The new school year. New school supplies, new teachers, new schedule; all-around, a time oozing with opportunity. As a freshman in college, however, the start of a fall semester can be just as overwhelming as it is exciting. You are meeting different people every day, you are experiencing independence like never before, and the pressure to succeed, both socially and academically, is lurking close by.
A few notes on my first year at college:
- I stayed up until [what seemed like] 4a.m. the first 3 nights. How could I sleep when there were so many new people to talk to?
- I cried almost every single time I spoke to my mom on the phone. Please tell me I was not the only one!
- I am almost positive that the amount of pop-tarts I consumed permanently damaged my digestive system. I regret nothing.
- It was one of the most significant years of my life, especially when it came to my relationship with God.
I share all of that to, hopefully, normalize what you might be experiencing as a college student, but also to point to the fact that I think that investing in your spiritual life is a worthy pursuit during this time of life.
You may be thinking, ‘Ok sure, lady, I’ll go to that Bible study. I definitely have time for that in-between my Calculus test and my Spanish paper!' And I get it – with all of the transition that goes on (especially during your first semester), it probably feels like adding something extra is impossible. If, like me, you grew up in a Christian home, you might be considering leaving God on the backburner until you finish school or start a family. Or if you didn’t think or talk about God growing up, now might not seem like the best time to start.
In the Bible, those who pursue a relationship with Jesus are offered peace, and described as having hope beyond the ins and outs of their daily life. Psalm 1 paints the image of a tree planted next to a stream. They are in a place where they can grow and soak up everything that they need to thrive.
Now, please don’t take what I’m saying as a guarantee that if you follow Jesus, your life will go perfectly and you’ll ace your calculus tests and Spanish papers. Life is difficult at times, and so is college, no matter how you spin it. But for me, being part of a weekly Bible study and worship service set a trajectory for the rest of my life, shaping my relationships with God and people.
We’re here to learn how to be a grown-up, right? Why should spirituality be excluded from that journey?