To the Freshmen,

We have all been there. The wonderful thing about the college experience is that there are always going to be people who have gone before you. They have taken the classes and lived in the dorms. They have found the balance of commuter life and found community. They have found their friends and experienced heartbreak. They have been built up and torn down. We have all been there. 

We all know that the transition into this time of our lives is so hard, and honestly, really weird. Maybe you have a semester under your belt, but it still feels like a lot. You are not alone in that feeling. As I walked through my freshman year, I had a few dear friends who were well into their time here at Biola that held my hand and pushed me to keep going. They were always there to love me and impart wisdom on how to get through that crazy time of life. I know how manageable their advice made my freshman year feel--how seen I felt by their words. 

Here are a few things I have learned or wish I knew during my freshman year. My hope is that you would feel seen by these words and that you would know that you are not alone in this. 

  • Let yourself fall apart. You do not have to have it all together.
  • Find friends who feel like home. The people who speak in love and truth into your life are going to be the ones you want to have around for the rest of your life. 
  • You may not feel like you are growing. It can be so easy to compare your growth to the people around you and feel behind, but a year from now you are going to look at where you are now and see how it got you there. 
  • You are paying to be here, so be a good steward of your education and the different opportunities available.
  • Get involved. I know that it was so scary to step out and into new places on campus, but don't let that hold you back from all the great things to come. 
  • Guard your heart because it is precious.
  • God is real, alive, and wants to know your heart more deeply. He also wants to challenge you and your thinking. He wants to invade the sinful parts of your life and make you whole, so let Him. 
  • Go to office hours with your professors. There is always more to learn. 
  • Take advantage of the wonderful resources we have available on campus. Some of those include Biola Counselling Center, Pastoral Care, Spiritual Direction, Career Center, Biola Library, and Academic Advising. There are so many people who want to help you walk through this season of life. 
  • It’s okay that home doesn’t necessarily feel like home anymore. At the end of the day, no place is truly home on this side of eternity. 
  • Find time to spend alone. You may miss out, but not as much as you think. Take the time to reset and recharge.
  • If it is at all possible, reconcile with those people you had a falling out with. You never know what God could do with that. 
  • Be confident in who God has equipped and called you to be. 
  • Spend time in the Word outside of your assigned reading. God will speak to you there. 

A friend of mine always says, “Nothing stays this way.” So, when difficulties come your way, persevere because the pain will fade. Savor the sweet moments too because even that won’t stay this way forever. Enjoy your time here because you are exactly where you are supposed to be.