It seems like just yesterday that I was in your shoes. Four years of what I still consider to be one of the best and worst parts of my life seemingly over in one hour-long ceremony. Dressed in my maroon cap and gown I walked across the stage to get that diploma, thinking to myself that nothing would ever feel that rewarding again.
College has been the highlight of my life thus far, and I hope it will be for you too. College is a place to discover who you are and what you stand for. In college everything you know will be challenged, your faith will be picked apart, and you will discover just how tough you really are. There is so much freedom that you never had before; the freedom to choose who you spend your time with, what you devote your time to, and what time you want to be in class (don’t take the 8 a.m.–everyone thinks they can, but they can’t). It will be so much harder for you to make the right decisions, and easier for you to turn your sights from Jesus. I hope that for you, graduating senior, that this is not the case.
I hope you don’t avoid your campus Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM/BSM). I hope that instead of attending a frat party and getting black-out drunk that you will have an ice cream and movie night with your best friends. I hope that you don’t get stuck with someone that drags you down and makes you change who you are. I hope that you stay safe. I hope you fall in love, but don’t abandon your hopes and dreams. I hope that you stay focused on your studies because that is ultimately why you’re in college in the first place. I hope you embrace the all-nighters, the coffee addiction, the opportunities, and the experiences that are unique to this phase of your life. I hope you don’t let anyone bully you to think, believe, or act a certain way. I hope that you use your God-given intelligence to make your own decisions about Jesus and who He is to you. I hope it doesn’t take you three years to follow God’s plan for your life.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'” It is so hard to believe this when you are unable to choose a major. This seems untrue when you are having a panic attack about a paper that’s due. Top all of this with relationship issues, extracurriculars, and today’s society and this simple truth is so easily forgotten. I still struggle with trusting God and His plan for my life as I prepare to move to Texas and attend Truett Seminary, but I’m reminded daily that it is all in His hands. When tough situations come your way over the next four years, you will have to believe that He is in control and that whatever you are going through, He is by your side the whole way.
I want to leave you with the statement that graduating from college is ten times more rewarding than graduating from high school. Everyone you know right now will all be on different paths. When you walk across that stage at your college commencement you can’t help but feel proud of yourself for going the extra mile. You will leave with friends that are closer than any that you had in high school (unless you had a friend like Hannah Haigh). You will leave with more knowledge than you thought you could retain. You will leave more confident in yourself, and more certain of who you want to be.
In closing, I am so proud of you and what you have done so far. I know you have so many great things ahead of you, and I can’t wait to watch you grow. Even if you stay in college more than four years, you take a break, drop out or just go to work, I know that God will have His hand on you. I’m here for you, and you are in my prayers.
A College Graduate