Community: Get One

Community: Get One

Why finding a community in college should be the number one priority on your to-do list.
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Community: we all have one, we all want one, and we all need one. Whether you're 7 or 17 years old, we all desire to have a group of people we can turn to in any situation. However, after a semester of college, I realized that the community I would be surrounding myself with wasn't just there for me to turn to in the good and the bad; they were there to influence me, my choices, and my faith. They were there to hold me accountable and to let me know when I hurt them, and they were always there to assure me that I wasn't alone on this little journey called college. And although my desire was to find a community that would help me grow with the Lord, I happened to fall into one that had other priorities.

But let's start from the beginning.

College: it's a time when you're plucked from the security and comfort that you've known your entire life and placed in a totally different environment. It's as if God picks us up like we're a Mii on the Wii and places us where He wants us; "Good luck!" He says, "You're gonna do great!" But, of course, everyone struggles at the beginning of college. You're desperately clinging to anyone you can find in order to keep from staying in your dorm every night with no friends. You're going with random groups of people to concerts and frat parties because you don't have any episodes of "One Tree Hill" left to watch on a Friday night. And guess what? It's fun! You're meeting tons of new people and having the time of your life; trust me, I know.

But then, it becomes your life; it absorbs you. You live for your Friday night plans and are numb to the horrible feeling you wake up with Saturday mornings. Your biggest concern is what you're going to wear out that night or if you should straighten or curl your hair. From the outside looking in, it looks ridiculous... right? However, when that's what everyone around you is doing, it's normal. And although it's fun, it consumes you.

Everyone I've met at college has been incredible. I've made some of the best friendships I'll ever experience. But what I have come to realize over the course of the past nine months is that friendships based on faith are the sweetest, most joyful friendships I have found. Friendships based on accountability, honesty, faith, and an overwhelming amount of love are indescribably wonderful. These friends graciously tell you when you're wrong and celebrate with you during your smallest victories. They pray for and with you and show you consistent love, and they are true brothers and sisters in Christ.

College is already scary, but it's even scarier when you're lonely. And when you go to a big state school like I did, you find yourself overwhelmed with the number of strangers that you're surrounded by. It's easy to get lost in a crowd you don't want to be in when they're the only people you can find. It's easy to "conform to the patterns of this world" no matter how much you don't want to. It's easy to put aside your faith and what you believe in because you don't have time for it. However, this will all just leave you empty and unsatisfied.

So, to all of you rising freshmen: find community. Find people who challenge you to go deeper and further in your faith, tell you when you mess up, and show you unending love every day. Find people who will go to a field full of flowers with you and have dance parties on top of the parking deck. Find people who will sit with you in the dining hall for hours just to hear about your life story. Because I can assure you, they will be the best friendships you'll find in college.

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:24-25

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" - Psalm 133:1

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20

Cover Image Credit: me/facebook

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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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I'm Proud Of My Friends Because They Show Me The True Meaning Of Love Every Day

In the midst of a competitive, harsh society of school and work, my friends teach me everyday what it means to love.

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Every Christmas, our friend group does Secret Santa, our little way of celebrating the holiday season even when all of us can't meet up at one time over the break. And every summer, we all meet up with each other and spend the entire day together, taking a slew of pictures and laughing nonstop.

I've come to realize in the past school year that competitive energy can bring out the worst in people, especially the ones you expected it from the least. But I have not seen my friends waver once against the hard, cold face of competition. They've stayed completely true to themselves and the bonds they have with their close friends.

One of my friends is one of the only people I spend more time with during the day than I do by myself. She and I are currently part of a philanthropic program dedicated to raising money for blood cancer research, and we think of each other as sisters.

She and I have shared tears, memories and laughs so close to me that I will never forget the impact she has left on my life. She has changed me as a person, and I think that's what it means to love. As one of my best friends, she teaches me every single day of my life what it means to be a strong, fearless woman.

I see a lot of my friends only once in a while, but it makes me think about the fact that no matter how little we get to see each other, we still have that same appreciation and respect for one another that started the friendship in the first place.

No matter how close I consider myself to each person I call a friend, they all think about me even when they don't need to. They give me little tokens and pep talks when I'm feeling down and make sure to focus on making me cheerful when I'm not myself. They carry themselves with so much emotional elegance, and I have never been more thankful to be a part of their lives.

Every single day that I see them, they teach me how to be a better person.

What makes me proudest of my friends is that they are not afraid to put me in my place. Everything they say to me is out of concern for my well-being, but they always make sure to tell me when I'm wrong. It's something I disliked at first (considering sugarcoating was just a way of hiding the truth when I didn't want to hear it) but came to enormously respect.

They teach me the meaning of love everyday by molding me into a combination of tough love and empathy.

The friend who fights by my side everyday against blood cancers gives me a hug at the first sign that I'm not happy, but she doesn't hesitate to stop me when I start blaming other details for my mistakes. The friends who love giving gifts every holiday season to show their love when we can't see each other are the same people who explain to me the rational reasoning of a situation when my emotions take over. The friends who I see only a few times a month also teach me that there is value to having distant friends who aren't always there.

It's so strange how much I've changed because of the people I've surrounded myself with because I always say I'll stay true to myself. But I'm a mix of their individual personalities, and I've never been happier.

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