Reflections On My First Semester

Final exams for the first semester are coming up and I am really excited. Seriously! I’m not being sarcastic at all! Of course, I’m excited for the wrong reasons, but maybe wrong reasons are actually the best/only reasons to be excited for exams. You see, final exams not only symbolize blood, sweat, and tears, but also my survival through my first semester in college. If you’re reading this as an upperclassman or a graduate from college, you’re probably mentally laughing at my excitement because you’ve survived through so much more. Props to you, but surely you felt my excitement when your first semester in college neared to a close!

If you’re a freshman and you don’t understand why finishing this first semester is such a big deal to me, then let me fill you in: When I was in high school, I compared my work to what I expected college work would be like. For example, when I was a junior, I had to write a 15 page paper on Hirschsprung Disease for my Anatomy and Physiology class. While everyone else in my class complained about the workload, I saw the paper as the assurance that if I could write a 15 page paper now, then I’d be able to handle my freshman year at college. Don’t get me wrong, that paper was really tedious and annoying to write, but I felt a pressure to be able to handle writing the paper. I have never felt ready for college. In high school, I didn’t feel smart enough, or organized enough, or mature enough. I was that really annoying teenager who actually wanted to write longer, harder papers in high school because I believed that I needed more preparation so that I wouldn’t crash and burn in college.

Get the picture now?

Now that I’m at college, I feel so silly for worrying about not being ready for college. Yes, the workload is not easy, but it is doable. Granted, a lot of my day is allotted to classes and studying, but that’s just how I work. I don’t even feel as stressed in this last week before exams than I probably should feel. The anxiety and stress will probably kick in on Sunday night, but hey. I’m gonna enjoy the good feelings while they last. 😉 I still get to rock climb, hang out with friends, attend RUF, play pool, exercise, and be a member of SCA, so I’m really content with where I am right now. I may not have partied or gone on late-night Walmart trips as much as other students, but I’ve still had a really fun semester. I’m seriously super thankful for having a smooth transition to Erskine and for the students who have reached out and befriended me even though they definitely didn’t have to.

God has really used this first semester to teach me a lot of things about the relation between life, myself, and Himself. For example, I have a better knowledge of my limitations and faults, and I know what I need to work on so that I can be a better minister to the people around me. In the past, I would get crushed and ashamed when people could see my mistakes and imperfections in my bad grades, my snappy comments, and my disregard for people’s feelings. You see, one of my biggest flaws is that I put so much value in having a good reputation. I constantly struggle with wanting to do good things because I want people to think I’m the most dependable, coolest, and godliest person ever, and because I want to bring glory to God through my actions by being a light in the world. It’s a struggle between being vainglorious and being humble. That’s why I try to cover up any mistakes that I make. This semester, God brought my hurtful words and impulsive judgments out into the public, which both hurt and humbled me. I’m not saying that I’m perfectly selfless or loving now, but I definitely have learned to better love and cherish the people around me. I’ve also better realized how amazing and beautiful God’s presence is, and that when I’m not finding my joy in Him, then I’m not truly happy. According to John Piper, God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. My prayer for this next semester and for semesters to come is that God will teach me and other students to be solely satisfied in Him.