What Advice Could My Freshman Self Possibly Give Me?
In the first part in this series, we explored advice you could give your freshman self: Comparison is the thief of joy. Failure is not fatal. The sun will come up tomorrow. However, with the second part in this series, I would like to flip the question: What advice would your freshman have for you currently? As immature and unknowing as my freshman self was, I can still learn a few lessons from her. Your freshman self might say to you:
1. Live. Don’t just survive.
As you grow, experience life, and go through semesters at college, living and surviving can blur. At HU, we don’t just want to go through the motions, and knowing the difference between living and surviving is crucial for a strong foundation.
Living: to lead an exciting and fulfilling life
Surviving: to continue to exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship
You may be simply trying to survive the long days of studying, having meetings, answering emails, and going to internships and practices. However, when the necessary work is done, it is vital to live in a way that is fulfilling. This isn’t just advice your freshman self thought up; Jesus also gave this command in John 10:10 when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Jesus is calling you to defy complacency and the tendency toward just “surviving.” With the busyness of life, you may forget to take space for fulfilling activities that promote peace. Living a fulfilling life looks different for everyone, but how you spend your time should bring you a sense of happiness, peace, and gratitude.
2. Change is necessary, and you will make it through.
As you anticipate graduation, internships, student teaching, or clinicals and all of the change, work, and emotions that come with these, it is easy for a sense of dread to come flooding in. However, you can be confident in the future because of the situations you have come through to arrive at this point. My freshman self reminds me that I have been through major change before and have come through it. I graduated from high school in the wake of COVID-19, moved to a new state for college, was quarantined four times during the fall semester of 2020, and still somehow managed to establish roots at HU. Many others have gone through difficult situations and transitions when entering college and have thrived. Change is part of life, and when you remember to embrace it instead of dread it, growth can happen.
Affirmations are a helpful way of staying grounded during change or when anticipating change. When stressed about the future, you can repeat truths to yourself that stem from your experiences as a freshman and God’s Truth: I have made it through before. God is faithful to provide. I am strong. Life doesn’t always go my way, but God has a purpose. Change is necessary, and I will make it through.
At HU, you have the opportunity to grow and change in a safe environment. Growth requires looking back at the past and gaining inspiration to surpass your current comfort level. Luckily, your freshman self is one of your biggest fans and is rooting for your success. Take some time to connect with memories from your freshman year and remember to live, not just survive. Also, try to understand that the change you are facing is necessary, and you will make it through because you have before.