Sunday, August 23, 2015

dear freshman girl: advice from a sentimental senior

dear freshman girl,

tomorrow is your very first day of college classes, and if you're like i was the night before then you're pretty nervous about making sure you get it all right... not walking into the wrong class, making sure you show up on time, making sure you don't come off as TOO much of a freshman.

from a senior's perspective, here's some advice that i wish someone had told me when i was in your shoes:

it's okay to miss your parents. all those pretty, fun, outgoing girls you see in your dorm that seem to not have a care in the world? i promise-- they're missing their parents as much as you are. speaking of parents, they're your biggest fans. they're in your corner. they're your people! (try to) include them in what's happening in your new life. :)

lean into the loneliness.  you know that gross, uncomfortable feeling that's making you want to run as fast as you can back to everything you knew at home? embrace it. be all here. all of this is just helping you form into the person God created you to be. i promise, the loneliness doesn't last forever! it takes time to find friends as good as you had in high school. you had four years to form those relationships. don't freak out because you haven't made them by the end of the first weekend! before you know it, you'll be friends with people you absolutely adore, and you'll have no idea how you lived 18 years without them. hang on to those people.

don't be worried about everyone else. it is so easy as girls to become insecure. so what if susie in collins 302 has perfect teeth, bright blue eyes and a magnetic personality? the biggest lesson i've learned in college is just because someone else has something we wish we had, doesn't mean we have to subtract something from ourselves. nothing good ever comes from comparing yourself to others. this is the time to figure out who you are, what your passions are and what kind of person you want to be. speaking of insecurity...

instagram isn't real life. no one ever posts an ugly picture of themselves on social media. i'm a big fan of artsy photos with deep and profound song lyrics and/or quotes. i've had to gut check myself about my motivations for posting photos. but don't let that picture of the girls on your hall having tons of fun at a party give you FOMO or the insta of your best friend's perfectly arranged picture of her bible, journal and coffee cup at common grounds make you think less of yourself. because that's the enemy trying to plant lies about your self-worth in your head.

your faith will probably be tested. if not by other people, then you yourself will start to have questions. if you were raised in a christian home, then you know how easy it is to have "your parents' faith". now is the time to make your faith your own. there's never been a time when God has flipped me around more than college. he loves you more than you can imagine, and he's better than any other thing you think could bring you fulfillment. i hope that you experience him in powerful ways over the next four years, because there is nothing sweeter than seeing the evidence that God is right there with you, walking you through everything you could possibly experience in college!

find a church or campus ministry to get involved in. i church hopped my first two years of college and couldn't find a place to settle, but once i did, it made ALL the difference. my church is one of my safe places. i absolutely love it. join a small group. these people will sharpen you, encourage you and push you to be everything God has called you to be.

go to class. need i say more? don't let the professor who doesn't take attendance trick you into thinking you don't need to be there. if you don't go to class, you're going to end up at home because i highly doubt your parents are going to want to continue to pay baylor tuition if you're failing your classes due to a lack of trying. trust me, those conversations are not fun.

finally, have fun. these are some of the best years of your life. meet people-- there is something to learn from every single person you encounter. take a road trip to dallas or austin with your roommates. go watch the sunset from the top of a parking garage. take naps. order pizza late at night while you're watching a movie with your friends. roll down the windows in the car and sing really loudly. ask to hang out with that older girl that seems cool. who knows? she might end up being a mentor to you.

i would go back and do college again, with all of its ups and downs, in a heartbeat. it goes by way too fast so please don't wish away these days!

love, a very sentimental senior

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