Before I left for college some adults told me that college was the time for trying new things and discovering who I was. They were right in a way. Especially during my first month, I was surrounded by new people and was constantly flooded with their ideas that were new and different to me. I now lived in a new state with a new and different culture. Being on a college campus offered me many new activities to pursue and groups to join. And I suddenly had an independence I had never before known. No one was telling me to study or to get up in time for my morning class. I could have chosen not to go to church, and my parents living a thousand miles away couldn’t have done anything to stop me.
In this sense, the adults I was talking to were right. College is a time for figuring out who I am and being willing to try new things. But in one way they were wrong. Starting college, I knew who I was. I was a believer with the ultimate goal of glorifying God in everything, a creative writing major with the desire to be an author that shares the gospel in every story, and a young woman that wants Christ to be the center of her life. This is still who I am after I have finished my first year. My faith has been challenged, but has not wavered.
But there have been things I have discovered about myself and new things I have tried that have changed me a little. For the first time I realized how much I need my own space. Not only as an introvert do I need to find time to be alone, but I also need a physical place both inside and outside that I consider my own. In my dorm room, my bed was lofted, and underneath I had my desk, dresser, and shelves. My “cave”, as my roommates called it, was perfect for me as it was somewhat separate from the rest of the room and I felt like I was in my own space. I also loved to invite people in- to show them something on my laptop, or to sit and talk on my bed. Outside, I found a place on campus that no one thinks of and no one visits. It is a small empty field, and when it is warm it is my favorite place to read, study, write, or just lie in the grass to pray or think.
One new experience and adventure I had to embark on was finding a church. My parents and pastor helped with the search for which I am extremely grateful. But it was up to me to find a way to get there Sunday morning and figure out if it was the right church for me to attend. Though it looked like a good fit from their website and from the conversation my pastor had with their family pastor, I still had to visit before making my decision. But God was kind and brought me to the right church; a young woman kindly agreed to pick me up every week, they preached the gospel every Sunday, and I liked the college group that met for Sunday School. There were still challenges I faced, though. It was scary to have a stranger give me a ride, and also humbling to ask for help. Being in church lifted my spirits while at the same time made me miss my family and church family at home. And though I liked my church, I couldn’t help but compare it to my church home. But I have learned to acknowledge the good and bad aspects of both of my churches- to notice the things they do well and what they need to work on, but to accept the churches for what they are.
Another adventure was singing with my roommates in a talent show. I have always loved to sing, but have been terrified of singing on stage for an audience. I was so scared, but we performed well, and more importantly I created a beautiful memory I will always have with me. I also took a step in overcoming a fear, so much so that I hope my roommates and I can sing again someday.My first year was full of good changes, challenges, and little discoveries about myself. Yet the most important part of me didn’t change; my faith will always stay the same.