these next 4 years

“college will be the best 4 years of your life” – everyone. 

false.

i’m finishing up my first semester here at UGA. to say the least, i have grown in more ways than i could have imagined and it has only been 5 months. but growing & finding out who you are isn’t always easy. in fact, it’s quite difficult.

people always say

“college is the best 4 years of your life”. they say its 4 years of fun. 4 years of independence while still not having to worry about “adult” responsibilities. it’s 4 years of meeting friends of a lifetime, of meeting your potential husband/wife, of becoming who you are supposed to be. you have endless opportunities and you literally begin a journey of finding who you are.

 what people don’t say

about college is that it is also 4 years of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual breakdowns. constantly, i am surrounded by so many incredible human beings who seem to have their life all put together. daily, i struggle to find my self worth. i begin to push myself down and my insecurities start to show. people say that you’ll meet your future husband/wife in college, but what they don’t tell you is how much pressure is behind that statement. people don’t say that it’s okay to not know what the heck you’re doing. they don’t say it’s okay if you are unsure about your major, the university you’re at, or life in general. people don’t say that you should prepare for heartbreak, brace yourself for the large amounts of stress, and learn how to accept your failures.

i thought i had it all together but, a month into college and i was  completely wrong. my phone calls consisted of me crying to my mom and saying things like, “i feel like i should be doing more. i’m just not enough”, “i hate college. i want to move back home”,  and “how do i know God is real?” i was emotionally unstable. i began to hate who i was. i wanted to be like the girl who had the perfect hair, the perfect body, the perfect personality. the girl who got all the attention and who everyone liked. i was spiritually unstable.  though i was constantly surrounded by Christian friends, i still doubted if God was really there. i cried out to God and yet, i felt nothing. i felt so small and so alone. i felt like a failure and i was worth nothing. i missed my friends  back home, my family, my pets, my whole life that i had left behind.

okay- so i know you’re waiting for me to have this dramatic change in the story where something happens and now college is AWESOME and i’m so much happier and blah, blah, blah. well, that’s not exactly what happens. yes, i now realize that college is actually incredible. it forces you to grow and find who you are. but- i could not have survived those difficult weeks if it hadn’t been for my decision to pray and ask God to help me. i would sit in my dorm room and continually ask God for guidance and for peace. even though sometimes i felt as if He wasn’t listening, i continued to trust in Him. and of course, God was faithful. He began to work wonders in my life. i was truly captivated by Him as He began to change my life and “make me new” in Him. He blessed me with a solid group of friends who fully desire Him. i started to feel more confident not only in myself, but in Him. to this day, i crave my quiet times with Him. i absolutely love reading His word and resting in His presence. i thank God every day for the periods of loneliness because those are the times when He brought me to Him. i learned how to wait and fully trust in Him. and, when i did, he brought more blessings than i could have ever hoped for.

college may or may not be the best four years of your life. to me, (at least at first), it wasn’t. college defeated all of my expectations, yet God surpassed them. college sometimes made me feel small and alone, yet God made me feel significant and loved.

However, college is a time that forces you out of your comfort zone. it’s a time that you WILL meet those special friendships, you WILL become more independent, and you WILL have opportunities to grow to your full potential. and that is all WONDERFUL.

But, know this:

college is an experience and it can either be a great experience or a terrible one. its your choice to decide how to live those 4 years.

As for me:

i choose to make these next 4 years a great experience. i choose to not let my mistakes, failures, and struggles hinder me. i choose to take every opportunity and circumstance as a positive one. i choose to understand that whatever happens these next 4 years (good or bad) has a purpose and a reason. i choose God. i choose to live as Jesus lived. i choose to fully trust in Him, even in the midst of doubt and confusion.

i choose to have high expectations, but to not be disappointed when some of those expectations fail.

that being said,

i choose to not allow “these next 4 years to be the best.”

rather, i choose to allow “these next 4 years to be great.”

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