I’m writing this from a makeshift desk set up under my loft bed, surrounded by the chaos of a mostly-unpacked and partially-organized life. I didn’t know I had so much stuff until it was all laid out on the floor of my room. It’s a little terrifying.
But anyway. I am home — or, well, as much as I can be while I’m living in this world. My family lives here. My heart is sort of tangled up, though: here in southwest Michigan where I grew up, and in Pittsburgh where I spent three years, and at the college I’ve just left, and the camp in the U.P. where I really belong. And, now, all across the United States, as all of my dear friends scatter to their various homes.
Growing up hurts.
In honor of a year well-spent, here are seven things I learned from college, interspersed with seven songs that I learned to love this past year.
(Why seven, you ask? Well, because seven is my favorite number, and small enough that I dare say I can come up with seven things to say without sounding like a complete fool.)
1 // you can find friends if you try
I’m shy, guys. I’m afraid of large crowds and I don’t like talking to new people. But somehow I left college with something like thirty friends? (I tried, and failed, to count.) How on earth did this happen? I still ask myself that question — I really think it just happens without you knowing how — but part of it is that I did try. I said hello to people. I went to events even when I was afraid to do so.
One of the best things you can do is find clubs you think you’ll like, especially if they’re really niche, because you’ll be able to connect with people there who share the same niche interests as you. (This advice mostly applies to college students but really to anyone who goes to school. Homeschoolers, I’m sorry. Start some clubs or something.)
(I was homeschooled and I don’t regret it a bit. That’s why I can make fun of homeschooling.)
My learning was all done at home, that’s why I’m such a fool ~ “The Orange and the Green”
The best friends I made were through Lutheran Society, Poetry Saturday, a writing club, and the classics honorary.
2 // once you have those friends, stay up late with them whenever possible
I didn’t get enough sleep this semester. I don’t regret it.
Well, I do regret the time I wasted on my phone or computer, and the time I spent procrastinating and then paying for it, but I don’t regret a minute spent talking to friends. I don’t think anyone ever does.
(Also, I did actually get at least seven hours of sleep most nights! More often, eight! You can, in fact, get good grades, get [almost] enough sleep, and hang out with friends. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do all three.)
3 // go to church
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:12-17
If Christ didn’t die and rise again, then your faith is in vain — that is, it’s stupid and you shouldn’t bother with it. But if He did, then regardless of your doubts and worries, your frustrations with doctrine and theology and your confusion about denominations and sources of authority —
He matters more than anything. More than all your human confusion and foolishness.
Go to church and worship Him and be fed by His Word and sacraments.
Think about the doubts, too. Ask questions and read books and study and pray —
But first, go to church.
4 // read books that aren’t for school
It doesn’t matter how busy you are, take a little time to read something for fun. This past semester I managed to read The Ballad of the White Horse, Sisters of Sword and Song, and Piranesi, in addition to all my schoolbooks (and a few other fun books during spring break). Did that cut into my homework time? Absolutely.
I’d do it again.
6 // don’t procrastinate
It really is the worst thing you can do. You’ll do it anyway. You’ll suffer the consequences and swear you’re never going to do it again, but then you will.
(I speak from much experience.)
Don’t do it.
*glares at self*
7 // go on long walks outside
Pray, sing, read aloud, or just bask in the silence. Find places that make you happy and walk there. It could just be the grassy bit of your campus. For me, it was the graveyard and the arboretum (and the park down the street… but I didn’t go there nearly enough; ah well, I’ll discover the old abandoned farmhouse *next* year).
Even if you have homework. This is important.
bonus // do homework
Just saying. You kind of need to turn it in sometime. Grades and all that. (Also, you might learn a thing or two — who knew?)
In case this post makes it seem like I never ever did homework, I assure you that I did. In fact, I got good grades and I learned (many things).
With prayer and lots of careful time management (and many nights of yelling at yourself for not managing time well), you can have fun and do school. It’s possible.
Kind friends and companions, I’ll be homeward bound in time.
3 thoughts on “year one.”
I am going to college this fall and so I really appreciate this post. So good.
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This is so beautiful and relatable! I just finished my first semester of college, and also procrastinated far too much, yet somehow got good grades. My favorite part was ‘go to church’ – it was all so, so true.
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[…] One last thing before I go: I am still thinking of writing about my sophomore year of college. Do you have any specific questions about it (what I did, advice, etc.)? I can easily ramble for a bit and call it a post, but I would love to talk about things people actually want to hear. (Here’s what I wrote after freshman year.) […]