College Year One.

May 17, 2016

A week ago today, I packed up my college dorm, said my goodbyes, and headed home after completing my very first year of college. My emotions are all over the place as I am happy to be home, but so sad to be ending such an amazing school year. College was one of the best things to happen to me, and I seriously cannot believe my first year is already over.

College has been an experience I could have never imagined.

The hard times were HARD and EXHAUSTING. Being away from home, away from my comfort, was tough. Even with my two very best friends by my side, I often longed for the life I was so used to. Tests, essays, and projects seemed to all pile up at once. There were nights where sleep was sacrificed, and energy drinks were the only things getting me through. Sufficing for myself proved harder than expected. Who knew keeping toothpaste and toilet paper in the bathroom could be such a struggle? Everything was so new. I had to learn to adapt to the ways of UTSA. I ventured through campus just hoping I’d find my place, and struggled to fit in. It was all so tough, but it was all so incredible, and so worth it.

Oh but the good was so GOOD. The people I have met, the places I have gone, and the things I have done have been so incredibly amazing. I could not have ever pictured things going the way that they did. I walked into college lost and a little confused. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but figured it’d work itself out eventually. I thought that I would join a sorority or something that would make me “popular”. I pictured myself at parties with tons of friends. I had this new freedom, and I was ready to run wild with it.  But God had other plans for me. I had no idea that I would be completely transformed over the past 10 months. The Lord rocked my world like never before. He provided me with friends and experiences that all pointed me to Jesus and to joy.

Young Life was something I never saw coming. It kind of fell upon me really. I had no idea that ministry was even a thing in college; so finding out that there was such a large Christian community on campus was both exciting and a little weird. I remember being pursued by a number of girls from various ministries, and not really knowing what to do. Somehow, I was lead to YoungLife, the organization I had frowned upon throughout high school. I never understood how YoungLife worked. My second week in college however, I landed myself in the first YL Club of the year. This YoungLife thing has captivated my heart. Through my precious small group, Tuesday night club, and a number of trips, I have fallen in love with Jesus in a way I didn’t know was possible. Because of YoungLife, I now know the real meaning of community. I know what it truly means to love and to do life with others.  I thank God for this incredible community of believers for changing my life. To be quite honest, before YoungLife there was no real meaning to my life. I had no idea the value of this life that we live, and the opportunities we have to share the love of Christ. I was living life for me, but I now realize that none of this is for me. This life I live is for our precious Lord who gives my life more meaning than this whole world ever could. I could not imagine my life without being involved in YoungLife. This semester, I went through leadership training, and was placed on UTSA’s college team. I am so thrilled to lead and love on my own peers through this loving community. YoungLife has truly shaped, molded, and made college so great for me in my first year.

This year was all about distance for me. I had never been away from my family for more than a week, so going months without seeing them definitely shook things up. Being raised in a super close family, I knew very little about the “outside world”. I only knew how to live life the way I was raised to. College was the first time I got to do it on my own. I LOVED IT. I absolutely loved being on my own. Being away, I got to create a life for myself. I chose what I ate, what I did, and how I got things done. Everything from my sleeping schedule to the church I went to was all up to me. I realized the power of distance, and why it is important in relationships. After 18 years with my family, I wasn’t sure how I would do life without them, but I was really excited to find out. I left for college at just the right time. I needed to be away. I needed to do life on my own, and I needed to figure out my path. Being away, I learned to love my family harder.

This year my faith experienced tremendous growth. I thought I was in a good place with God, and I was. But I thought that I didn’t need any more of Him in my life, and I did. I realized that I was farther from Jesus than I thought. The Lord has revealed Himself to me in so many ways, and I can’t believe I was so content with the relationship I had with Him before. Our relationships with God are ever-growing. Just when we think we’ve reached our peak, there is still so much more to go. This was definitely made clear to me as I continued to get closer and closet to the Lord. Jesus really rocked my world this past school year. I am still so amazed at the transformation God has done in my spiritual life. I think about my plans to attend fashion school in California. The Lord literally redirected my steps so that I would be walking directly towards Him. I am so grateful.

This first year has taught me so much about myself. I am constantly reassured of my calling to teach and my heart for others. I have learned to love and to love deeply. I have found that journaling, blogging, biking, and “uke-ing” bring me so much joy. My time alone has allowed me to discover my best qualities, and my time with friends allowed me to share them with others. My relationship with nature has become more positive with the many trips, hikes, and camps I have ventured to. I have learned to let go, and to live life to the fullest no matter what. Most of all, I have finally been able to say and believe that I am okay. That its all okay, and if not, it will be. My world is full of peace and joy, and my heart is full of love.

UTSA has changed my life. I am so grateful for all the memories I have made, and all the relationships I have built. Going into this, I would have never imagined such a full life I school. I never thought leaving for summer break would be so tough. And I would have never guessed that my passion for my school would be so strong. I know there won’t be another year like my freshman year, but I know that there is so much in store.

Share your opinion:

  1. Girl, I just finished my freshman year of college too!!! IT WAS AMAZING!!! Your experiences and lessons and joys bring joy to my heart as well and encourage me to pursue others with greater love and humility. YoungLife sounds great! My college doesn't have YL, but I got rather involved in both my church and the BCM. Community is something that I never understood but finally feel like I graph a bit more, although I'm still learning. Your lesson in community really encouraged me.

    Unlike you, I stayed at home for college, but that doesn't mean that it still wasn't new and exciting. God really taught me joy and steadfastness and diligence and love. I'm incredibly grateful for my freshman year of college and can't wait for more great years!

    Great post, and super duper glad to meet you Destinee!!!

    1. Isn't it so much fun?!?!
      Thank you so much for reading and for your sweet comment.
      Destinee Nicole | A Dash of Destinee