Why I Am Grateful That College Life Met None Of My Expectations

Why I Am Grateful That College Life Met None Of My Expectations

College: it's not how I thought it would be

At the end of the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," Peter Pevensie says something of great value and wisdom:

"It's not how I thought it would be, but it's alright."

As I was re-watching the "Chronicles of Narnia" series a few weeks ago, that line struck me particularly hard. Life is not always what we expect it to be, but it is always alright.

I came into college with a million different expectations. College was going to be magical. I kind of thought it would be just like high school with harder classes and everyone living in one place.The people I met in my first few weeks would be my best friends forever, and every day would be fun.

I was so, so wrong.

Most of my expectations were shattered within the first week. It was actually nothing like high school (which turned out to be a huge positive). People were responsible and respectful, and they actually cared about their classes. I didn't really meet a lot of friends within the first week. I met a variety of different people, but I really only hung out with my roommate. Every day was not necessarily fun; I actually spent a lot of time by myself, due to the lack of friends I had made.

Two years in, I can safely say that my assessment after my first week was accurate: college is nothing like I expected.

Thank God.

My two years at Friends University have been the hardest years of my life, and they have also been the very best. I have cried more in these two years than I ever did before. Tears of severe hurt, loneliness, and sadness, and also of immense joy, comfort, and peace.

I have learned more from the people I have met than I ever thought possible. They have shown me what it looks like to love someone through anything. They loved me through our awkward first encounters and still love me when I am crying on their shoulders in the middle of a parking lot. They challenge what I believe and push me every day to question myself and live a life more like Jesus. These relationships are tough. They take real work - work I never knew would have to be put into a friendship. However, they also generally result in donuts at least twice a month. It all evens out, really.

College is hard. There's no getting around that. There have been many days and weeks that I have questioned my choices. Is this really what I want to do with my life? Why did I not get out of my hometown? There have been many more days, though, that I have felt overjoyed in my choices. Even amidst a miniature what-am-I-doing-with-my-life panic attack, when I survey the people, professors, and love that fill my campus, I can't help but know that college is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Those are the days that make everything in college totally worth it.

You were right, Peter Pevensie. This life is nothing like I thought it would be, but it is definitely alright.

Cover Image Credit: Shawntel Shirkey

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!


So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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