The excitement has started to wear off or it’s worn off completely. “Syllabus week” is over, assignments are piling up, midterms are approaching, you miss your mom’s cooking. Good news is you’ve probably settled into your groove and worked out juggling your classes and extracurricular activities. But the bad news is reality is setting in. You’re on your own. And the big decisions are on you.
College is a big responsibility and it can seem like it’s too much for you to handle sometimes. But when it feels like it’s all too much for you to handle, where do you go? What do you do?
My first semester in college started out great, my roommate and I got along and went to breakfast together most mornings, my classes seemed pretty doable, I liked the way most of my professors were teaching and honestly it felt like a step down from the work I was doing in high school — probably because my classes didn’t go all day and didn’t meet every day.
But then the newness wore off and things really started to pick up the pace. On top of that my roommate stopped talking to me pretty much altogether. It was right before Fall Break and I had two midterms coming up, a group project to finalize and the first rough draft of a pretty big paper due. And my computer stopped working.
The library IT guys were able to get my computer running again. But most of my notes for the midterms, my portion of the group project report and the seven-page rough draft I had spent hours and hours on, were all gone.
Thankfully for some of those things it worked out alright. I didn’t do great on the midterms, but I did okay. And the group of people I was working with was so understanding and helped me out on the project. But the rough draft was due the next day. And my professor couldn’t do anything about it. So I did what I could, but turned in a half-completed assignment that was worth a huge chunk of my final grade.
To top it all off my roommate left me a note when she left for Fall Break asking if I’d be willing to switch rooms with someone so she could have a better time with them.
And I felt like a failure. Like I wasn’t cut out for college. Like I should’ve stayed home.
(As a quick sidenote: There’s a university in my hometown that I refused to go to. It’s a great school, but I knew I needed to get out on my own and out of my comfort zone in order to make friends.)
So I started to question how “right” God was in sending me to this school (because I had prayed A LOT about where to go to school and before all of this felt really confident in His answer). Or how He could’ve allowed me to be paired with a roommate who didn’t even like me. Or how He even could’ve let my computer break right in the middle of the semester when I needed it most. And how was I supposed to trust Him with these big life-changing questions and decisions when it seemed like I got burned on this last one?
And then my mom, without knowing all of what was going on (I hadn’t told her I was currently failing the class with the paper and couldn’t see how I could possibly pass the class, or about the note I had just found from my soon-to-be-former roommate), sent me a text of Bible verse references dealing with fear and anxiety and why God tells us not to worry. The first one still stands out to me six years later:
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
Whatever you’re going through in college, or in life, when it seems like it’s too much, that you aren’t cut out for this, that you can’t see how this is going to end up going well for you, turn to God. Turn to His Word. Turn to trustworthy Bible study leaders or pastors and your parents if they are strong believers.
Ask God to show you His will and His plan for your life and how it fits into all of that. You probably won’t get the big picture. But ask Him to soothe your mind when it seems like too much and ask for direction when you question if it’s the right way.
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)