This past week I walked out of my dorm one last time realizing that my sophomore year of college was done and that I was halfway to completing my degree. As I walked outside to put away my luggage and bags I stopped and looked at the sun and the rays of light that were shining off the buildings. I remember thinking to myself maybe this is life and then I was on my way home. As I think back to my first days of college, I am amazed and surprised with just how different I was back then, and how much I have changed since. I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on my journey in college and what it has taught me about myself and of life.
It has been said that your perspective changes over time with many things, and college is no exception. I can remember my first weeks of freshman year of college being an absolute blast, from meeting so many people to all the fun activities and that feeling of being free to do whatever you wanted because hey your parents were not on campus to tell you otherwise! It was honestly a great introduction to college and my hopes and expectations for the rest of the year couldn’t of been higher, but time has a way of changing things. After about the first month of college I began having these very troubling thoughts about some of my friendships and it was very confusing because here I was spending time laughing and bonding with these amazing friends and yet at the same time something inside me was telling me to just walk away. I was conflicted internally and I had a very difficult trying to make sense of why I even had this thought in the first place. The more I gave this thought time and the more I prayed about it, the more I realized that I had to make the painful decision; and that was to leave my friend group. I know, it may seem like it doesn’t quite make sense with why I chose that way, and I am still wrestling with everything. But I think that this very tough decision taught me something about life that is so important, and that is at some point you have to do what’s best for yourself. It sounds selfish but I learned from that decision onward that in life you have to make yourself a priority sometimes, and sometimes that means saying no to certain things and that means being honest with what you think or how you feel. Even tho it was honestly devastatingly to leave behind such a close knit group of friends, I gained something about me that I carry to this day: the confidence to believe in myself.
As my first semester was wrapping up I was introduced to some other people and I quickly grew a friendship and relationship with them. We laughed a lot and had similar interests such as music and style. We bonded so well initially that we even started an Instagram account called “men’s style and class” and got some photoshoots, life was definitely looking better for me. However that would soon not last long as there was some issues within the friend group that ultimately lead to the group disbanding. I’m the passive person in a group and so I wasn’t the one causing the tension or anything, but I still felt that I had a responsibility to make sure everyone was on the same page even if they didn’t all agree with each other. It was tough, spending time with different people in a friend group, but it also taught me a whole lot about friendships and the importance of putting in effort in any relationship. I learned that it’s ok to only have a couple friends to spend time with, as long as you are intentional and willing to be friends with that person. I also learned that like any relationship, it’s not perfect like you imagine it to be and there are disagreements and very uncomfortable relations that exist in a friend group. What matters is if the members in the group think it’s worth the extra mile to stay together, and unfortunately in this case that wasn’t so. And to this day while I still may have a few questions as to why things ended up the way they did, I cannot deny how blessed and happy I was to spend my time with such amazing people. As me second semester began, I was about to be challenged in a way I had never imagined.
I did my best when the second semester began to be optimistic about my friend group and my relationships. But even in just the first week I began to feel less significant, and this would push me to a breaking point. No I wasn’t going down the path of suicidal or even depressed, but it was definitely one of the most confusing phases of my entire life. I was completely torn between choosing certain friends in the group and it got to the point that I decided to not invest anymore time and effort in any of the friends, and so I became isolated and retreated to myself. I can only recall one other instance where I felt this completely deprived of life and meaning, and that was my struggle in high school. So what got me through this? Music, once again. As I turned inward for comfort I started to pour my distress and despair into the music that I wrote. It was during this solitude time that I wrote perhaps my greatest works of music, and in due time I wish to reveal that music to the public when I feel is the right time. As I look back at this very personal phase of my college experience, I see now that this very lonely phase helped strengthen my passion for music, and I can only give glory to God because of that. I also realized looking back on that experience that I hurt some friends and I also hurt myself, (Emotionally) but this journey does have a happy ending.
As my second semester of freshman year was wrapping up, I made another big decision. I began to realize the meaning of a true friend and I became more aware that the people who stay in your life are choosing to be in your life for a reason. All it took was a shift in my perspective on everything and I soon discovered that some of my friends whom I thought left me never left me in the first place, that was what I thought and believed. During the final week I remember going back to those friends and seeing if we could help each other pick up from the last time, and we did, and they are my closest friends to this day. It is beyond words to describe how grateful and thankful I am to have such friends in my life, and it is even more mysterious and profoundly beautiful how God works in my life and in everyone else’s. When I came back for my sophomore year of college, I was already laughing and picking right back up with them from the first day. I have realized another very important lesson about life through all of this: Having faith through everything and seeing the good in people. Do I still go through phases of uncertainty and hardship, absolutely. But the difference between before and now is that I have people who actually care about me and accept who I am, and that makes all the difference. I have gotten my heart broken twice in just the past year, but I have the friends and family to support and help get me through it all. Will I ever know some of the answers to my questions about relationships and love, maybe, maybe not. But I don’t think that is the point. The point I see is to experience life and to understand your purpose for being here, that’s all there really is. I don’t need to know all the answers or even have it all figured out by now, that is the process that college takes you. It is all about learning and understanding yourself and then discovering your calling in life.
When I look back at all the changes that occurred within my life and myself, as much as I am surprised with how I got here, I look ahead higher with the curiosity and wonder as to what is to come in my future college years. I am sure that I will continue to grow and be challenged in new and exciting ways, that is ok. After all, life isn’t fun without a little bit of challenge. What college has taught me more than anything is myself, and to have the courage to accept and love myself. Simple, yet profound, that is life.
Thank you for reading this.