BY MADISON LING
College is super scary sometimes. You are basically thrown into adulthood as you try to learn how to live on your own, do schoolwork, and figure out what you want to do with your life all at the same time. And it’s so stressful! But you just have to throw yourself into it and realize that whatever happens was supposed to happen. God’s plan is evident in it all, and when the nuances of it are revealed, it is so eye-opening and amazing when everything falls simply into place, and every choice and decision related to that part makes perfect sense after weeks or months of your not understanding why.
You have to take classes you don’t like. Just accept it. And move on. They will not be fun, but they will be over soon enough. And if it seems impossible, just think that I am an English major and somehow passed calculus in my first semester of college.
Not everyone will like you. And that is okay. Don’t waste your energy trying to force people, because it’s okay to not be liked by everyone you meet. It is far too exhausting. Find the people who make you happy, who treat you how you deserve to be treated, and who give you adventure and exhilaration in the simplest of circumstances, and grab hold of them tightly. I have done both. I have tried to meet every person, every personality type, and make them like me and want to be my friend. But that just isn’t feasible. And so I have reached for the friends I know I connected with immediately and held on to those relationships, because they are far more likely to survive the test of four years of stress and more during the rest of my life.
You will find your place. And it will happen a lot sooner than you think. I had no idea where I would end up once I went to the College of Charleston. I knew absolutely no one. So it was extremely exciting to find not just one, but two groups that I fit into without a shadow of a doubt—the Chucktown Trippintones, and Charleston YoungLife.
I love hanging out with my a capella group, the Chucktown Trippintones. They have taught me how to let loose and just have fun; but also, that structure is necessary for any group, and if the leadership is not pulling their weight or the rest of the group is giving a less than satisfactory performance, it will all fall apart. And when it does fall apart, it will be okay. But the whole group needs each other as we struggle to figure out what went wrong. So it is very important to be there for the people who share in your struggles and your joys.
YoungLife, an organization I never saw myself joining, although I had heard about it numerous times from friends over the years, has been such a bountiful blessing. But as soon as I met the YoungLife group on campus, I felt something different. I saw such a special community within the people that I knew I had to be a part of it. Their mission of reaching high schoolers and middle schoolers “where they are,” and earning the right to be heard by them and eventually bring the Gospel to them, inspired me and completely overwhelmed me, as I knew it was something I needed to do. And nothing has been more validating of that decision than meeting high schoolers just like those I was one of a few years ago who want to hang out with me and share my love of Jesus.
Listen to other people’s advice, but it’s your life, and you have to do what is right for you. So make choices for you. Be selfless, but never let people make your choices for you. You are the author of your own story, so take the pen and write the story that you want, not what someone else wants for you.
Every part of your college experience is valuable, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. The smallest interaction with a person at orientation may not seem big, but they just might end up being one of your greatest friends and your roommate for the next few years. The little moments make the biggest difference. Surprises abound in dorm halls, in disgusting dining hall food, and lecture hall seats. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith when an opportunity is looming. It just might be the best decision you ever make.