This semester started off with an entirely new adventure. I am now wearing red and black, yelling “Go Dawgs!” from Sanford Stadium on Saturdays, exploring the “classic city”, and studying as a pre-med student at the University of Georgia. It’s all very new, but people prepare you for those feelings of enthusiasm and excitement. What they don’t prepare you for is the fear and apprehension.
Nobody really tells you that when you transfer, it becomes pretty difficult to make friends. Your high school buddies will have made homes in new friend groups with whom they’ve already shared a year’s worth of experiences with. Your classmates will already have study groups because they registered for the same classes with their friends from last year. Girls in your sorority will have already bonded after a year in an incredible sisterhood. People in clubs and organizations will have already made such a huge impact on your campus and in this world already, so it’s weird to be the new girl coming in. Simply put, there are days when you feel completely and utterly alone.
At first, I was terrified of the feeling. Whenever I felt it, I called home to talk to my mom, facetimed my best friends from high school, and cried (a lot). No matter how hard I tried, I could not see a future where I was thriving at this new school.
Now we are two months into the semester and… nothing has magically changed. I still feel like I don’t have many new friends, and I still think I’m not experiencing college in the way that most people that I know are. Most of all, I still feel alone.
But there is this really cool thing that happens when you feel like you’re alone. You are forced to start doing things that make you happy. You don’t have people surrounding you and keeping you company and making you laugh all the time. All you have is you.
So you start doing things like going on long runs just for the heck of it (and get lost and have to use Google maps to find your way back to your apartment). You’ll find somewhere to volunteer and get involved in the local community (and find out that working with veterans is something that you really enjoy). You’ll spend more time studying for the classes that you’re taking (because who knew that learning all 206 bones of the human body could be so cool). And you’ll make connections with professors who will learn your name and take an interest in your education (and go get coffee with you so that you can talk about your future career goals).
You start to strip away parts of your life that are no longer serving your present needs or future plans. Instead you find things and you do things that speak to your soul and make you excited about the path you’re on. And there’s power that comes from focusing on what excites you. Instead of being upset about not making friends and not having plans, I am excited about having time alone to get to know my authentic self. I’m maturing away from things like unnecessary fear, people-pleasing, jealousy, and comparison—all of which have at some point held me back. Instead I am moving towards insight, compassion, grace, and (best of all) His plan. I have learned that this period of self-discovery is the very beginning of God showing His hand in my life. He is starting to show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose that is greater than myself.