The Key to Success is Not to Stress

3 years ago I was a senior in high school. Life was easy in retrospect, even though I thought it was hard at the time. I remember being nervous about the next stage of my life. I was constantly questioning what move I should make. My thoughts circled around the same 3 questions: What college should I go to? What should I major in? What do I even want to do with my life? 

It’s funny to me that 3 years later and I’ve only answered two of those questions: Oklahoma Christian University and Creative Writing. It’s even funnier that with those 3 questions, I still find myself asking similar ones now that my college graduation is approaching. When April arrives, I am supposed to have the rest of my life figured out. Everyone keeps asking me what’s next, and I honestly have no idea. And once again, I find myself stuck with the same 3 questions. What Grad School do I want to go to? What do I want to get my Masters in? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? 

I find it humorous that 3 years later and not much has changed. The future is still trying to rule my life. I am still biting off way more than I can chew. Opening up to people is just as hard now as it was then. Feeling inadequate when I find myself struggling with a subject takes a huge toll on me, whether Pre-Calculus or Accounting. Extracurricular activities, although fun and worthwhile, are still extremely demanding and trying at times.

Thinking about how much has changed in the last few years, and then noticing that nothing has really changed at all feels really stagnant. I feel like there’s been a lack of growth. I want to say that I am leaving college this full fledged adult, but I’m not.  I’m still learning how to budget my money. I am still teaching myself not to procrastinate. I am reminding myself that God is important always and that He shouldn’t get pushed to the side. I have to tell myself that contacting my parents is important and making them a priority is necessary. Being a friend and allowing people to be a friend to me in return is crucial for survival.

Most importantly, I am learning that words that helped me manage my senior year of high school can help me manage my senior year of college as well. I posted on my Facebook about an assignment I have due in a few weeks and asked people to share quotes that helped shaped their lives, specifically their faith. My old debate partner and sweet friend who is just now beginning her first year of college reminded me of a quote that helped her through these last couple years. Funny enough, it was my quote.

“The key to success is not to stress.” It was words we lived by in our little debate world. We could only prepare as much as we had time for. We could only perform to the best of our ability. Everything else wasn’t in our hands, something that was hard to accept at times, but the absolute truth nonetheless. Words I told Marissa to focus on I had so easily forgotten in the last few years. I am pretty grateful for the reminder, now, as she told me that through this silly little mantra I developed to make us feel better during hard times, she was able to focus on God’s plan. She focused on God’s understanding, and not her own, something I have been struggling to do lately.

You see, my final year of undergrad is here. I am taking my final classes. I am working. I am participating in extracurriculars. I am living the best years of my life. So why am I wishing this year away by focusing on next year? Why am I throwing away these moments for knowledge of my future? Why am I fearful of messing up? Not being good enough? Not doing enough?

I have prepared myself all that I can. I have worked as hard as I can. I have no control of the future. I only have control of my present.

So today, I am thankful for Marissa, for reminding me of my own words. I was wise for living by that silly little motto of mine, and I think I’m going to bring it back into my life. After all, the key to success really is not to stress, because I know God’s got this.

Two Are Better Than One

You could probably guess this upon first getting to know me, but I am really good at making friends with people. Not to brag, or anything. It’s just a skill I’ve accumulated over the years. People tend to like me. I, in return, tend to like people. I thrive off of them. The more people I know, the better off I am.

Or so I thought. Lately, I don’t know how to connect with others. Or maybe, I know how to connect with others too well. I find myself constantly reaching out to everyone I meet. I want to know their problems. I want to help them and love on them and make them feel better. But in doing so, I forget about myself. I don’t tell people when I am hurting, or when I need help. I feel like I have to be so strong for everyone else, like they are too fragile to handle the weight of my problems too. Thus, I pick them up, throw them on my shoulders, and carry them through their burdened journey and avoid going down my own path that desperately needs to be adventured on.

I know when the problem started. I know why it got worse. I know why it is so hard for me to let people in, but I’m not sharing it. I don’t know how. Or maybe I don’t want to? Maybe it’s my way of hiding my vulnerability. But aren’t we called to be vulnerable with one another? Aren’t we called to lean on one another?

God never asked me to walk alone. He never asked me to take on everyone’s burden. You see, this time last year I was starting my job as a freshman RA. While tackling that job, I quickly lost friends. It was too hard for people to schedule around the fact that my life no longer revolved around me, but instead around the girls that I took on as my charges. I had curfew, again. I had dorm events and devos. I had people that needed me, and my friends had plans that I didn’t fit into because of that. They wanted to go out after Midnight because they could. They wanted to go out for dinners and play games and do things that conflicted with the time I had to spend with my residents. And at first, that was okay. But then it continued. I felt left out, unwanted, and most importantly, unloved.

A few months later, and I finally started to connect to people again. I was open with people, telling them how I was feeling. I was telling them when things were wrong. I told them when I was hurting or in pain. At first, it worked out quite nicely and I was once again surrounded by people who loved me. And then, those people weren’t there either faster than I could blink my eyes. I kept picking these people who I thought would stick around, but instead, decided to serve a short time in my life and leave.

You see, that’s the problem with being able to friend well with lots of people. You are able to connect quickly, but that doesn’t mean the connection always lasts. To them, I served my time, and that was enough for them. They moved on, leaving me to move on too.

Here I am at the beginning of the school year, though, and I don’t trust people. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends. I know they love me and that they would do anything for me. They’ve proven it so many times this year. Yet, I cannot for the life of me tell them what is wrong. I can’t tell them my hurts. I don’t want to talk about the fact that I’m stressed to the max. I don’t want to cry in front of them. I don’t trust them enough to be weak, and that’s not okay.

If anything, I’ve been reminded by people that it is okay to share my burdens. I’ve been reminded that I have friends that won’t leave me high and dry. And to be honest, I’ve been reminded of that fact by people I wouldn’t have ever expected to tell me things like that.

Like I said, God never called us to rely on ourselves, or do life by ourselves. People need people. We need friends, family, and we need God. So here I am, about to start my final year of college. I have people in my life that love me. I have people that are willing to talk to me, hear me out no matter what I have to say. More than that, they push me to talk to them even when it’s hard. Because of that, I know this year will be better than last year.  And because of them, I know that I can rely on them just as much as they can rely on me, and for that, we will be better off.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-11

Done with Counting Down

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4 days until I move back to OC. 2 weeks of training. 31 days until my senior year of college begins. 2 semesters until graduation. 156 days until my 21st birthday. 273 short days until college graduation. Time flies when you begin to think about the future. Numbers seem scary, especially when they tick away, counting down one number after the other.

So if these numbers are so scary why can’t I stop thinking about them? The last 2 years went by so fast! Much faster than I could of ever expected. In that time, so much has happened. I worked my first real job, then a second, and a third, and now I’m about to enter into my fourth. I did adult things, like buy my own phone, put my car in my name, and get a credit card (and pay off that credit card multiple times). I put work before fun, like last summer when I worked 40+ hours a week. To top it all off, this is what I asked for. I put myself in this world of extreme adulting and growing up. I wanted this. No one else made me do it.

I’ve been asking to be an adult since I was a child. I wished away life so many times with words, constantly saying, “I can’t wait to be older! I can’t wait to be in charge of my life! I can’t wait… I can’t wait… I can’t wait….” And as I was wishing life away, my life was passing me by so fast! I didn’t think about the fact that it might be my last softball game, or last debate tournament, or high school dance. I didn’t think about the fact that soon I’d have debt to my name (thank you student loans!) or that I’d be responsible for other people in my life. I didn’t think about the heartbreak that would come or the fact that relationships at my current age are intended for marriage, thus they are more serious. I didn’t think about the fact that my friends would be getting married and having children. Or buying houses and getting “big kid” jobs.

I wanted to be an adult so bad, that maybe I wasted the parts of my life where I was able to sit back, relax, and just have fun! Instead, I became this bundle of stress, making every single decision I ever made for my future, instead of the present moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been blessed and my work has paid off. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about my parents words to me on a regular basis.

“Paige, are you having fun? Are you doing fun things? Are you doing things for yourself?” 

Sometimes, I know for a fact that I can answer that question with a 100 percent absolutely not! I’m working on my homework. I’m working my job. I’m doing this or that, and sometimes I’m so deep in trying to play at being this adult, that I forget to breathe. I’ve acted the part for so long now, that I don’t know how to stop. And soon, it won’t be acting anymore, but an actual role I take on. Thankfully, my parents have realized that it’s okay if I’m not a full fledged adult yet even if I haven’t. Thankfully, they encourage me to spend time doing something I love, like reading a book. They encourage me to splurge on myself sometimes, especially with things like my social service club, Pi. It’s almost funny that the adults in my life encourage me to embrace my last bit of childhood.

You see, I constantly hear people saying they can’t wait for insert future point in their life here, but I say STOP! It’s time to live for today. Live for the moment. There is a reason why people say that, even if it may seem cliche. We only get this time in our lives once. Don’t get me wrong. Work is important. School is important. But so are lasting friendships. So are memories that last a life time.

I know I grew up too fast. I also know I did not have to do so. I chose that on my own, because I was constantly wishing away the now for what I could be in the future. Well guess what, I can be that person any time I want. I don’t have to wait for it. I can embrace it right now!

So countdowns. They’re silly. Wishing away my 20th year for my 21st? Stupid. Counting down the days until college is over and I have to get a job and enter the real world? Stupid. Counting the days until I move back into OC, completely silly!

My 20th year has been the best year of my life, even with all of the heartbreak and letdowns. It was full of being a world traveler, working hard, and making great friends. It was a year full of making mistakes and learning from them and it will continue to be for the next 156 days.

My summer home has been a home of love, friendship, and growth. The Herndon’s have been the most amazing people and this summer was a chance to relax and just breathe, something I didn’t even know I knew how to do.

The last 2 school years have been full of friendship, hard work, and fun experiences. So I know the next 273 days will be the same. Pi sisters, family Christmases, all nighters to write a paper, random date nights with friends, crying, laughing. Life. That is what this year is for. The adulthood that comes after, well it can wait.

As for me, I’m choosing to live in this moment. I’m choosing to embrace each day, because I am tired of wishing my life away.

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Prayers Answered 3 Years Later

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

This time 2 summers ago, my mom and I had a conversation in which she did not believe OC was the school for me due to how expensive it was. I understood her apprehension at the time, because private Christian colleges are not cheap. Not to mention, I didn’t have that much scholarship money at the time. Due to some other things that happened, my mom and dad doubted that OC was where I should attend and were strongly encouraging me to look for more affordable schools, because they didn’t want me to go into debt for school. They are good parents for their concerns. Yet, I fought against it and told them I knew God wanted me at OC and I would do everything in my power to get school paid for. I remember praying to God in a fit of tears, begging Him to help me. “If OC is where you want me God, please, just  help me convince my parents. Help me show them that it is truly affordable. Help me get there. Help me stay there.

The first year, my mom and dad paid $10,000 for me to attend OC and I was grateful to them for trusting me enough to give me a chance to attend for the first year. They gave me the chance to prove to them that what God had placed on my heart was OC and that was where I needed to be. I got in there, worked 2 jobs, took a ridiculous amount of hours and made it happen. In the process, I fell even more in love with OC and with God.

Then, I went home for the summer and because my brother was no longer in school, I lost the only grant I had. It was frustrating. I contacted the school and my financial aid counselor told me there was nothing she could do for me. Here I was trying to prove to my mom and dad that God wanted me to be at OC and the outcomes didn’t really prove my point. To them, it seemed like maybe God didn’t want me there. To me, I knew how much I had grown and that there was an adversary going against me. I did everything in my power to fight to be there. I contacted the head of Financial Aid and he worked on getting me something to cover the loss of my grant. A few weeks later, and he had found a scholarship to not only reimburse what I had lost, but also gave me $600 more. Then, out of no where, I stumbled upon more money. Between the RA position, a Four Star Leadership scholarship of $2,000, and the money I had saved from working 40+ hours, my mom and dad would only owe OC $3,000. That was a HUGE difference from the year before and something to THANK GOD FOR! He had answered my prayers and my mom and dad confirmed what I had known all along. OC was the place for me. To make it even better, I got to school that year and was offered a yearbook position which included a scholarship, so I got to save the money I made for the summer and I later used it to pay for this summer’s classes! God was good.

However, this summer, I had been given the biggest blessing yet. You see, I originally told Dr. Rix I couldn’t go on the mission trip. I was afraid of paying for college. I didn’t know how much I’d owe and I was so afraid that if I didn’t work this summer, I wouldn’t be able to pay for the cost of school. I wanted to control the situation, instead of giving God control. I had a conversation with Jeff McMillion,  however, who told me I was being silly. He reminded me that God had constantly provided for me  to be at OC and shown me that I was in the right place. He reminded me that God would not take away OC from me if I chose to do mission work for God during the summer. So this summer, I didn’t work. Instead, I stayed in Oklahoma, nannied 3 amazing kids for room and meals, and took 3 summer classes. I was basically making no money.

As the mission trip got closer, I still didn’t know how I was going to be paying for OC this year. I didn’t know how much exactly I would owe. I was nervous and extremely worried about it, because this is going to be my third and final year of college. My mom stayed positive. She told me they would figure it out no matter how much it was. She was a blessing and was pushing for something I held so close to my heart for these last few years.

While on my mission trip, I contacted my new boss and he informed me that my job of being an assistant Resident Director would include room and a meal plan. This meant that the money I owed the college was no longer non-existent. My balance of $4,000 disappeared before my eyes. I owed a big, round goose egg! On top of that, I’d be getting a paycheck, which would allow me to start saving for possible Grad School in my future.

So here I sit, thinking about two summers ago. My tears. My prayers. And my God taking care of me and leading me every step of the way even when I couldn’t see Him doing so yet. My mom and dad do not have to pay anything for me to go to school this year. God made OC affordable. He proved to them that it was definitely the place I needed to be. He demonstrated to me the importance of following the path He places on my heart. It is such a blessing, but also a reminder to remember that prayer occurs over time. You have to be patient and rely on God. He guides the way.

This leads me to the future. Everyone keeps asking me what I plan on doing once graduation occurs in April and to be honest, I have no earthly clue. However, the last three years have proven to me that God is my guide and He will help me down the path that leads to the glorification of God! So this year, I plan on being open minded. I am going to apply for grad schools and possible jobs. I am going to pray. I plan on opening every door that I can and asking God to shut the ones that aren’t for me. I am asking for God’s leadership to bring me to the place that will bring Him the most glory the same exact way He brought me to OC.

So I challenge you guys, as I challenge myself. Ask for God to guide you. Be prayerful. Be mindful not of what you want, but what He wants and needs from you. Place God first, because He leads you to things you could never imagine for yourself.

Adventure of a Lifetime- Preparing for Swaziland

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In 20 short days, I’ll be leaving for the trip of a lifetime. I never thought that I would leave the country, though I always hoped I would get the chance. I never thought I’d get the privilege of going on a mission trip, yet I get to do that too! Soon, I’ll be on my way to Swaziland to work at the African Christian College with 3 other OC members and my professor, Dr. Rix. While there, Dr. Rix will teach and we will work amongst groups to help hands on learning about God!

As of today, Dr. Rix told us that the class is bigger than normal with 18 students! While we are there, we get to experience mission in an educational environment. I’ve been in multiple Dr. Rix classes, including Pentateuch and Wisdom Literature. With Dr. Rix, I’ve been able to deepen my theological knowledge. I’ve grown closer to God and built a stronger relationship with my faith. Gaining the opportunity to help others do the same is both exciting and nerve wracking. I pray that I am able to enter this journey with an open heart and mind, while also being able to express the love of God every step of the way!

Once the class is over, I have the privilege of exploring more of the world with my team! We are traveling to Cape Town, London, and Rome. Dr. Rix is not only giving us the opportunity to share God, but also to learn about various cultures in a hands on way. I was already excited to be able to go to just Swaziland, so imagine my excitement when he suggested taking us other places? I am ready to learn during this once in a lifetime trip, while also growing into more of myself.

So for everyone who has donated, thank you! I hope to post various blog posts during my trip! I want to keep everyone posted on the trip and work they have helped fund. I am blessed by you guys!

Also, I ask for prayers for my team not only while we are there, but also in these upcoming weeks to the trip. I ask that God works through us. I ask that our hearts and minds are prepared. I ask that He guides us! I ask that our nerves are settled.

If you are interested in learning more about my trip, feel free to ask for details! I’d love to send them your way. If you are interested in donating to my trip, the link is: MissionBrown. I still need to raise about $1,000! So all donations are extremely appreciated.

Guys, I’m so excited! 20 days will be here in no time!

Goal Setting

Today, I officially feel EXTREMELY accomplished. At the start of the summer, I was overly stressed about college. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for next year, especially after being told I lost my $1,900 grant and no longer qualified for work study due to my brother’s graduation from college. With that being said, I set out for a job within the first week home for summer and everything kinda just went from there. I literally took the first job I was offered, filling out an application, interviewing, and getting the job all in the same day. It was a blessing, or at least that’s how I looked at it.

I figured I would set a small goal, trying to save $2,000 for the whole entire summer to go towards tuition. Since I had to pay for my own gas and things that weren’t a necessity, I figured that was a good number. At times, however, that goal seemed EXTREMElY difficult. I had never really worked a real job before and the only time I’ve had that much money in my pocket was after graduation from college last year.

So, with my goal in mind, I worked a bunch. Doubles became my worst nightmare, but also, my best friend. I even worked 33 hours in the span of 3 days, 2 of those days consisting of back to back doubles. Exhaustion hit. I didn’t necessarily go out as much as I wanted. I even had to take money out of my savings, making the goal seem less doable at times.

Thankfully, however, God provides and as of today, I’ve hit my summer goal. The best part about setting a goal is reaching it. The better part of reaching the goal is surpassing it. I have 3 weeks of work left this summer and I know each day I work from here on out will just be another small blessing God has provided for me.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing College Textbooks

Alright, here is my helpful advice for college students who are about to spend lots and lots of money on their textbooks. Just don’t do it. There are so many ways to go about purchasing your books so that you are getting the best bang for your buck. With that being said, here’s a Do’s and Don’ts list for you when purchasing your books. 

Do-  Look on ratemyprofessor.com

This website is really helpful, because sometimes their will be tidbits that tell you whether or not you even need a book for that class at all. For instance, I didn’t buy my Oral Communications book my first semester, because the website said my professor kept a copy of the book in the library that could be placed on hold for up to 2 hours of use. Considering that was more than enough time to read each assigned chapter, I saved myself about $60. 

Don’t- Buy books from your campus bookstore unless you absolutely have to. 

Books from your campus bookstore are normally extremely overpriced. Even the used books are really pricey, so in the end it isn’t worth it. However, every once and awhile you’ll have a professor who wrote their own book. In that instance, you have no other choice and you just have to bite the bullet.

Do- Ask friends who have taken the class before if they have the textbook.

If they do, they are probably willing to give it to you or at least sell it to you pretty cheap. I know I bought multiple books from friends for like $15. Not to mention, if your friends are like me, they have probably highlighted the really important information in the book and might have even placed notes from the professor in the margins. Moreover, your friends may be interested in a book you have as well, which would be a good opportunity to trade books. 

Don’t- Buy the hardback AND the online version of a book.

Honestly, it is a waste of money. If you buy both, chances are you’ll only read out of one. I’d vote with the online version of the book, especially for math and science classes. With the online version, there are also games and extra add ons that help you learn the material. It is pretty helpful if you need out of the box things to help you learn. Also, online versions usually cost less and have an app that reads the material out loud to you. 

Do- Rent textbooks.

This is a wonderful idea, because they are often A LOT cheaper. Plus, when you rent the textbook, it includes shipping and handling not only for when they send you the book, but also for when you send it back. All in all, you can save a lot of money. Plus, you don’t have to worry about a book you’ll never need again once the semester is over.

Don’t- Buy online access codes from bookstores.

Go directly to the source when you buy online access codes. For instance, Pearson allows you to buy the book directly from their site and it is normally cheaper than any other place you can find the access code, including your campus bookstore who tells you that you can ONLY buy it from them. This is just not true.

Do- Search Amazon for books.

I bought an online access code from Amazon last year for $20. It was a $200 book if I were to purchase it anywhere else.

Don’t- Buy the first book you find.

Purchasing your textbooks shouldn’t be done all at once. It takes a bit of time and research. You want to find the best possible price for each book, which means going to multiple websites normally.

Do- Use a comparison website.

http://www.dealoz.com/ is a wonderful site that I happened to stumble upon last semester. It is easy to work as well. You type in the ISBN of the book you need and it finds that book on as many websites as it can. Then it shows you prices, telling you the best RENT, NEW, and USED purchase you can make. I normally pick the cheapest over all, because I don’t really care about the book condition as much as I do how much I am spending. After all, each book is basically the same. With that being said, please don’t buy a book that is falling apart and illegible. 

My last tidbit of advice isn’t really about buying textbooks, but instead about selling them. Don’t ever sell them back to your campus book store. They hardly ever give you a good price for your books. Look for other avenues so that you can get a GOOD amount of money for the books you probably spent way too much on. I hope this post helps you as you start looking for your textbooks. It can be worth it in the end. After all, I took 17 hours last semester and spent $100 on my textbooks. Since my school expected I’d spend closer to $1,000, I think I did great on savings. Good luck!

When Adulting Feels Like Drowning

Well blogging world, I guess I should just start this off with boy have I been struggling. I’ve been so stressed lately that I’ve literally had a canker sore for about a week now. My sleep schedule is all out of whack and I’m lucky I haven’t gone completely psycho on the world yet. Why am I so stressed, you ask? Well you see, my biggest problem in life right now is adulting. Every single time I think I’m doing things correctly, life laughs cruelly in my face right as it pushes me down. 

 

My current struggle has become one that I do not necessarily like to discuss. You see, my whole senior year I DREAMED of going to Oklahoma Christian. God placed a desire in my heart, a yearning, a craving. I couldn’t fight it and I knew that with every fiber in my being, it was the place I was supposed to be. My freshman year was beautiful. OC was literally everything I could have asked for in a school. Though I definitely had my share of ups and downs. My Grams passed away. I was in a terrible car accident. I grew apart from a best friend. There were plenty of tears and lots of heartache.

 

However, pushing that pain away, I met so many beautiful people! My friends at OC are truly one of a kind and are always checking in on me. They make me feel loved and respected. Not to mention, they have blessed me with so many wonderful memories. OC offered me a chance to grow in a Christian community. My faith grew stronger and I felt confident in being an adult. Well as confident as a 19 year old girl can be anyway. 

 

Unfortunately, my struggle lies within the one thing I adore so very much. I know this isn’t a very humble thing to say, but I worked my butt off my freshman year. I worked two jobs first semester while doing 20 hours, one job my second semester while taking 17 hours, and I participated in extracurricular activities. I was on my school’s literary journal board. I played a part in freshman fanfare and spring sing. Take in mind that I made a 4.0 both semesters, which was a lot harder than high school Paige would have thought. Literally, I did so much at times I thought I was either really stupid or significantly crazy. Not to mention my lack of sleep caused my body to HATE me at times.

 

I was sure I would start next year off with more scholarship money than I received the previous year. I had worked so hard! I felt like I deserved it. Also, upon being recruited to the school, I was told that you get more money after your freshman year. With that reassurance, I invested into a school. I gave them my all, putting my heart and soul into all I did. Unfortunately, OC didn’t hold up to their end of the bargain and took money away because my brother is no longer in college and my parents make TOO much money. Who is that for ANYONE to decide? I know a lot of this is calculated by the government, but now I’m out $2,000 and I no longer qualify for work study, which is roughly another $2,000.That means I have to come up with at least $9,000 to continue going to a school I cannot imagine leaving, even after all the stress this has added on to me. Moving schools seems like a hard thing to do anyway, especially as I am now on track to graduate from college a whole year ahead of schedule.

 

So what am I doing about it, you may be asking yourself. Well, first and for most, I am working my butt off, because that is what I do. I’m working as many hours as I can at the Waffle House. It isn’t a glamorous job, but you know what, I love the people I get to talk to as I wait tables. I’m also babysitting every single chance I get. I’m trying super hard not to spend money and I’m saving every penny. Literally though. I have a change jar that is almost filled to the brim.

 

Nonetheless, I know hard work isn’t always everything.Thankfully, I have wonderful people in my life. After babysitting for a family I’ve known the past few years, I was reminded by the mom of a verse that has been highlighted and marked in my Bible for quite some time, a verse that is often overlooked.

 

But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God,the Holy One of Israel, your savior;” Isaiah 43:1-3

 

As God talks to the Israelites, he reminds them that He is with them in their walk. He guides their steps and helps them. I truly believe that God doesn’t give you desires just to leave them unfulfilled. Cami reminded me that we cannot expect God to provide a bright spotlight for us, but instead that He lights our path one step at a time using a small flashlight. God wants us to rely on Him and trust in Him. We cannot expect everything to be given to us all at once, but instead, we need to rely on God every single step of the way.

 

With that being said, sometimes I really do feel like I am drowning. I cause myself so much stress. I take on way too much at times and I do not tell others when I need time to myself, giving my all to everyone I’m with at all times. Even with that being said, I know God is by my side and I know He won’t let me get burned and He will be my life boat when I feel like I’m sinking. God anchors me and will continue to anchor me through my woes.

 

As I grow into an adult, I know I will face struggles. Financial difficulties now are a sneak peak into the future, one that I am extremely nervous for. Especially as I begin to learn that hard work doesn’t always necessarily mean you will receive benefits. C.S. Lewis says it best with, “hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” I know I need to sink a bit, before I can float.     

What My First Year of College Taught Me

4th place

In the blog world, there is this list of 22 things that a girl learned from her first year of college. Although I appreciate the list (sorta), I definitely had a completely different college experience than she did. I also think some of the points she made were slightly trivial and way too focused on finding Mr. Right. However, I guess I shouldn’t really harp on the idea of finding true love at college since I go to a school where people seem to get married on the daily. Though every single person has their own college experiences and it is not my place to say the things she learned were invalid, I do think it is important to realize that everyone experiences college differently, especially the first year. I personally had a very different experience, so I figured I’d create my own list.

1. Just because you talk to your roommate on social media before school starts, doesn’t mean they will actually be the persona they put on for the internet world towards you in real life.

2. It is okay if you don’t get along well with your first roommate. You can move in with someone else and try again.

3. Living with someone means dealing with things you wouldn’t normally deal with in a room of your own. For instance, you may get the urge to be cleaner because your roommate is not. Or you may be cleaner because your roommate is a neat freak. Either way, you share a space with someone now so you should respect who you’re living with.

4. Mom and Dad are still only a phone call away. I had many ups and downs my first year of college. My parents ALWAYS picked up the phone. If they didn’t, they would call me back fairly quickly. Even if they couldn’t be here physically, they were helpful about talking through things with me.

5. Your friends from high school may not be your friends in college. Sometimes people change and grow apart. Unfortunately, this happens even to the friends you always swore would be in your life. If this does happen, it may be hard to let go. However, YOU SHOULD LET GO.

6. Sometimes your friends from high school become better friends through the distance. Skype dates and letters are the best! Enjoy them while you can, especially because it’s a great way to catch up with each other.

7. Care packages are possibly the best thing in the world. If your grandparents (church, parents, etc.) send you something, make sure they know how much you appreciate it. Thank yous can go a long way.

8. Classes are a lot harder in college. People always told me this, but I never really believed it until I was in college courses. You have more work and it’s even more important because you not only pay for it, but it all goes towards your degree. A degree you need to get a job.

9. It is CRUCIAL that you follow the attendance policies. Missing one too many classes can be the reason why your grade goes from an A to a B. It could also be the reason why your B goes to an A.

10. When free food is offered, you should go to the event. (Unless the free food is always pizza, because pizza 5 times a week is not good for the waistline.)

11. You can befriend anyone! College is full of brand new people, so you shouldn’t be afraid to introduce yourself and get to know people.

12. Study dates don’t normally involve a lot of studying. They are more of a time to talk to friends and complain.

13. Coffee shops are great for many things. Studying, group get togethers, serious talks, dates. You name it and a coffee shop can serve the purpose. It’s quite a beautiful thing.

14. Shopping for things your mom would normally buy for you is weird. This includes food, hygiene products, and even medicine. When you buy your own things, you also realize why your mom rarely let you get the most expensive brands of things and you probably stick to the cheap stuff.

15. Cafeteria food is not healthy food. Even the vegetables are normally drenched in something that is not good for you, whether that’s honey or bacon grease. Also, the desserts are not necessary every single day. Trust me. If you avoid the brownie, the freshman 15 can also be avoided.

16. Finding time to work out can be difficult. Sometimes you have to make the choice between friends, homework, or a solid workout. Chances are, you won’t pick the workout.

17. Being involved in things is important! Find something that fits your personality, whether that’s a club, sorority, or student government. When you get involved, people start to know your name around campus and you meet tons of awesome people.

18. Go somewhere new for spring break. Home might be nice, but this gives you the chance to experience something you might not normally get the chance to.

19. No one forces you to get up and go to church. Nonetheless, you should get up and go. Find a place where you feel comfortable. My church group has some of the best people I’ve ever met in it. No joke.

20. Open up to people. When you allow people to know who you are and what you stand for, it will be easier for them to open up to you in return.

21. Work a job. You’ll feel really accomplished, whether it’s just work study or a part time job. Plus, you can use that money to do fun things with your friends.

22. There are fun things that DON’T cost money. Find those things and do them.

23. Local places are the best. Try them out!

24. You will feel accomplished when you can find your way around your college town without a GPS. It’s possibly the best feeling.

25. Take lots of pictures. You’ll want to remember these memories and they also make for cheap decorations!

26. Sometimes it is alright to put studying aside to be a good friend.

27. You’ll stay up late and lose sleep. That is okay. This is why God invented coffee.

28. Do things that make you happy. College is about making decisions for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to put others first anymore.

29. If your school has rules, follow them. Breaking rules is stupid and you’ll only regret it in the long run.

30. Most importantly, decide who YOU want to be and be that person. College is a time of change and transformation. I know I’ve changed more in this past year than I have my whole 19 years of living.

College is an amazing experience. One that no one will experience quite like you. With that in mind, I may have not learned the same life lessons as the girl who posted 22 Things your Freshman Year of College Teaches you, but I did learn a lot of things. That’s the beauty of the college experience. It’s unique to every single person and belongs solely to the one experiencing it.