I grew up in the church. Every week my parents took me to church, and sometimes I enjoyed it, while other times I did not. As I got older, I began to enjoy it more and wanted to go to church (especially youth group). When I left home for college, I knew I wanted to find an organization that allowed me to further grow my faith during school. This searching and desire in my heart led me to the University of Arkansas Wesley Foundation. Allow me to tell you about it, and why I am so thankful I found it.
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It's pretty freaking hard.
“I can work nights and weekends, I'm a student," you told the manager during your interview.
So, what does he do? He schedules you most nights and weekends. This is OK. This is, after all, what you asked for. So you start working.
Class, class, work. Class, work. Class, no work tonight, you sleep and it feels like the first time in years. Class, homework, homework, homework. Class, class, work.
Before you know it, it's the weekend. There's a party. Your friend wants to see you. Your mom is calling you to see how you are.
But you are working all weekend.
You call your mom on your half hour break. She tells you are doing too much. She tells you that you should work less. Ask for less hours. Sleep more. Eat more. You will get sick.
You get out of work Friday night around 11 p.m. There is still so much night left!! You try to hit up that party. Sure, you will show up a little late, but at least you will make an appearance. At least you will get to see some of your friends. At least you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself. At least you will be able to have some fun. By the time you get ready and get there, people begin leaving. You begin to wonder why you came out in the first place.
“I'm sorry, I've been at work" becomes an all-too-familiar phrase.
But, but, but.
You really deserve a pat on the back, so here it is.
You've given up a lot. And you work crazy hard. Those long nights and hours are hard. A lot of kids your age don't work and rely solely on your parents. But you, you have taken it upon yourself to earn some money for yourself. You are a full-time student, and most of your free time goes toward working and supporting yourself.
You truly do not get the appreciation that you deserve.
But when you do get some time to go out, when you request a weekend off, you have some money to spend. You are never the guy who can't go out because they don't have enough money.
And of course, you will start saving. This is huge. You're going to graduate in debt (probably), and because you busted your butt during school and saved up, putting a crack in that debt will be a little easier for you.
You are a forward thinker, whether you realize it or not.
You are building responsibility, money management, and self-reliance skills, whether you realize it or not.
You are quite mature for your age, whether you realize it or not.
AND YOU deserve a pat on the back. So here it is.
You're incredible. You're amazing. Go get 'em.
Seriously, take a second to congratulate yourself for all your hard work.
And whatever you do, get some sleep, kid. And remember, don't work yourself too hard. Just hard enough so that you feel good, and rewarded, and happy.
You're the man. Keep killin' it, dude. Keep killin' it.
College was the start of a series of rejections for me. Nothing high school taught me could have prepared me for it. Day after day it seemed like I was getting shut down. I auditioned for the Redcoat Marching Band, and didn't make it in. I auditioned for the Mock Dawgs, and didn't make it in. I applied to and interviewed for different jobs and organizations, and most of them were no's. I'm still getting no's to this day. I had spent the last four years in high school getting everything I wanted. I was the best of the best, but not anymore. Not in college.
I couldn't understand why I wasn't good enough for these things. I deserved these things. Or I thought I did. Truth is, I didn't. Not in the slightest. But whether or not I deserved them wasn't the question. The question was why I didn't get them. I had to force myself to take a step back. Ask myself why I didn't have a good audition or interview, and use that knowledge to better myself. Ask myself why I wanted this so bad. Was it something I wanted just for the title? Just to build relationships? Or was it really my passion? Nine times out of ten a rejection told me something about myself, and made me a better person. I learned a lot of myself with every "no" thrown my way. I learned that yes, I love playing music, but more as a hobby. I learned that I was not ready to hold certain leadership positions. I learned how to be open and honest with not only others, but myself, about what I need in my life.
I'm sure you've all heard the saying "when one door closes another door opens". I know I have. And like most of you probably have, I just brushed it to the side. My freshman year of college is where a bunch of doors started closing, and that's when I truly began to understand the meaning. Looking back, everything that I thought I wanted to join would've taken up too much time in my schedule. I probably would've ended up hating things that I now love. I wouldn't have had the time to be in the things I'm in now, the things I love now. One "no" just a few months ago led me down a path to bigger and better things. Rejection to the things I thought I wanted was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I thought I knew it all. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew who I was going to be friends with and what activities I would be involved in. I couldn't have been more wrong, but I also couldn't be happier about it.