I started my Sophomore year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth yesterday. It felt good. I was energetic about all of my classes, catching up with friends, meeting new people, being challenged, getting to know my professors, doing music again. All of the things! When I came back to my apartment, I sat down on the couch and started to think about my other first days of school here. Last Fall, I was excited- but nervous. I only knew one kid, my roommate, and I was so anxious about being alone, not being smart enough, making the wrong college choice, I lost what is probably a cumulative of days of sleep by the end of the year over it. This disorientation greatly affected the outcome of my year. I wasn't able to find a lot of people to study with, and I wasn't sure what it meant to be a good roommate. How to take care of myself mentally, physically, and socially while kicking butt in school and being an awesome roommate- that was a challenge that brought me in way over my head.
Fall semester Freshman year, it ended well-ish. But I was devastated with my inability to perform well in all the aspects of my life. I could not relinquish my desire to control my anxiety, school, personal life. As much as I tried to tell myself, and pray about it, I could not trust in the sovereignty and omnipotence of God. I needed to fix every situation, and I needed to know what was going to happen. Honestly, that was Freshman year in a nutshell.
Once I was accepted as a research assistant at the Colorado Center of Biorefining (or Bioredining as my backpack so beautifully displays) and Biofuels, I began praying that God would challenge me this summer. I would no longer be in the safe bubble of my hometown community, nor the folds of my favorite place to spend my summers- Flaming Pine Youth Camp. I was going to meet new, different people, have totally exotic experiences, and be pushed and pulled on to deeply reconsider the direction that my personal life, spiritual life, goals, and potential future careers were going.
To put it simply- God really knows how to answer prayers. As one of my friends told me when I had summarized my summer to them- "When you ask for a challenge- God REALLY loves to give you a challenge!"
She was right. I was stretched and prodded and stepped on, encouraged and discouraged, loved at hated, ridiculed and praised. All in one summer I was given a crash course on how different the world can be from the sweet home of familiarity.
But it was exactly what I needed to be re-energized for this year. To grow in confidence in who I am, what I believe, who I have faith in, why I'm going to college-- how God is going to lead me through it.
So as I prepare for another full day of classes, meetings, and a lot of free food (I LOVE the first week of school!), I am encouraged to think that while the excitement for learning may fade away, my confidence that God's hand is in my life will not sway. That He has put me here for a reason, and He knows who I am, and He'll always be there, no matter if my grades are good, I'm anxious, or scared of the future.
I believe that about you, too. You've got this- because God's got this. No matter what happens.
BRING IT ON SOPHOMORE YEAR
(but really, I should be careful what I wish for)