"These will be the best four years of your life!" A phrase many of us have heard and even said. Well, I'm here to be honest; they're also four of the most difficult.
Sometimes, college life is overwhelming. Not only do we college students have to just worry about the actual school part--which in itself is incredibly challenging and exhausting--but we feel a pressure to also be involved in five clubs, hold down a job, tutor, volunteer, be fully present in our relationships at school, keep up with all of our friends and family back home, constantly be building up our resumes, and always be on top of our social game.
And somehow, the majority of us do a pretty great job at acting like we're always fine.
But the secret truth?
Sometimes, we really struggle.
I think back to the person I was when I was applying to different universities, and I barely recognize that girl. I was adorably naive. I thought that because I did well in high school, college would be a breeze. I thought life would look just like the photos posted in all of my friends' "[insert college here] year 1!!" albums on Facebook. But what I wasn't prepared for was the barrage of difficulties and questions.
You will doubt yourself more than you ever have in your life. You will feel incredibly insecure. You will question your beliefs and doubt God's goodness in your life. You will struggle with learning how to prioritize your time. You will truly begin to understand what "exhaustion" means. You will constantly experience FOMO. You will feel a constant pressure to always be doing something productive. You will miss home (a shocker to those who have never experienced homesickness before, like myself). You will do the things you love less to make more time for the things you have to do.
And now, looking back, all I can wonder is why nobody shared the truth with me about everything that college holds... not just the pretty aspects. Of course, nobody is lying when they talk about the amazing things that happen. Without a doubt, these four years will hold some of your most treasured/hilarious/beautiful/proud moments. But, the extremes go in both directions.
So, if you're like me and find yourself dealing with things no one else seems to be talking about...
Sometimes, you have to learn how to ask for help.
The only way to fully realize you're not alone in your issue is to be vulnerable enough to let other people in. No one can relate to your secret problem, and once you finally bring your issues into the light, you'll find that other people need your honesty to realize they aren't alone.
Sometimes, you just have to put one foot in front of the other.
You have to find a way to keep moving when fear and uncertainty are keeping you frozen in place.
Maybe you're going through a hard time right now. If so...
You're stronger than you know. You are built to thrive in the harshest of conditions; you'll be surprised at how resilient and adaptable we intrinsically are.
Even when you freeze when the teacher cold-calls on you in class, or you blow your huge presentation worth a quarter of your grade, or you realize two minutes into your bio test that you're screwed, or you fall short in being consistent and intentional in your relationships, or you stress-eat an entire pack of Oreos, or you miss that important deadline, or you feel the strongest sense of loneliness, or you feel like you're drowning in responsibility/insecurity/anxiety, keep pressing on.
You will make it through, and pretty soon, the things that seem to matter more than anything else in the world will grow strangely dim and insignificant. You'll grow into a new perspective and be able to look at the past with fresh eyes.
Hold onto hope, and don't you dare give up. You've made it this far, and you will make it through. I promise.