Today I am sitting on the front porch of my campus housing reflecting back to freshman year. Because what else does one do before beginning senior year?
At this moment in time, I am absolutely psyched to live with my three friends. We’re a pretty weird, funny, approachable group of people and I love them all dearly.
I am excited to be an RA for a second year, and to get to know the fellow RA’s in my neighborhood. It’s a great, laid back group of people.
I have found my Hope fam in the people of the Emmaus Scholars Program and the Physical Plant. It is a beautiful, beautiful feeling to know that you are known and loved by a group of people that honestly have no reason to know you or love you.
I made connections with a small number of professors and hold them near and dear to my heart. I’m thankful for the conversations I’ve had with them and that they have taken the time to help me grow in my time at Hope.
I am glad that I found my ‘spot’ at Lemonjellos, a local coffee shop. I go there often enough that I can recognize the baristas and many of the friendly faces inside the shop. It’s a comfortable place for me to study or chat with a friend.
I am able to live out my love for music in the Brazilian Drumming Ensemble!! It brings me great joy to finally play percussion and to continue my passion for music.
I wish freshman Kirsten could know this.
Freshman Kirsten lived in a dorm full of great people, but had a difficult time making deep friendships. There were many nights spent wondering why she wasn’t good enough to be a part of the multiple friend groups that had formed in her dorm.
She struggled to find Christian community. This is a Christian college, for goodness sakes! Shouldn’t it be easy?? No matter how many churches, bible studies, or groups on campus that she tried out, she never felt completely welcomed or like she fit in.
She had absolutely no idea what she wanted to major in. The pressure was intimidating and the options were overwhelming.
The people around her kindly encouraged her to make connections with her professors. She didn’t understand how she was supposed to connect with these people that she had known for such a short period of time. It was hard enough to keep up with classes, why was it so important to get to know these gen-ed professors?
The only safe place she felt comfortable in was in her dorm room. Most often, the door was closed.
Since she played the clarinet since middle school, it only made sense for her to join the wind ensemble. But she was only doing it because she needed something to do, something to put on a resume, not as something that she overly enjoyed.
Freshman year is overwhelming.
In order to get from point A to point B, there was a long process that was messy and not always fun. It was hard, friends.
Looking back at this journey through Hope, I can see all of the ways that God was working for me. He would calmly lead me toward the Emmaus Scholars program to provide open and honest Christian community, take away a job to give me a new (and honestly, much better) one, give me a sense of belonging in my major, break relationships in order to provide fresh, new friendships that would help me to flourish, used those hard experiences of loneliness to ignite my passion of loving on people that feel like outsiders.
All here at Hope. A place that I wasn’t sure I would be able to afford in multiple spots of my time here. A place where I felt uncomfortable and like I didn’t fully belong. A place that I loved but felt alone.
Patience is a hard thing. Waiting is a hard thing. I hate to be that person that says, “just wait little one, it takes time.” But I think it’s true. During that time though, you can’t just be sitting on your butt waiting for your dream to come true. You have to work hard for what you want. Live out your dream in little ways daily and listen and watch God as He guides you along the way.
Life is hard, adulting is hard, college is hard. It’s all tough, but I fully believe that it can be a joyous celebration along the way. A celebration of growth, moving outside of your comfort zone, and experiencing new things.
God is at work all of the time. Even when we don’t know it. If you’re in a hard place right now, I encourage you to pray. To ask God why. He has created you for mighty things and He won’t let you go through anything alone.
I’m trying to think of how to conclude this blog and wrap it up with a bow, but I like it as it is and I hope you do too.