College: More Than Just School, Sleep, and Socializing

People have told me that there are three main elements of college: school, sleep, and a social life; I can only have 2/3. When I first heard that, I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Depressing, yes, but I thought it was such a profound statement. I used to run through different combinations in my head. Maybe I’ll have school and a social life, but no sleep. Or maybe I’ll have school and sleep, but no social life. I didn’t know what to expect, so I couldn’t wait to find out what my life would be like at college.

I’ve been in school for 2 1/2 weeks and I’m gonna go ahead and tell it like it is. The only element of the three that I have is school, and I barely have school. Next week is the week of tests for 2 out of my 4 classes, so this weekend is going to be one giant cram session of information. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about my schoolwork. I’m one of the rare kids who actually finds pleasure in doing homework, but I also find joy in getting to bed earlier than 2 and being able to spend quality time with my friends.

So where did those two elements go? I mean, obviously I haven’t only done school all this time, so what’s a good picture of my sleep schedule and social life?

Sleep: HA. Where do I begin? Every night, I go with my friends, Grace and Daria, to the Watkins Student Center and study. We always go straight back to our dorm once we’ve finished our work, so there’s absolutely no dawdling (other than the occasional shove into a tree)! I have only gone to bed before midnight twice since school started. Then I eventually fall asleep, only to wake up at 7 the next morning. Now this may not sound too bad, and I’m definitely blessed to be able to sleep this much. However, I get really grumpy and irritable when I get tired (my family can attest), and averaging 4-5 hours of sleep every night instead of the usual 7-9 hours that I used to get makes me pretty darn tired.

Social Life: Well, my idea of socializing is eating meals and studying with my friends. If I want time with my boyfriend, one of us makes the 30 minute drive to the other, and we study together. Honestly, I look at some of the students here and wonder they could possibly keep their grades up because they’re always goofing off together. Maybe I’m just jealous..  I should be thankful, though, because I get to go to church with friends and I get to be with people at RUF on Sundays! My life isn’t as pathetic as I make it seem.

I have been blessed with so many good things, even though my circumstances aren’t as ideal as I would like. God has really stretched my ability to love others, but He hasn’t given me more than I can handle. Yesterday I was really frustrated with a cocky guy in one of my classes and as hard I tried, I couldn’t force my heart to love him. I didn’t have a lot of homework to do that evening (surprisingly), so I was able to have some quiet time with God, which made a world of difference for my outlook on life. I read 1 Thessalonians 5, which talks about “putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet,” (verse 8) and I was so convicted. I realized how distracted and selfish I have become because I’ve been so centered on myself instead of on God.

Thus, my conclusion is this: It doesn’t matter whether I have sleep, a social life, or even school. If my heart isn’t satisfied in God, then I have nothing.If God isn’t glorified in my actions, then my actions are worthless. If my insecurities and pride get in the way of my faith and love, then I need to die to myself and find life in God.

My new goal in college can be summed up by Paul’s command in 1 Thessalonians 5:16: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”