big enough to handle any questions, doubts or fears that we have.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” Hebrews 1:3-4

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Liebster Award #3

Guess what everyone? I was recently nominated for a Liebster by Only Way 2 Hope! She has an awesome blog so be sure to check it out! I’m very honored to have won and it makes me happy to know that others are reading/enjoying this blog.

For this Liebster, you have to 

  1. Acknowledge the blogger that nominated you
  2. Answer the questions they asked.
  3. Nominate 10 bloggers with under 200 followers
  4. Inform the bloggers you have nominated them
  5. Post 10 questions for them to answer

Now, without further ado…the questions! 

1. Who is the most admirable person in your life?

My mom. She manages to juggle a lot and still always has time to hang out with me.

2.  What is your favorite color?

Probably blue.

3. Do you agree with the laws in today’s society?

I agree with most, such as the laws that prohibit theft and murder. But, there are some things that I don’t personally believe should be legal (alcohol, cigarettes, etc.).

4. Where do you think you will be in 10 years?

Hopefully a published author and lyricist and maybe doing something in journalism. Also, I should actually have a license by then…

5. Who is your hero?

Jesus, because He died to save me from my sins.

6. Who is your favorite superstar?

I honestly don’t have one…I used to listen to Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift a lot but I haven’t really followed their recent albums.

7. What activities are you most involved in?

Mostly writing, although I do also enjoy singing and acting.

8. What made you become a writer?

I absolutely love reading and storytelling. I read constantly as I kid and figured out at a pretty young age that I want to write books someday.

9. What is your dream home?

The truth? Living in an apartment with all of my friends on the same floor. Basically the Friends TV show setup. 😂

10. What city would you love to visit?

I’d like to visit New York City someday. It always looks really cool in movies and pictures!

Now for the new nominees! 

Kenzi In The City 

Kewrites 

Transformed Girl 

Adopting Star 

Blessed Brunette Believer

Worshiping A King 

Along The Way 

Where The Wind Blows 

Duttyo’s Weblog 

Inspiring Passion For Jesus Christ 

Please answer the same questions that I did and keep up the good work with your awesome blogs! 👍

 

The Liebster Award #2

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Big news guys, I have just been nominated for the Liebster award by my friend Papberry! I’m super honored to have won this award and I can’t wait to nominate some of my awesome readers! 😉

The rules are

  1. Answer the 11 questions you are provided with by the person who nominated you.
  2. Nominate 11 new bloggers who have less than 500 followers.
  3. Post the Liebster award to your blog.

The questions are

1. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?

Hmm, I’ve had a lot of funny things happen to me. One that sticks out in particular is a time a time involving a squirrel and a cupcake. I threw the wrapper away (Which still had some icing and crumbs in it) and watched a squirrel retrieve it from the garbage can. He began eating the icing out of it, and the more he ate, the faster he licked the icing remnants, as if he had a a sudden energy boost. His tail began twitching at rapid speed and he seemed to be completely loving that cupcake. Watching a squirrel on a sugar high is definitely an experience that sticks out. 😂

2. What is your dream job?

A writer. You can read more about that here

3. What is your favorite song and why?

I have a lot of songs that I love, but one that seems to stand out right now is Fight Song by Rachel Platten 

4. Do you have any pets and if so what are they like?
Yes, I have a cat named Precious. I got her when I was seven. 🐱 Here’s a picture of her, if you want to see.

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5. Are you a night owl or early bird? How early do you wake up or how late do you stay up?
Not really either, honestly. I’m definitely more of a night owl than an early bird though, as I’m barely coherent first thing in the morning. I usually go to bed around 10:45 and during the summer, wake up anytime between 7:00-9:00.  

6. When you were little did you have imaginary friends? What were they like?
Yes, there was a bunny named Fluffy and a yellow monster named Cutie Pie. Don’t judge. 😂🙈 

7. What is your favorite food? And your favorite dessert?
For food, probably pizza or french fries (I know, real healthy favorites, right?) and for dessert, probably cake. 

8. What are your beliefs?

I like Papberry’s answers, so I’m using those.
I believe in God, creator of the universe and everything it entails.
I believe in the trinity; God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the Holy Book(Bible)
I believe in love
I believe in hardwork
I believe in friendship
I believe in grace
I believe in Favor
I believe in change
I believe in second chance

9. What are the things you stand for?

Jesus

Making a difference 

Making wise choices

Being a good friend 

Leaving a legacy

Sharing my faith 

10. What is the most important character trait in someone?

Hmm, I think I’m going to have to go with Papberry’s answer and say humility. So many other character traits are encompassed in that one. 

11. Who is your role model in life?

I admire a lot of people, but Jesus is my ultimate role model.

The new nominees are

Dainty M.

Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Sapphire Life Writer 

Saved By Grace 2009

TheyeofBarbie

Mandie’s World 

Julian For Jesus 

TIMI

Concealed Foundation 

Out Loud 1142

Cherry Drop Princess 

Please answer the same questions that I did and keep up the awesome work on your blogs! 😊