Friends VS. College: The Challenge Of Finding Yourself

Friends VS. College: The Challenge Of Finding Yourself

At times, it hard to leave the ones you care about the most behind.
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It's coming to that time of year when high school seniors get back their acceptance letters from the colleges and universities they've applied to over the course of the past four-plus months. The anxieties of opening acceptance or rejection letters, there comes down to the choice of which college to attend. Despite the academic factors, social interactions have the capability to make or break someone's college experience; so when finding a school that meets to a students social needs is as important as academics.

Through this need of a social circle in a new chapter of a student's life, many students stick to the same social circles in high school. From planning out which one of you high school besties are going to be your roommate to picking out classes together, the future just seems more stable knowing you're not going into the dark, unknown abyss of college alone.

But I believe that it is through this adjustment to the unstable that our true personalities shine.

During the spring of my senior year, I decided to attend a small, liberal arts college on the prairie of west-central Minnesota. Whenever I'd bring up of the name of the college, nearly everyone responded, "where is that?" My college is not the most well known school in Minnesota but it was the perfect fit for me: a close community, phenomenal scholarship offers and an atmosphere that made me feel like home. Where people saw another small-town university, I saw my dream college. The only thing that I found was a concerning factor was the fact that I was the only one of my school, and friend group for that matter, that was attending this college. While I decided on a campus out of state, many of my friends either decided to go to a local state college or lay off school for a semester. My greatest fear of attending college was that I was going to be alone.

Often I would contemplate giving up my dream school to attend my state's college just so I wouldn't be so far away from my friends. But no matter where I looked, these state schools didn't compare to the fit that my dream schools had to me. I was at a crossroad. In the end, I decided to take a leap of faith and venture out into the next stage of my life on my own. And I can confidently say it was the best decision I could have made for myself.

Going to a "new-start" college allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. At times, it was hard experiencing life on my own without my strong network of friends by my side. But it re-enforced my self confidence through trying new things, meeting new people, finding my own interests and most importantly discovering who I was as a human being.

But I never lost contact with my closest friends. Although miles away, phone calls and texts became our lifeline. It reassured me that through the distance between us, we were still an important aspect of our relationships. Through this I became aware that I wasn't just afraid of being alone, but being forgotten. The years I have spent with my friends from elementary to high school I feared the thought of losing the people who I cared for most dearly. But it was through that friendship that I found the support to live my life to the fullest, even if that meant going to school hours away from them. My closest friends were my biggest supporters and through that they motivated me to seek out my fullest potential.

College is a beautiful time in life to venture out and explore the next stage of your life. At times, it's hard to move on from the love and security that your friends give you. But if they are your true friends, they will stay. They will continue to support you no matter where you go and believe in you and your dreams. At times it is important to remember that it's okay to let go. Your life isn't solely determined through the relationships you build, but the relationship and respect you have for yourself in order to grow and thrive.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Duncan

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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10 Special Places In Your Hometown You Can't Wait To Revisit When The Semester Is Over

I can't wait to go home!

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Everyone has their favorite local spots that they love in their hometown. These could be famous staples that everyone knows about, or your little getaway when life was hitting you hard growing up. Since being away from home I never understood how important they were to me until I wasn't there. It doesn't matter if you live in Maine or California, everyone has their spot or multiple spots.

Here is a list of 10 places that you will stop at once you get home.

1. Your Favorite Local Restaurant(s)

This restaurant or restaurants always come through whenever you want to eat your favorite food(s). It always made everything to perfection, and nearly every person knows your name in there.

2. Coffee Shop

The place that you always can meet your friends, or a quite place to get work done.

3. High School 

Going back to your local high school is always a positive walk down memory lane to see all your old teachers, and people that affected your life for the better.

4. Friends' Houses 

So many memories are there, and it's always so refreshing to see their faces and talk to people that you have grown up with.

5. Nature Spots 

You know those places that whenever you get to them can make you so much happier and more relaxed? That's what I'm talking about.

6. Walking Around Your Neighborhood 

Walking around your neighborhood is always fun, and you get to see a bunch of familiar faces.

7. Your Bed 

Because what's better than that...

8. Your Local Church 

It is always nice to see your youth group and elders whenever you come back.

9. Grandparents' House

You know when you are going over something good is always waiting behind the door.

10. Top Of A Parking Garage 

The ultimate best view to watch fireworks, sunsets, and sun rises.

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