August 12, 2013
#seniorstruggles #senioritis #thelastyear #finishthedrill
These are the hashtags I have been deciding between as I document my senior year at UGA on Twitter. I’m a big fan of consistency, so I can’t really let the year begin tomorrow until I choose one. If we’re being honest, #seniorstruggles will probably be the most fitting since struggles are my favorite and funniest Twitter topic, but I’m hoping there will be some successful stories to share along the way. #Senioritis is played out and I think I never fully recovered from it after high school. #thelastyear is too much like #thelastsummer, which I’ve used for 3 months. My friend Scarlett suggested #finishthedrill. Duh.
That was the winner, but I’ve gotta admit, I don’t really want to finish the drill. I love almost everything about college and my life here in Athens. All summer I have weighed my options of staying on an extra year. But grad school is expensive and I don’t think Hope would cover another semester if I failed out now. Most of my life I have battled the desire to live in fast forward, always looking forward to the next big thing. But for once in my life, I am finding myself sticking my feet out in front of me, digging my heels in to try and slow down time.
It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about leaving home to come here.
“Come Wednesday, it’s time to leave. It’s time to start over in my new town. Get lost on new roads. Venture across my new campus. Make new friends. Audition for new groups. Form new routines. Find a new roof to sit on. Develop a new role in the community.”
– Aug. 10th, 2010
I have finally figured out the loop. I’ve explored every inch of campus, from the tunnels to the rooftops. I’ve joined more groups than I have time for and I love my busy routine. I have found my role in this community. Just like I knew I would. And I’m already dreading having to give it all up.
Yes, it is partly because I am attached to my home here, but it is also largely because I fear the vast unknown that looms past graduation. Like many other Seniors, I have no plan, or even much of an idea, of what my next step is. There have been fleeting moments over the past year where I have thought I had it figured out, but as life has changed, so have those plans. Now I am back to ground zero, feeling much like I did on the first day of freshman year, without a major or any real idea of how to pick one. Forever undecided.
As the summer has drawn to a close, this reality has begun to settle and weigh on my mind. And the more I worry about my future, the more I forget about my past. A past that has testified to God’s faithfulness every step of the way.
I went to Toccoa on our BCM leadership retreat last week and some guys from Connect Ministries were up speaking one night about God’s faithfulness and the importance of remembering all He has done. In Joshua 4, the Lord commanded Joshua to place twelve stones as a memorial to God providing the Israelites a way across the Jordan river. The Lord commanded them to remember His goodness and His provision, as a reminder of His faithfulness.
This anxiety about my future is very familiar. It’s the same anxiety I felt on this night 3 years ago, unsure of what classes to take. I remember the frustration I felt when people would tell me “you have time” and “you’ll figure it out”. I also know now where those people were coming from. I find myself smiling when a freshman tells me they are “undecided”, because I was in their shoes and I have made it to the other side. Why? Because God was faithful and He guided me along my journey from major to major. He was beside me every step of the way.
I can see that now as I look back on it. I changed my major 6 times. Usually in the middle of the semester. Changing majors more than once is enough to set most people back. And yet here I am, on track to graduate on time with two certificates and a relatively light schedule. Every class I sweated over on withdrawal night has filled out my coursework perfectly. I love my major and God has already allowed me to use it to serve Him.
I look back on many Sundays spent church hopping my way across Athens, always tagging along with different groups because I never felt at home in any of them. I remember the frustration I felt at being so unsatisfied. And now I have found a church home at Oconee Heights Baptist, where God has provided me with community and a family to serve alongside.
I remember the stress of deciding on roommates to move in with after freshman year, feeling torn between different groups of friends. Tonight I sat in our kitchen and swapped feelings of denial with the girls I have shared addresses and life with the past two years.
I read through tear-stained journals, documenting the pain and worry and brokenness that have occurred over the years, and turn the pages to see healing, growth and answered prayers.
I have felt like I’ve stumbled through college blindly, never having any direction, but it is so clear as I look back that I’ve never walked alone. God has worked out my story with perfect timing and perfect knowledge all along the way.
I so often confuse uncertainty with insecurity because I neglect to remember God’s faithfulness. As I look back at where I’ve been, I can look forward to an uncertain future with confidence and excitement, knowing that He is taking me to better places still. We must remember the full spectrum of our stories and preach God’s faithfulness to ourselves. When we do, it is so much easier to face tomorrow with hope.
I look forward to senior year and all that God has in store for it. I commit to neither rush past it nor dread the ending of it. I will finish the drill.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord. Yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work and meditate on Your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy.” -Psalm 77:11-13