After helping with orientation this year and visiting with the new students, I had a grand epiphany about myself: I foolishly superimpose my own feelings of my freshman year onto freshmen! When I ask, “how is freshman year going so far?” my response is always, “ . . . really?” I don’t trust that it could actually be going well and that maybe freshmen are actually enjoying themselves at JBU! That certainly wasn’t my experience at first. And unfortunately, it isn’t for my little sister who just started college herself. When she is texting me about how lonely college is, how it seems like others are making friends when she isn’t and how she doesn’t have a grasp on how to balance all the pressures of college life, I’m brought right back to those freshman days . . . and I am overwhelmed with sympathy and understanding. For those of you who are reading this and who feel the same way, I get it. I really do.
Yet, here I am. Senior year. And although I can easily tap back into those days of feeling misunderstood, lonely, overwhelmed and friendless, those memories make me even more thankful for how God has brought me so far and through so much. Of course I know this year will have challenges and hardships of its own. Yet I have experienced God’s faithfulness in these past three years and have been reminded time and time again of how, even when everything else fails, my God remains the same and is with me through it all.
These past three years have been a bit of a doozy. During my freshman year I experienced tremendous heartbreak. I contemplated leaving my faith during my sophomore year. And during my junior year, my parents divorced and my world was turned upside down.
I realize that is all pretty vulnerable to share in the Threefold! But I want you to know that I don’t think I would be anywhere close to where I am in my relationships—with friends and with the Lord—if it wasn’t for all the support offered here at JBU. Through all of the growth and learning I have had some of the best days of my life here at JBU. Late night Sonic runs and Swepco swims, Bible studies and prayer times, weekend nights getting creative about what to do in Siloam by going on Walmart scavenger hunts . . . I will never forget these sweet memories, nor the ones that I will make this year.
I encourage you, my fellow readers—brothers and sisters—to take advantage of the resources around you. We are surrounded by wise and knowledgeable faculty and staff who we can talk to. We have the great opportunity to worship with one another three times a week and hear the Word in such a powerful way in Chapels and at the Gathering (you want to know how many times I have cried in chapel!?). And we are all surrounded by a community of unique and special individuals who are ready to dive deep into relationship with one another. Be intentional. Take advantage of it. Don’t be a recluse. Get involved. And . . . HAVE FUN!
As my time at JBU begins to close, I am realizing more and more of how priceless and rare these times are. I pray that we will take every opportunity to be thankful and content during these days, and that we will live selflessly and honestly with each other. May we sharpen and grow one another to be the best we can be in Christ. We are so blessed and in such a great place, receiving a wonderful education. Be thankful. To Christ be all the glory.