To The Kid Starting College

To The Kid Starting College

Everything's going to be fine.
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When I was graduating high school I remember so many people warning me to “stay on top of your studies, because there’s a big jump between high school and college.” I was terrified of what would happen once I clambered into my first huge lecture class: maybe the professor would hate me, maybe I’d sit by a kid that smelled bad, maybe I wouldn’t be able to pay attention and I’d mess up one comma in a paper and fail the entirety of university. Then I’d be forced to go back home and work a crappy minimum-wage job until I die. (Dramatic, but what can I say? I was terrified.)

Between moving out, new classes, an entirely new city where I knew basically no one, and fending for myself with only a call home to comfort me, I was a bit more than stressed about university. I thought the communal showers were bad enough, but then came the night before my first college classes. It was so much worse. I tossed and turned all night and barely grabbed six hours of sleep, so when my alarm rang at eight-thirty the next morning, I was less than enthused. But I got dressed and began the morning routine of my next chapter of life.

I remember checking my bus schedule at least a hundred times before I actually stepped onto a bus, and then I nervously checked again, fearing I’d grabbed the wrong route. Thankfully, however, my nervousness did not get in the way of literacy and I made it to class, albeit forty-five minutes early. (I spent a lot of time at the nearby Starbucks to avoid looking like a creep in my classroom.) I tried to look casual, just mess around on my phone, you know, the usual. Then class started. I saw my professor walk into the room and I was scared into silence.

At least for the first fifteen minutes.

My professor was incredibly amicable; she made jokes, told us about her life, and encouraged open discussion for the majority of class. To be honest, that professor in particular holds an incredible amount of respect and admiration from me to this day, and she stands as one of my greatest inspirations. I was lucky to have her as my first professor, because trust me, they aren’t always that friendly. Don’t get me wrong, college classes are infinitely more interesting than the ones you take in grade school. With my program in particular, I’ve gotten to read things such as the history of sex, an analysis of the word “lesbian,” and an abbreviated history of the life of Jimi Hendrix (tldr; drugs). College is an entirely different level from high school, both in difficulty and subject matter. It’s definitely more difficult, but usually manageable if you keep up with your reading. But the fun part is when you can take classes on Harry Potter, dead languages, or even memes (if you attend UGA take this your freshman year, I’m not joking). You’ll find yourself writing papers on drag queens, on Sappho, or perhaps a short biography of Robert Downey, Jr. Honestly you never know when it comes to post-secondary education. But it’s so much better, and so much more fulfilling.

Despite all this, however, don’t be fooled into thinking college is a funfest. Especially if you’re a STEM major, you’re going to have your share of classes that just…suck. You’ll have classes where your entire grade is based off one or two papers, and you’ll have professors that could care less if you pass (I actually had a professor tell me that—he gets paid whether I do well or not). But you’ll find that the people teaching you are so overly-qualified and knowledgeable about their subject, especially as you get into your major-relevant classes, that regardless of whether you’re interested or not, you’ll be impressed with the stories they’ll tell, of the adventures they’ve had, and the passion with which they discuss the topic. You should start studying for tests at least a week, if not two, in advance, and finals? Give yourself a good month and enough time to gather prayers; you’ll need it.

College isn’t a joke, but don’t spend all your time holed up in a book, either. There’s so many places to go, so many clubs to join, and so many people to meet, you have to find a balance between socializing and actually passing your classes. But don’t freak out so much; just stay on top of your reading and assignments, and you’ll pass, no problem. Most professors aren’t out to see you fail, and they’ll often do whatever they can to make sure you’re absorbing the material. They’re an important resource, and never feel scared to go to them for help or advice. Just take a deep breath and walk with your head held high. You’re going to be great.

Cover Image Credit: http://cdn2.livelongandtravel.com/campus_31.jpg

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Christian Boys Vs. Godly Men

It is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.
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Ladies, there is a huge difference between a Christian boy and a Godly man; therefore, it is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.

So many times I hear girls saying:

“Well, he’s a Christian.”

“He goes to church with me.”

“He listens to Christian music.”

“He went to church camp.”

“He has a favorite bible verse.”

SEE ALSO: What An Attractive Man Looks Like

Well, all of those things are just peachy and there is nothing wrong with doing those things. I mean, they’re all good things to do. But how is his personal relationship with God? How is his prayer life? Does he talk about his relationship with God, with you? Is he truly a follower of the one true God in all aspects of his life? These are some of the characteristics you should be looking for that makes a Godly man.

Ladies, a man will love you great when he loves God greater.

A Godly man will pursue an honest relationship with you. He will be clear of his intentions. A Godly man will worship, pray and passionately praise God with you. Whereas, a Christian boy might open the door for you, a Godly man will open his bible and explore God’s word with you so that you both may grow spiritually, together. While a Christian boy may put on an outward show, a Godly man will live out the love of Jesus daily.

So ladies, are you catching on to this ongoing trend? A Godly man does more because you deserve more.

A Godly man will be a leader. Trust me, I know that in today’s society Godly men are few and far between while Christian boys come in plenty. But you deserve a man who is after God’s heart not just a boy who goes to church. And I know that this Christian boy may seem great and have some really stellar qualities at the time but money and looks fade, whereas, an ongoing love for our savior will not.

The greatest thing a man can do for a woman is to lead her closer to God than himself. (Yes, yes, yes).

SEE ALSO: As Christians, Life Isn't Supposed To Be Hard

So I beg of you, do not settle. Do not settle just because you’re tired of being single, it’s convenient or because you want the relationship your friend has. Single does not equal available and a relationship status does not define you. God uses your season of singleness to prepare you for what is to come. And if you’re dating a Christian boy, he needs to step it up or you need to move on. Wait for a Godly man who is ready to lead you. God’s timing is always better, always. No matter the circumstance. So, do not rush God. (I mean, He is, after all, pretty good at His job). Therefore, turn your full focus to Him and He will direct your path.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Cover Image Credit: Christina Sharp

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.

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Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.

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