Today is the day I graduate from college. I can not believe I am actually writing this. How did this happen so soon? How am I old enough? So am I like a real adult now? Oh wait, I’m already married and living on my own, so I guess I have been an adult. Again, not sure how the whole “adult” thing happened.
Three and a half years ago I graduated from high school, and that doesn’t feel that long ago.
Me and my big bro at my high school graduation.
Graduating from high school was a big deal because I was leaving the small town and people I knew to move off somewhere else and make new friends, but I was still just going to be a student. My whole life, I just kind of figured I would go to college, but now that I am done it feels a little weird.
Ever since I was probably ten years old I have wanted to be a teacher. Now I am graduating with an education degree and have a job I will start in January as a full-time teacher. So now is when I am expected to be a “big girl” in the adult world, but I still feel like a kid at heart. I still feel like I have so much to learn. Am I prepared for this “adult world”?
Today, I want to share with all of you some of the things I have learned in college. None of these things have to do with math, English, science or history. It’s not going to be something I memorized. However, what I am about to share, I think, is so much more important than these things. College taught me some lessons that will help me through the rest of my life.
1. The Lord has His own plans for my life, and most likely, they aren’t anything close to my plans, but they are way better than any plan I could ever imagine.
If you would have asked me my plans for college when I graduated from high school, I would have told you that I would be in college for four years so I could enjoy the whole experience (didn’t happen, I graduated in 3 and a half), maybe I would study abroad (nope), and of course I thought I would still be dating the guy I was with in high school (because we all know how often high school relationships work). Oh and obviously I would never get married before I graduated college because I was going to get a job, work, and save up some of my own money first. (obviously didn’t happen!)
Instead, while I was in college the Lord brought me out of a relationship that wasn’t growing me closer to Him, and brought me to Ryan, my best friend and love of my life. He is a man who loves the Lord with His whole life and lives it out. Ever since we started dating Ryan has brought me closer to Jesus, and he continues to do this every day. Instead of studying abroad, I became active on campus and enjoyed spending my time with Ryan and all of our friends playing intramural sports and having fun in whatever way we could find! The big one I never saw coming, I got married at the young age of 21 when I still had a semester left of school. From a worldly point of view, this didn’t make the most sense, especially from a financial point of view, but we knew this was what the Lord wanted. The Lord has been faithful and has provided us with everything we need. I couldn’t imagine not being married now! Thank goodness the Lord had such an amazing plan for me, and thank goodness nothing I planned on happening actually happened!
2. My parents always have, and always will support me no matter what.
I have been blessed with the most supportive parents anyone could ever want. But even when I know it hasn’t been easy for them, they continued to support me. This past January, Ryan and I went on a week long mission trip to Mexico with our BSM (Baptist Student Ministry). With all of the bad things that have gone on in Mexico, my parents did not really want me to go on this trip, and I totally understood where they were coming from. However, I felt extremely strong about the fact that the Lord wanted me to go on this particular trip for some reason. When I told them I made my final decision to go, they fully supported me and prayed for me the whole time.
When I started dating Ryan they loved him immediately (obviously, everyone does), and totally approved of us dating. When we had only been dating 10 months and got engaged, my parents totally supported us. When we told them we wanted to get married as soon as we could after Ryan graduated, they still supported us. Because I know my parents, I know they knew it was risky for us to get married right after Ryan graduated because there would be so much unknown. We didn’t know if Ryan would for sure have a job. If he did have a job, we didn’t know if it would be a good one, and of course I wouldn’t have graduated yet. I know my parents were aware that this wasn’t the best financial decision, but they totally supported us, and this meant the world to me and is something I am so thankful for.
3. I will always be a kid at heart.
I always felt like at this point in my life I would feel like an adult, but I don’t. I still like to go outside, and I can’t wait for Santa Clause to come on Christmas morning. Being an adult is overrated.
4. Enjoying where you are in life and having fun is a choice.
My first year of college was not the most fun experience of my life. I always missed home, and it was extremely hard for me to go back to school after the month long Christmas break. But I also wasn’t very involved my freshman year of college. My sophomore year of college, I started dating Ryan, got more involved, and made more of an effort to have fun. From then on, I LOVED college! Instead of staying in my room all night by myself, I would go and hang out with people. If you don’t make an effort to have fun and make friends, you probably won’t enjoy where you are in life.
5. True friends are hard to find, but the few you have will always be there for you. And no matter how long it’s been since you have seen them, it will be just like no time has passed.
I only have a couple of friends from high school that I still even talk to, and I know those girls will always be a part of my life. Shelby has been my best friend since 5th grade, and even though we don’t get to see each other very often, I know she will always be in my life. If I needed her tonight, I have no doubt in my mind she would be by my side as soon as she could!
Picture of Shelby and I from our junior year of high school.
6. I’m not superwoman. I can’t do everything, and I don’t need to try to do everything. I am just a weak human who needs the Lord’s strength to get her through everything life throws at her.
When I was in high school I was a part of pretty much every extra curricular activity possible, and if I could have some type of leadership position, I felt pressured to try to take on that role. I learned in college that I don’t have to do everything. There are a lot of good extra curricular activities, but I don’t have to be a part of all of them. I have to pick and choose, and pray about what the Lord wants me to do. I will completely ware myself out if I try to do everything. The Lord has shown me that I need to do what I can, and let His strength get me through everything.
7. I need to be humble.
Nothing I have or do is because of me. The Lord has given me everything, and I give Him all the glory. Anything I have done in life is because of Him, and if I ever forget this and become proud, I will be going down a very dangerous path.
8. People will discourage you and not believe in you. Get over it and forget them.
I was told my freshman year of college I will never get a job as a teacher because it wasn’t a good profession to go into right now. Then I was told I especially wasn’t going to get a job since I was graduating in December, the middle of the school year. All I can say is I have a job as a full time teacher that I get to start January 6th. Don’t let others get you down. Haters gonna hate!
9. Sometimes it’s good to not try to do so much work in advance and just have fun.
This is something Ryan has definitely taught me. Before I started dating Ryan I was that person who would have all of her projects and papers done way before they were due. I know, I was a total nerd. Once Ryan and I started dating, I was way too busy hanging out with him and having fun to worry about something that was due in seven weeks. So instead of trying to always be ahead, I just learned to enjoy the moment, and I knew everything would eventually get done so I didn’t need to stress. (Ryan still has to remind me of this a lot. Thanks babe. 🙂 )
10. I will never have it all together. I will never know everything. There will always be more to learn. The people who seem like they have it all together don’t; they are just really good at acting like it.
Nothing ever goes perfect, and this world is so big I will always be able to learn more. I want to always keep this mindset, because the more open I am to learning, the more I believe I will learn.
11. Prayer is powerful and alive!
I always knew this because I was taught it, but I really got to see this first hand and experience it for myself in college.
12. Finally, I learned what a Godly relationship between a man and woman is like, and I learned about the love that a husband and wife feel for each other. I truly learned what it means to love someone more than yourself.
Ryan is, without a doubt, the best thing that happened to me in college. He makes me happier than anyone else, and he makes me laugh more than anyone else. He knows everything about me and still loves me. He is so mature beyond his years, and I love how he leads me through his faith in God. Before Ryan, I had never been in a relationship with someone who made me a better person. The love that comes with being husband and wife is just amazing.
Sorry for the novel of a post, but I had to share these things. I learned more these last few years at college, but these were the ones I wanted to share.
What have you learned the last few years of your life?