Wow one week from today I will be graduating from Hope College! I’m currently writing this post from JP’s Coffee downtown and thinking back on all of the memories I have had here. Hope College has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I have met some incredible people and lifelong friends. I asked some of my senior best friends for their wisdom and insight for upcoming freshmen. They have brought so much wisdom, joy, perspective, and encouragement into my life so I hope you find some their wisdom useful for you…
1) Remember that God is the only one that will stay the same. So much will change in your time in college: your relationships, dreams, fears, plans, and circumstances. Yet, He will remain the same no matter what, faithful until the end.2) Don’t let expectations guide your experiences. Don’t have the pressure of these years being “the best years of your life” or immediately having the most incredible friends on the planet or finding the love of your life in the first week! Your experience in college may be amazing but will likely be different than you currently picture. Try to be expectant and hopeful without pressured by specific ideas.3) Try to live free from comparison. You will meet absolutely incredible, talented, attractive, wealthy, intelligent people. Celebrate how great they are, but don’t try to be just like them. You don’t have to change yourself for the people around you, and will develop much better friendships if you do not let comparison rule your relationships.
Find your identity in Christ. Do not compare yourself to others and do not try to seek affirmation from others. Seek affirmation in The Lord and be you. Never stop challenging yourself. Do not put God’s abilities in a box because you have no idea what The Lord has in store for your life.
Take advantage of the many activities and traditions Hope has to offer. College is a time to explore and find what interests you and helps you grow in positive ways. If something if not influencing your life in a positive way, find another activity to participate in. If a friend is no longer building you up, start spending more time with people who do. You want to make memories with people you love doing things you love to do.
Never be afraid to embrace a place and its people so much, that it hurts to leave. Time is a valuable thing; get to know what it’s all about as much as you can. Pursue your dreams, pursue this life, and smile at the little things. “Both faith and fear ask you to believe something that has not happened yet, choose faith.” Always choose faith.
Try everything. Talk to everyone. Join any student organization. Study abroad. Go on May Terms. Have adventures. Have the time of your life. Don’t let fear, comparison, doubt, negativity, judgement, or any other wonder killer stifle you out of what will surely be a wild and beautiful season of your life.
Be who you are, and only you. If you are not sure who you are yet, be the person you want to be and the journey along the way will be ultimately fulfilling.