The time when many of my friends set out to begin or continue their college adventure and I, well, don’t.
Trust me when I say that it’s been a journey of reliance and surrender for me to accept that college is not where I am supposed to be right now. And that the month of August is especially hard because it seems like all anyone ever talks about (minor generalization) are class schedules, move-in day, and last-minute important details ~ conversations in which I cannot fully participate.
However, before you get the idea that I plan on sitting around moping all year, waiting to figure out what to do with myself for the rest of my life, let it be known that while some uncertainty still remains, I am greatly excited for what The Father has in store for me this year! It has been so much fun coming up with ideas and making list after list of ways to fill my time, and it has been wonderful seeing certain details fall into their pre-ordained place. I’ve begun to envision my main goals for this year and I am quite literally thrilled to begin experiencing them! So without further ado…five ways to thrive when your friends leave for college.
1. Engage in community.
Simply because you aren’t in a situation where you are “forced” to meet new people and make new friends, doesn’t mean you have to sit around hopelessly longing for the good times with all the people who are away at school. It just means you have to take a little more initiative! Having a community of peers and mentors who will uplift and encourage you in your walk with Christ is oh-so-very needed as you grow. Take a step out of your comfort zone and attend your church’s young adult ministry, get involved in a Bible study in your area, organize get-togethers with co-workers, start corresponding with out-of-state acquaintances, go out for coffee with an older woman you respect, really take time to get to know your siblings, you fill in the blank. Sure, it may take a little extra effort on your part, but the relationships and experiences gained will be well worth the process!
Take this opportunity to look outside of yourself. How can you meet the needs of other people? What is the best way you can serve this year? In what ways can you exemplify the love of Christ to the people in your everyday life? And how can you use the gifts God has given you to uplift the body of believers and show grace to those who need it most? Look around, and be willing to involve yourself and get your hands dirty for the kingdom of God.
3. Tackle your bucket list.
Maybe you won’t be able to tour Europe or find the cure for cancer, but I’m sure some smaller “yes-this-needs-to-happen” moments can easily be accomplished with both a little strategic planning and a healthy sense of spontaneity! After all, who doesn’t want to pay a strangers tab at a restaurant or bake in the middle of the night for no reason at some point in their life?
4. Linger in God’s presence.
Has your heart felt anything like mine recently? Pressured, stressed, overwhelmed and pulled in twenty-seven different directions at once? Are you craving peace? Do you have deep desires that can only be fulfilled by the Lover of your soul? Make time to learn, listen, and sit under the teachings of God himself this year. Develop a desire to be with him, digging deeper, allowing him to draw your heart ever closer to his. Take time to stay in his presence. He will satisfy.
5. Keep learning.
School and learning aren’t synonymous, believe it or not, and you can continue broadening your horizons without a full-time class schedule. Finally pick up guitar! Get started on that stack of books you’ve wanted to read or spend hours giggling with children! Develop a hobby, intensely research something completely random, or adventure outdoors! Intern or job shadow in your fields of interest, work on your DIY projects, and ask lots and lots of questions! Even if you aren’t any closer to those fancy letters behind your name, you’ll have succeeded in doing a whole lot of living. And hopefully had your share of fun doing it as well!
Blessings on the year ahead!