As I’m nearing the end of the semester, I’m recognizing how fast this first year at Hope has flown by. Based on what others are telling me, they say each year goes by even faster – and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for that.
Here in April, I think I’ve finally mastered the balance of finding out who I am, finding the path God has set apart for me, (and, um… finding my homework on my messy desk, which is still sometimes a struggle). I’m learning to be content with being patient and trusting in His plan for my life. Each positive experience is a blessing, and any missed opportunity will reveal itself in a different way if there is insight God desires for me understand.
That being said, I think that’s what the first year of college is really about – discovering you. Although being away from my hometown and family is really difficult sometimes, those empty spots have been filled in ways I never could have imagined. The Hope community is so special. If you’ve spent time around campus, you’ve probably heard that mentioned before – and it is so true. I have met amazing friends and been taught by amazing professors who uplift and support me every step of the way. Each time I feel discouraged, they’re willing to listen to my needs and help me fix them. When good things happen, they rejoice with me. I am forever grateful to be included in a community overflowing with so much love.
In comparison to high school, college is a lot more difficult. Based on my high school preparation, I will say that I was very unprepared for the work load I have experienced here at Hope. However, I have found strength through the stress. Last week, I prepared for an exam and two papers – one five-page and one ten-page – as well as read a whole novel in just about five days. Along with my classwork, I was balancing other activities and taking time to serve God and take occasional break (it’s not possible to get through a week like that without some classic coffee breaks 😉 ).
It’s also not possible to get through a week without praising God every step of the way.
The most influential part of my college year is how the spark in my heart for Christ has grown brighter into a flame – in greater reality, it is a giant and unquenchable fire. God has spoken to me in so many ways and I’ve been learning more about Him and His plans for me through the Chapel services, worship events, and relationships that I have built on campus. It has been a blessing for me to finally grasp His love for me. I’ve learned that prayer changes things. Not just a little, but a lot. And when He wants me to know something, He makes sure I know it, too. All I have to do is listen to hear His voice and welcome in His presence.
Also, as I continually fall more in love with Christ, I fall in love with the person I’m becoming through Him. This is what takes the work. I have to let go of some of the ways I used to live to adopt new habits that fulfill His plans for me. Throughout this year, I have been practicing becoming more patient in times of struggle, slow to anger in times of frustration, and gentle in times of need. These things take practice, but I’m psyched to see the person I am about to become.
This is why I say “SWAG: School, Work, and God, but not exactly in that order.” “Swag” is often defined as being something cool or awesome, and that’s exactly what my first year of college has been. But it’s also why I say it’s not exactly in that order. God is first, and everything else comes second. He’s the only one who gets me through the long nights to enter into bright days. He’s my purpose and my one and only truth.
As finals week is creeping closer, I’m excited to see the plans God has for me in the coming weeks. He is so good.
Keep up with me @hopesophie17 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments. Take care!