Anticipating College

This past weekend I went to a William & Mary Early Decision networking reception (That was a mouthful!) For new readers, you can read about God’s faithfulness in my college decision here. I was super nervous about the reception, which was strange because I usually don’t get that nervous about meeting new people. But here I was, entering a room with hundreds of people I didn’t know, so concerned with making a “good” first impression. The first few minutes of the reception, I started regretting my decision to come. It was overwhelming. Hundreds of students, parents, and siblings were packed into a small, stuffy room to mingle. Mingling is not my specialty. So I was there, standing awkwardly in the corner eating some snack food, surrounded by lots of other people who seemed to be a having a relatively good time. And then my mom and I noticed another girl and her dad standing near us. My mom was like, “Phebe, you should go talk to her.” And I was like, “But I don’t know what to say.” After about 60 seconds of deliberating, I got up enough courage to awkwardly say, “Hey, I don’t know anybody here but wanted to introduce myself. My name’s Phebe.” (Yay!!) Well, as usually happens, when I stepped out of my comfort zone, everything was fine. We talked for a little, then met another girl who felt just as out of place as us.

Then they separated the students and parents. Now I was especially glad I had met someone. A threesome makes everything better. We walked out into the much cooler lobby and began to yet again – mingle. During that time I think I repeated my name and school about a bazillion times as I met my future classmates. To my surprise, everyone seemed nice and welcoming even if a bit awkward and nerdy (but what do you except for a bunch of future Tribe students meeting each other for the first time?). All that to say, I didn’t need to freak out before. God was faithful yet again! Maybe I should start learning??

Meeting future students got me thinking a lot more about this crazy thing called college that I’m only a few months away from starting. After the reception I’m now a lot more excited, but my fears haven’t been erased either. (Praise though for having my first political conversation with someone of different beliefs and being able to articulate myself decently.) I thought it might help to assess some of my excitement and fear so I can look back and see how God answered them.

5 Things I’m Looking Forward to:

#1: Meeting new people. After having grown-up losing best friends every three years, I start getting antsy to meet new people. I am really excited to meet creative, passionate students who dream of changing the world.

#2: Being in a community of people who want to learn. One thing that frustrated me in middle school and high school was the lack of seriousness about schoolwork. While I like to joke as much as the rest about the pain of school, I actually do enjoy it. And I work a lot harder when I am surrounded by people who want to learn.

#3: Having a community around me. Sports. Clubs. Classes. All done together – as a Tribe.

#4: Exploring new interests. Our first-year experience counselor encouraged all of us students to try something that we have no expectation of mastering. Maybe I’ll try fencing, or yoga, or African dance. Oh, the possibilities!

#5: Being on my own time. While I’ve been making my own schedule since 4th grade, I have still had a family to work with. It will be nice to get to do things when I want, without having to make sure five other people don’t have anything else going on.

5 Things I’m Scared About:

#1: Missing my family and home. While I know it is natural to miss them, I don’t want to be homesick all the time. I’m scared to find out that I can’t survive without them.

#2: Feeling isolated. Even though we are all a Tribe, what if I can’t find like-minded people? What if I feel alone and like I don’t fit in? That’s what I want to leave behind. What if the struggles of college are a continuation of high school?

#3: Falling into unhealthy habits. I am so used to eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping 8-9 hours. Will I get to college and not have the time to take care of myself? I don’t want to always be complaining about how tired I feel.

#4: Changing my beliefs. I want to grow stronger in my faith during college, not falter. I want to solidify my political and moral views. I am worried that I won’t be able to tell truth from lies in the midst of secular students and professors.

#5: Regretting my decision. What I am honestly most scared about is getting to college and discovering that I made the wrong decision.

So there you have it – all my feelings about college strewn out on the web. Great.

In answer to all these concerns and anticipations, God provided Scripture. This morning I finished reading the book of Job. At the end of Job, God finally answers him and his friends. He responds to their questions, anger, and so-called encouragement. The gist of what God says is “Who am I?” God asks, “Where were you when I established the earth? Have you ever in your life commanded the morning? Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding?” (Job 38:4, 12, 36). My favorite part is found in chapter 41, where God describes the Leviathan, a terrifying creature who cannot be controlled by any man. Only God is in charge of this creature. He asks Job and his friends, “No one is ferocious enough to rouse Leviathan; who then can stand against me?”

Job’s answer to all of these questions is what our answer should be to God every time we doubt: “I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted,” (Job 42:2).

As I was reading this 5 chapter long discourse between God and Job, I felt incredible peace. Who am I to be afraid? Who am I to doubt God’s plan? All I can do is walk step-by-step in His will, trusting that He will take me all the way.

I am insignificant. He is sovereign.

– – Phebe

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