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A blessing for college students

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

My dear one,
May you know that you are beautifully and wonderfully made.
Yes, you!
You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are.
Even if at times it doesn’t seem like the truth –
when the responsibilities of life are piling up,
when papers are past due,
when assignments aren’t turned in,
when you realize that you are not called to be a math major,
when you fail that chemistry exam
or when you miss that game-winning field goal –
know that you are beautifully and wonderfully made.
So, my dear one,
go into the world and take risks —
ask that person from your education class out for some fries and a shake,
discover the joys of learning to bake cookies in your Barbie-sized dorm room kitchen,
cheer loud for the strangers around you when they succeed
and eat ice cream with them when they are sad.
Find your path in life.
That is what college is all about.
And as you wander down that path, be sure to take the detours along the journey.
Learn a new hobby with a roommate,
like crocheting sweaters for the stray cats on campus.
Take that art class you’ve been too afraid to try.
You never know what unexpected joy may find you.
Stay up all night with your friends to watch the sunrise over your campus.
Make friends who become your chosen family — for this is a true gift!
As you take these detours,
you will find that college is more than just passing that biology class
or getting a high enough GRE score for graduate coursework.
It isn’t all about the to-do lists or the career paths — while those are important,
they miss the mark.

College is a journey of self-discovery.
It is about delighting in the simple joys that come alongside the coursework.
It is the spur of the moment dance party on the quad.
It is the celebration after the big win.
It is the movie marathon on Sunday night.
It is the weekly coffee date with friends.
It is learning how to do your own laundry,
and wearing that new pink shirt proudly
when you mix your reds and whites.
It is about developing yourself intellectually, morally and spiritually.
It is about finding your voice and the confidence necessary
to bring about positive change for our hurting world.
It is about the opportunities to learn, excel
and lead inside and outside the walls of the classroom.
Take it all in, drop into the deep end of life and work to make the world a better place —
by doing justice, loving mercy and walking carefully with God.
Take the time to ask the questions that have no clear answers.
There will be days of joy and days of defeat.
And in those moments, go ahead and cry — never apologize for your tears,
for tears cleanse the soul.
I know it is a daunting task. It is a lot to ask. It is a lot to learn.
There will be moments when you are scared by it all — life inside the classroom and outside.
Walk confidently into the unknown,
with the assurance that God will be with you every step of the journey.
And when it seems like your path becomes too crooked,
continue to walk, knowing that God is found in the bent places of our lives.
When it seems like the hill you have to climb is too great,
continue to the summit, for God is on that mountaintop.
And when it seems like you have reached rock bottom,
know that you are not alone, for God is surely in the low places of life too.
So, get up, dust your shoulders off and stand tall.
For my dear one,
you have a journey to begin.

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