What I Would Want my College Freshman Self to Know:
2020. What a strange year. And can you believe summer is literally days away from being over? It feels like I’ve been living the same day over and over again. But the reality is, school starts up again real soon. This means for all you incoming freshman, the next chapter of your life begins too. On top of the fear of leaving home, we have been submerged in a global pandemic since March. Many of you seniors lost your graduation, prom, your last day of high school. Many of you probably feel like you have yet to close that chapter of your life. On top of worrying about getting coronavirus, I am sure you have had many worries about what college will be like, who you will meet, how your professors are going to handle half online classes and half in person classes AND you will have to adjust to wearing masks to school and in the dorms and in the common areas AND be away from home.
Dang. That’s a lot, isn’t it?
I feel like I am in a very unique position this year. For those of you who don’t know much about me, I am now a sophomore at Nova Southeastern University, but a redshirt freshman setter on the volleyball team. This means academically I am a true second year, but athletically I am a freshman all over again. I am on the same boat as y’all. I’m going to a new school, playing on a new team, I’m also worried about getting COVID or that I’ll forget my mask one day on my way to class…
Point is, I’m right there with you. And my anxiety brain takes things to a whole new level, especially lately.
But I believe this is a blessing. I am a “freshman” but I also have been to college for a year. I lived out of state for a year. I played division one college volleyball for a year. I have gone through everything you’re going through. The catch is, I haven’t done this in a pandemic. My guess is, neither have you.
So now the question is, what would I want my freshman year self to know? If I could go back in time and show up in one of my crazy dreams what would I say?
I’ve come up with six things that helped me through my freshman year of college (also keep in mind I transferred so these things helped me in more ways than I can express). The first three, all having to do with being a college student, and the last three focusing on keeping the faith in a college setting.
After my first semester, I beat myself up for a lot of the mistakes I made. A friend of mine reminded me that if it weren't for those mistakes, I would have never learned. Life is full of lessons and whether you have to learn them the hard way or not, they still make you into the person you are now. So LEARN from the good and the bad and don't let the mistakes outweigh the lessons. You're allowed to learn. You're allowed to grow. You're allowed to show yourself some grace.
This is huge my friends, you don't always have to say yes to everything. It is okay if you want to stay in and watch a movie one night, it is okay if you would rather study by yourself, it is okay if you don't want to do what everyone else is doing. YOU CAN SAY NO!!!! It doesn't make you uncool, it won't make anyone hate you. Sometimes you have to do what's best for YOU. Be confident in that.
And lastly, this is something I SO wish I knew before I got to school. Ya'll are going to laugh but I am so serious, if you don't find your future husband your first semester of college, I PROMISE you, you will find him one day. Odds are the guys you think could be dating material are not ready for you yet. Guard your heart.
Okay. Now for the deep stuff.
I want you to keep this in mind. None of this is easy. Change is never easy. College is going to challenge you, no questions asked. You will be pushed every day in terms of your faith and who you want to be. My first piece of advice I would like to offer you is to know who you are in Christ, know who He has called you to be, who He has made you to be, and the heart that He loves so beautifully.
Next, the Joy of the Lord will be your strength. During my second semester, I knew I was going to be transferring which was really difficult for me, I really struggled with finding joy in the midst of my circumstances.
This definition of joy really resonated with me: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
Make a determined choice to praise God even when things aren’t going as you had planned, because God is in control of every detail of your life and be confident that everything is going to be alright.
Now lastly. Friend, “In good times, keep moving. In bad times, keep moving. In times of joy, keep moving. In times of sorrow keep moving. In times of pain, heartache, or fear, just keep moving. Experience the emotions and the feelings but good or bad don’t let them keep you from moving forward and walking the path God has chosen for you.” I received this advice almost three years ago and it still is the best advice I have ever been given.
Keep moving friend.
YAY!! We made it through!! I hope within these six pieces of advice you find some encouragement for this new chapter of your life. Friend you are going to SHINE and I hope to cheer you on through it. Reach out anytime, you know where to find me (On insta of course).
Go & Soar,