Freshman year, the best of times, the worst of times, and then of course, the quite literally everything in between of times. Today, I took my last exam, packed up my teeny room, and said good bye to the once unfamiliar white cinderblock walls that I can now look at and call home. Today, I remembered exactly how I felt on move- in day; anxious, unsure, terrified, yet so incredibly excited. I remembered the strange, unshakable feeling of uneasiness inside me that came with knowing that nothing was going to be the same anymore. I remembered the thrill in going two floors down to see my best friends, the joy in having campus as my view outside my window, and the sense of independence I felt as my parents officially left me to be on my own. But oh man, I had no idea what the next eight months had in store for me. Absolutely none.
These last few weeks of the semester have been some of the most challenging ones of my freshman year thus far, and for a variety of reasons. People say “it gets better” and “give it time” but I do not believe in that. Freshman year, and these last few weeks in particularly, have taught me that no amount of time can prepare you for certain experiences. No one person can assure you that life gets easier, not in fact harder. No matter what stage of life you are in, what trial you are pushing through, or what victory you are celebrating, it is all about a matter of perspective. It is all about knowing where your trust lies, and where your mind is set; inevitably in our maker and above earthly things. Ultimately, you have to choose to make the best out of any situation you are in, not just “wait” for it to get better.
About three months ago, John Mayer released a song entitled “emoji of a wave”. If you know me at all, you know that seconds after this song was released I was listening to it and analyzing his every word. After I got past the weird title, I fell in love with the song and its meaning. The “wave” he sings about actually symbolizes the hardships in life. The things that are way beyond our control and the things that seem to completely sweep us off our feet. The unpredictabilities in life that he then (and we) choose to cling to are out of fear, out of not knowing.
Cliche as it may seem, John got it pretty dang right with this one (even though he actually gets it right with every one). What people won’t tell you is that freshman year is hard– really. freaking. hard. I do not mean that academically either. I mean that emotionally, physically, and honestly, in every other possible way. Of course it is an absolute blast, but it really does test you like never before. I experienced emotions I had never felt before, and faced situations I had never dreamed about being put in. No matter what feeling or experience I was dealing with though, I always had to remind myself that it really was just a wave. That given circumstance was going to pass, and I had way too many reasons to make the most of my situation rather than the opposite. I was not going to let the wave crash over me, rather I was going to ride it. It took me a while to do learn that, but I did, and my biggest tip to incoming freshman is to do the same. People you are close with now, people you will become close with, they will disappoint you. Do not let those people define you. Do not let the mistakes you make take power of you, because you will make mistakes, we all do. Just because one day, one week, or one month is hard, does not mean it always has to be. God is so good, he will provide, he will totally surprise you, and he will leave you feeling so filled.
I honestly do not know how to sum up my freshman year. I think in reality it is an impossible task, but I am okay with that. This year I grew in so many ways, I made so many dear friends, and I lost some too. I cried, a lot, but I laughed and smiled a heck of a lot more. I made memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life and created stories that I can one day share with my kids. I can hardly even imagine what life was like for me a year ago because of how different it looks now, but I know that I would do this all again if it meant I would know what I know now. I am not sure what sophomore year, or even this summer has in store for me, but I am so ready for it (well, I think). More so than ever before, I am ready for the experiences and the hardships to come my way because all I have to remember is that really, it’s just a wave.