Wondering where time has gone? Me too. It’s crazy how fast time flies and how much can change in just a couple of years. As I think back to 18-year-old me pulling up to Printy Hall in my family’s truck with two slobbery dogs, I realize that I had expectations as to how the beginning of my 1,000 days would turn out: the perfect GPA, consistent routine, getting asked out by that handsome, godly guy from the dorm across the street.
Here are three areas that the Lord has grown me in from freshman year to now:
Depending on God’s Strength
Transitioning into college and getting caught up to speed with the workload and being away from family is a huge adjustment that takes a lot of work. I remember coming to Cedarville pumped about meeting new people, getting into a routine, and taking classes to begin my degree; yet in the midst of all this, I became exhausted and drained. It seemed like every second of every day was filled with something to get done, and I began to get burned out as I rushed to complete assignments and keep up pace with everyone else.
During this time, I had a senior mentor through SWE (Society of Women Engineers) who encouraged and pointed me to Christ. I learned many things from her, but one thing I kept being reminded of was that as much as I’m trying to, I can’t get through all that I need to on my own — I need God’s strength. As she and I grabbed weekly meals throughout the year, she suggested a book to me that focused on this topic as we walked through trials — it’s called, You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado. As we ate we talked and debriefed life, and she read each chapter out loud to me. I was challenged to be still and just listen, knowing that no matter what I was facing, God would give me the strength to get through it, even if it didn’t seem like a victory to me; His plan prevails and is always victorious.
But what does it mean to rely on His strength, and how do I do that? As I look at this semester, I’ve realized that one of the ways the Lord has shown me how to do this is through simply praying that I wouldn’t be able to function without spending time with Him in the morning — this means having my quiet time with Jesus or even meditating on Scripture as I’m walking to class. I’ve recently been convicted to memorize more Scripture because it is a way to spend time with God even when I don’t have my Bible open in front of me. I try to recite it to myself and hear God speak to me as I’m going through each busy day. This has even come to God testing me on how I rely on His strength: Do I do the homework assignment that is due in an hour, or do I spend 10 minutes in God’s Word praying that He would give me the strength to do the assignment and just surrender my strength to being with Him and letting Him work? While there are many ways we can depend on God, this has been foundational in my daily walk with Him.
Holding Onto Your Right People
The girls in my unit freshman year were a blast! I have memories from Mom and Dad’s ice cream runs to deep late-night talks to laughing so hard that popcorn shoots out of your nose (yep, this happened to me, and it REALLY hurt). While I do miss these times and I don’t live with these girls anymore, it’s been pretty cool to see God bring other people into my life whom I’ve been able to connect with really well and stay in touch with. Here’s the thing about college: You meet so many people, and it’s impossible to stay in touch with everyone. However, you will meet people that will continue to reach out to you, and vice versa, and these are the friendships you don’t have to work so hard for because it naturally ends up working out. I look back at my Google calendar for freshman year and see so many meals and coffees scheduled with people that I don’t keep in touch with anymore, and I’ve realized that it’s OK because I’ve been able to use more time to pour into people where there can be further growth in the friendship that has been firmly established.
Growth is extremely important in godly friendships. One friendship I’ve truly cherished where there has been immense growth is with a friend that I met in my unit during my time in Printy. While we don’t live together anymore, we talk just about every day, whether a simple text message telling me to do my pushups or an hour-long conversation over the phone. I was encouraged when I met her because I saw that she was very disciplined and wanted to grow closer to Jesus, which is something I also wanted as a freshman. We ended up starting a two-year Bible plan, which led us into a friendship of accountability, where we’re both vulnerable with each other about our sin struggles and stay in touch regularly to check in with each other about them. She’s also on my calendar every week to grab a meal, and if there’s time, a spontaneous trip to Walmart or workout consisting of shooting hoops in the gym. Through this friendship, we have both seen growth from when we were freshmen until now, and it’s awesome to reflect with someone who has been through every step with you as they remind you what you’ve been through and notice how you’re growing.
Learning How to “Adult”
While we’re still in college and not fully independent yet, every day gets closer to graduating and stepping into this idea of “adulthood,” where we’re expected to get a job, decide where to live, and learn how to cook. While this all seems daunting, there is a lot of maturing that takes place once you’re at college. Learning how to live away from family and what is familiar is difficult for a lot of freshmen, but it’s an adjustment that takes trusting in God and His timing.
After freshman year, I found myself enjoying being away from home but still taking the time to visit, as I missed family. Before my sophomore year, I lived with my aunt and uncle out of state and stayed with them during the summer, a 14-hour drive away from home (yep, there was no way I was visiting every weekend). During this season of my life, I learned a lot about being away from my immediate family but still having security and being taken care of. A lot of the growth here was mental — realizing I finished a year of college and was starting to make decisions about how I wanted to spend my time when I wasn’t in school or under my parents’ supervision. Last summer, I moved to yet another state, away from all things familiar, for an engineering internship. I learned what it’s like to live on my own without any family, working 40 hours a week and paying for groceries and rent. The internship was unlike any other job I had before, as I had to solve problems and really put effort into the work I was doing as everything was a part of a larger project that impacted another part. After the internship, I’ve been able to view my education at Cedarville with a clear idea of how my future occupation could look, which has allowed me to approach my courses more professionally than I have in the last couple of years.
While I’ve been able to see a lot of development since freshman year, my 1,000 days are halfway done, and soon I’ll blink and reflect on the next couple of years that are taking place right now. To my upperclassmen readers, take time to reflect on your growth and make more initiative to grow before graduation comes. And to my underclassmen readers, hang in there with the Lord’s strength and good community; take note of how God is working in your life now so you can reflect on it later as you grow, that way you can praise Him for it!
Student Life Blogger
- Year & Major: Junior, Civil Engineering
- Favorite Bible Verse: Isaiah 40:31
- Favorite Class at CU: New Testament