THOUGHTS ON MY COLLEGE YEARS

July 30, 2019

Hey guys! Graduation is just a week away for me. With that, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over my time in college and all of the things that I’ve experienced and learned. I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

This isn’t what I thought this time of my life was going to look like. Not at all, really. If I’m completely honest, I thought I would be engaged, starting a “big girl job” and have a much more detailed plan of what my next moves would be by now. 

My college years actually looked so much different than how I had always envisioned that I spent the majority of that time period feeling like I must have been out of alignment of what God had for me. My relationship failed when I thought it would last forever. I didn’t discover some great talent that would make my career path simple (really thought it would happen for me guys). I still battled the same depression and anxiety that made it hard for me to form new relationships and push through the days when I thought I would finally overcome those struggles as I got older. As I’m approaching the end of the years that people typically say should be the “best of your life,” I’m thinking about the fact that from an outside perspective, these years weren’t all that great for me at all. But as I sit here and write about them, I realize that my college years actually were the best they could’ve been for me, and they will truly always hold the most special place in my heart. It’s bittersweet that they’re coming to an end. 

I am really excited about the next chapter of my life — the last 3 years have been a beautiful mix of happy and sad and hard and exciting and draining at the same time, and the Lord used them to grow me. In a way, though, I think I’m going through a bit of a grieving process over the life I thought I was going to have. The little girl in me was not expecting her life to turn out so much differently than the way it always did when she would daydream about the future. When I let myself think about it, my heart is really sad for that little girl. 

Not because I think my life has been some horrible letdown to my childhood self, but because I really believed since I was a little kid that my life could only be meaningful and good if it made sense and followed a romantic storyline. Even from the beginning, I always had an idea of how my life should look, and in my innocence I never considered that maybe God’s plan would end up looking entirely different than mine. 

I can pinpoint specific times during my life, especially in my college years, when I felt like I could see that storybook ending in sight. It was the most exciting feeling to think that things I had dreamt of for so long were actually becoming a reality. But when life started changing and all my childhood visions of the future started to fall apart, I felt like I was falling apart, too. 

I had never even let my thoughts drift in the direction that maybe life wouldn’t look like I always thought. I just assumed that because I loved God and believed in him, then that automatically meant our plans for my life were synced, so everything would just go my way. Needless to say, I learned my lesson real quick and that’s not really how it works. But honestly, praise God for that.

I would’ve never known what I would have missed out on my entire life if the Lord hadn’t allowed certain things to happen. I’ve experienced so much life, love and connection through my heartbreak, insecurities and struggles. If I had never known any of those, I wouldn’t have some of the relationships I have now. I wouldn’t have the empathy I have now. And I definitely would’ve never started writing about anything. 

So many things in my life are still up in the air, and to be honest I still struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression and loneliness and fear. I’m not writing this on the other side of some huge blessing that gave me a specific reason for the pain I’ve experienced over the last few years. I still don’t have the perfect relationship with my parents. I still look in the mirror most days and get upset over things I wish I could change. I don’t have a job lined up and I honestly don’t even have a clear idea of what I want to do. Boys still hurt my feelings. I can’t say that I’m living the life that I always wanted to be living at this point. But, what I can say is that I have so much more faith in the work God is doing in my life than I’ve ever had. I believe so much more in his genuine love for me because I’ve seen how he’s carried me through periods I didn’t think I could get through and how he’s shown up for me along the way. 

I’ve seen God in the conversations I’ve had with friends that left me feeling like someone finally understood. I’ve seen him in the compliments I’ve received that directly contradicted whatever insecurity I may have been battling in the moment. I’ve seen him in the inexplicable peace I would feel wash over me in the midst of my most emotional, chaotic episodes of crying in my room in the middle of heartbreak. I see him now, when I look back at who I used to be and realize I am not her anymore. 

The past few years have been hard, but he has been there and he has been good. I’m so much more aware now of his presence in my life and his love for me, and I really do believe that his plans—though completely unbeknownst to me—are much better than anything I could dream up.

I hope at the end of my life when I think back on all the years behind me, I’ll be so thankful for the heartbreaks, the closed doors and the struggles that led me to exactly where I ended up. This time of life will always hold a special place in my heart — the time when I truly started growing into the person I was always meant to be. I can’t wait to experience the rest of my life.

Thank you to my sweet friend Caroline for taking these grad pictures for me!

Thanks for reading,

Monica

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