"I dwell in possibility" ~Emily Dickinson

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If I could go to college all over again.

Posted on: 7.20.2013

(This sad neglected little post has been hiding in my draft folder for months! Poor little guy.) 

My youngest brother just came home from a preview weekend at a college in Arizona and although he is still a sophomore in High School, I just can’t believe he is already old enough for college to be on his mind. I thought he was going to stay six forever. 

His conversation this evening has stirred in me some thoughts that have been on my mind recently. They bring up several emotions - a combination of nostalgia, joy, regret, and relief. {I wouldn’t believe that those feelings could co-exist if I wasn’t actually feeling them myself -- the spectrum of feeling in the human experience is remarkable and often contradictory, I find.}  So aside from my feelings about my college experience, I thought it might be a helpful to write a list of the advice I’d give to young students embarking on the adventure that is college. (And by “helpful” I mostly just mean therapeutic...) Here it goes:  

(In no particular order.)

It is just fine - and normal - to go through a period of homesickness. People around you may say they’re not homesick and if that’s true, good for them (?). You are not a weak person for having emotions about such a big change in your life. 

You have a plan. I get it. It’s pretty solid and awesome and you’re going to change the world. But if your plan changes or you feel led to take a different path (aka change your major) you don’t have to feel like you’re the only person on the planet who has ever been at a crossroads. And if you come across that crossroads multiple times ... I’ll chose an arbitrary number, sayyyyy five times.... you are still capable of world-change. It’s good to have a plan, it’s even better to allow God to change them. 

If you have any desire to study abroad. DO IT. Do it. Do it. Do it. Don’t be complacent about it. Pursue it. Take longer to graduate if that’s what it takes. I’m almost positive that it’s worth it. I say “almost” because I never studied abroad and it is one of the things I regret most about my college experience.

Enjoy the stage you're in.  How cliche is that!? I certainly don't take enough advantage of this advice in regard to my current season of life, but I'm always ready to bestow such advice on others. What a hypocrite I am. But seriously, enjoy college life as much as possible. Enjoy the all-nighters in the library in your sweats even though you feel nearly dead with exhaustion and stress. You just might look back on that misery with fondness. 


  1. I needed to read this phrase tonight, "It’s good to have a plan, it’s even better to allow God to change them."
    It blessed me to tears.
    Miss you, Natalie.

    1. I'm so glad that those words were what you needed to hear! When I read that particular quote in your comment I immediately realized that my subjects (singular and plural) don't match and I was pretty worried about it for a few seconds. Then I just thought, eh, who even cares!? But I thought you, as an educator, would appreciate my little grammar-attack moment. :) I miss you too! I have NOT been very good about keeping in touch recently - I'm sorry for that.

    2. I didn't even notice the grammar error. All my years teaching fourth grade I think destroyed much of my grammar. That and living in Missouri - we ain't known for our grammar here.

      No worries about keeping in touch. I'm just as bad. I'm just glad to get to hear about your life via the internet.

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