My Reflections on Four Years

If you’ve read my story and testimony here on my blog, you may have noticed something: it stops after I graduate high school. Obviously, my life has gone on, and a lot of influential things have happened through my college years. I’ve met some amazing, influential people. I’ve felt hurt, felt loss. I’ve felt lost. I’ve felt found. I’ve gone through the motions. I’ve felt I was sinking back into the depths. I’ve felt uplifted and on top of the world. College. Was. Crazy.

But. College was great.

As the time of year rolls around that I’ve grown to associate with packing up my things to return to a place that was a second home, this year, there’s no packing. No crazy rush as I try to figure out what I’m forgetting; I always forget something. No anticipation of seeing the guys I’m moving in with again. No buzz about the campus as we re-learn the and re-discover the quickest routes to our classes and settle back into our routines.

I’m not sure how I feel about it… To be honest, there’s a little bit of relief. To be even more honest, I miss it.

It’s strange. All through college, you tell yourself: you can’t wait to be done; to be out in the real world; to be making money and to be moving on to real life. Don’t get me wrong, all of that certainly has its perks, and I’m loving this new chapter too. But that doesn’t come without some sense of nostalgia.

I’m going to miss learning! I never thought I’d say it: I’m going to miss sitting in a classroom and learning or getting to learn hands-on in labs. I’ll miss professors, classmates, staff, the environment, you know – I’ll even miss the “Bubble.”

But now that I’m not in classes to learn, a new adventure begins. An adventure of finding something new to learn every single day; to never stop wondering and wandering. But before I get caught up on going forward to find all the new things to learn, it’s time to look back on what the past four years at Messiah College taught me.

Find the kind of friends who will stay up all night with you. In college and in life, your closest friends may wander in unexpectedly. In the case of my friend group, this was literal, but I’ll explain that more in my next post which I am planning on being an open letter to them. There’s some rare people out there who will be the absolute, most amazing friends you could ever find. It may take time and may be frustrating to find them, but they’re out there. If it takes time, don’t panic; they’re probably looking for you just as hard.

Be the type of friend you would want to have. To me, this is just a general rule for being a good, friendly person. It will also help with that first one, I think. It follows from the basic rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s pretty straight-forward, if you want to hold your friends (or any person, for that matter) to any standard, shouldn’t you be held to the exact same, or an even higher, standard?

Get out of your comfort zone. I’ve written before about some of my positions of leadership at school, and how I seemed to pick up a new one every year. I started school very introverted and would only really socialize with a close-knit group; it was even hard to trust them the first few months as I settled in. I am thoroughly convinced that the most consistent way to grow, is to do something uncomfortable. Please know that I’m not telling you to put yourself in danger (sorry about that time I went for a run at night in a thunderstorm on the swinging bridge, mom). For real though, try something new every now and then. If you absolutely can’t stand it, at least you tried. You don’t have to do it again.

Call someone who loves you or who you love – tell them. I cannot stress this one enough. I’m honestly tearing up as I think of this one. Life will throw you curveballs. While you’re away from the people who love you the most, they think about you a lot. Take it from someone who saw my time at college take someone I loved dearly, and who also felt some close calls. You do not want to ever miss the chance to tell someone you love them. Even if nothing bad is to come at any given time, if you’ve ever gotten a quick call from someone who just wanted to say hi and hear your voice and tell you they love you, you know how good it feels.

Be spontaneous. In college, I learned that people will call you to invite you to plans, and will tell you to be ready in a couple of minutes. These will be some of the most fun experiences, almost guaranteed. So be willing to set some stuff aside to have some fun with good friends. At the same time, don’t be irresponsible and not make any time for important things.

Don’t start dating someone in the fall of your freshman year. This one is a little bit of a joke, but I also think there’s truth to it. Don’t dive in to anything. Plus, in the first months of college, you’ll be amazed how much the people you will spend time with will shift around. I’m also not saying you can’t find someone really amazing in this time. But be patient. In my opinion, if someone is really worth having around, they won’t have trouble being patient too.

Learn. Go to class, study, work hard. You’re paying for school, get out what you’re putting in. It takes effort, but it’ll set you up well later. Also, don’t expect to only learn from the classes in your major; I’ve been taught some important lessons from classes I didn’t “need.” But this also goes outside the classroom. See every day as an opportunity to learn something new. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll learn about the people around you. You’ll learn a lot about life. If you’re a Christian, you can learn a lot about God. But all of this learning will never happen if you’re not watching, listening, and participating.

I could say a lot more of things that I’ve learned, but I think this is good for the time being. I’ll have some more coming up about my time at college soon and where I am now. But for now, I hope you enjoyed.

To God be the Glory.

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