“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
I graduated from college in the Spring of 2019. It was a huge accomplishment that took a lot of personal effort and a lot of help from those in my support group. When I reflect on my college experience, I can’t help but be extremely proud of myself and thankful for each and every person that helped me along the way. There were a lot of hurdles that I had to overcome before I could roll across the stage and get my diploma. And while there were times where I never thought it was possible, I did it. But of course, graduating isn’t just a finish line, it’s the start of a new beginning.
I felt decently prepared for life after college. There were the obvious hurdles that I had thought about and planned to metaphorically jump over, like finding a job (which, admittedly, can be difficult for a guy who can’t drive and has a pretty limited physical skill set). But then there were other obstacles that I wasn’t prepared for at all. And of all of these unanticipated struggles that came, there was one that I didn’t think would have as large of an impact as it did. I never realized how much I would miss it all.
I miss being a college student. I knew I would miss friends, professors, and mentors, which certainly is far and away the number one aspect of college life that I miss the most, but it’s not the only thing I miss. I didn’t realize how great living on a college campus was for me until I looked back on it all in hindsight. When I lived on campus, I rarely needed to use a car to get where I needed to go. I had relatively easy access to food, friends, my job, a gym to work out in, and almost anything else I needed. Everything was within pushing distance, which kept me in great shape and helped me enjoy the beauty and energy that permeated the campus. Sure, there definitely were days where my body was sore and wasn’t in the mood to roll everywhere, but I even miss that feeling. Not only did those days teach me how to listen to my body and care for it well, but I would be reminded that I was working hard and it motivated me to continue to give maximum effort and to work on my physical endurance And, believe it or not, I even miss going to classes and having school work every day. While I don’t necessarily miss stressing about getting assignments done on time, I loved how it all brought structure to my daily life. I always felt like I was productive and got stuff done each day. No, my time as a college student wasn’t perfect, there were a ton of triumphs, and a ton of lows. But as I reminisce, I see how my time in college helped me grow and develop as a human being. I didn’t realize what I had until it was gone.
My first year out of college taught me how I truly struggle when life transitions from one phase to another. I’ve never really loved change, but this was a whole new ball game. As I started my new life as a college graduate, I often found myself feeling really discouraged. I wanted to be back with my friends and support group that I had, I wanted to be back in an environment where most everything I needed was accessible, and I wanted to have a physical workload and a sense of structure to my day again. Without those things, I felt lost in many respects. I was incredibly unsure of myself and felt out of place once I moved back home. I got easily frustrated and felt unmotivated as a result. I didn’t want to make new friends, I didn’t want to be far away from my mentors, and I didn’t want to have to retrain myself to have to ask for a ride to get to work or to get food, or see friends, or wherever else I needed. Yet, that is exactly where I was. I felt like I was starting all over again and I hated it. I was stuck. I wanted to quit, and it was extremely hard for me to hold tightly to the dreams and aspirations that God had placed inside of me. But even while battling through those thoughts, feelings, and doubts, God still held me close and gave me what I needed in that season. And I believe that the same is true for this current phase of life that I find myself in.
Life isn’t easy. Seasons change, expectations go unmet, and obstacles (both expected and unexpected) inevitably arise. And as a result, it can leave one feeling like I did after graduation: unsure, lacking in confidence and motivation, and wanting to quit. But, like the verse in Galatians talks about, my hope is that we don’t give up, we continue to do the best we can with what we have, and we cling to Jesus tightly. When we do, the truth of the verse will come to fruision as we will reap a great harvest of undisappointed hope, increased faith, deeper love and more. So we fight on because we know that God’s best is better than we can imagine and His love for us that is deeper than we could ever fathom. We all have a unique perspective and stories to share, and I believe that it is oftentimes our perseverance and reliance on Jesus that can make those stories and perspectives so much more colorful and impactful!