In what felt like just a few weeks, my first semester of college was over. As much as I'd like to say that it was just one jolly collage of Instagram-worthy moments, it wasn't. The few months I've spent at Houghton have fostered so much growth in my life that I couldn't write about it all in one article. I've met some of the most incredible and unique people and made lifelong friendships. I've also missed my family, struggled to figure out how to manage my time, and sometimes let fear get the best of me.
I had a really hard time adjusting to being away from home, and I was often nervous about meeting new people and reaching my new professors' expectations. There were some days that I spent in a sleepy daze, and on a few occasions I wished my snooze button had the power to make my professor cancel class.
Sharing the more uncomfortable things that I felt during my first semester is hard because I'd love to uphold a flawless image of studious perfection. Despite this, I choose to be vulnerable because I know there are others who are finishing high school this year or who have also just finished their first semester, and I really want them to know that they are not alone. To those of you who struggle and are yet humble enough to be honest about it, I am so thankful for you and I'm working to be the same way. That's why I share the good, bad, ugly, and the beautiful.
I have learned more in the past few months than I ever thought I would. I gained valuable, rich head knowledge that was so graciously shared with me by my wise professors. I might even argue, however, that the things I learned about myself, the world, the phenomenon known as "adult-ing", and God's grace are more valuable than the bits of information I gained in the classroom.
The days that I found the hardest were the days that proved most worth facing.They required more effort than I could muster and brought out courage I didn't think I had in me. The truth is that I never had this courage! All along, I have been gifted this courage from my patient and wise Father. When I could barely bring myself to get up and go to the lecture that I wasn't sure my professor would even show up to, God would whisper in my ear "you're doing this for me, to show your commitment to honoring me with your attitude and your actions". I found the value in doing the hard things not because they were things my professor had told me I needed to do, but because I am called to do everything for the glory and honor of God.
The most difficult days were the ones I spent being carried by Him who walks with me (or for me) and guides me through the seemingly impossible. The phrase "one semester down" doesn't really apply here, because this first semester was spent hoping, looking, and praying in the upwards direction. I would like to say that this was my "first semester up", because God pulled me up every time I thought I was going to fall down.
It's the small miracles He gave me that kept me going and the rich hope of expecting His blessings that moved me forward every day, regardless of whether I was at school or at home. I want Him to be honored for everything that I achieved this semester, and I offer Him the sweetest praise I can muster for the way He continues to renew my soul with the blessings of this life that are far too wonderful for me to comprehend.