Ahh the holidays…

A time when you see old faces and familiar places.

A time when you feel like you need to bring an updated resume to every family event.

A time when you’re asked 5,000 questions about college before you even get the chance to hit up your high school friends.

When I was in college, I hated these questions. I hated having to answer with a smile on my face. I hated running into my sweet mother’s distant friends at the Target and being asked by strangers, distant family friends, and family the simple question “HOW IS COLLEGE GOING?”

Their question is fair. Their question is kind. No one means any harm by asking you simple questions. It is their way of showing an interest in you. But every time I was asked questions about college, I was overwhelmed and annoyed. There was one question that stressed me out the most.

It was the simple, “How is college going???”

But I would always say, “IT IS AMAZING. I love it there! Counting down the days till I’m back!” I would bat my eyes, grin with “glee,” and then find any way to leave the conversation.

But the conversation never ended. It would usually switch to “I LOVE seeing your photos on Facebook! I knew you were having too much fun. Do you even go to class?!” There would be a chuckle and a friendly nod…then I would go back to honestly reflecting on my year in my own personal thoughts.

What your Aunt Karen doesn’t see is the 54 you have in the class you are studying your butt off in, the tears you cried about someone you didn’t even date, and the Friday nights you are ashamed of. She doesn’t see the time you were so hungover and embarrassed from your mistake, the stress you feel as finals approach, and how you took majority of your pictures with only “kind of friends” who don’t even know how to properly pronounce your last name.

Yeah Aunt Karen… I forgot to add those pictures in my faceboook album “SOPHOMORE YEAR <3”

I just want to tell every college student who relates to those feelings when asked, “How is college going?” That it is okay. It is okay if college kind of sucks. It is okay if you’re overwhelmed. It is okay if these are not the “best years of your life”.

To the college student who feels this way, please know these four things:

  1. You have nothing to prove. God’s plan is greater for you than the expectations anyone has for you. It is okay to have a bad day. It is okay to have a hard year. No one asked you to pretend life was great. You don’t have to prove yourself. If people only love you when life is great and you’re happy, then they aren’t your people.
  2. Jesus never asked you to put your best foot forward. In fact, Jesus asked for you to “come as you are.” You don’t need to bring a fake smile and a perfect GPA. You just need to bring you. Your weary heart. Your broken heart. Your stress. Come as you are, but leave with the freedom that comes from the gospel…leave with the peace Jesus gives you. Leave with obedience and truth in your purpose.
  3. College doesn’t define you. I don’t care what you did last weekend or at your last frat party. I don’t care what your “reputation” is. The cross is bigger than your reputation. The cross is bigger than these four years. It is okay to struggle in college. Just know Jesus wants you and give you true purpose. This purpose isn’t found in a major, greek letters, or even happiness. This purpose comes from Him. Walk in your purpose.
  4. Look at where your feet are planted. God put you where you are for a reason. He’s gotten you this far. Why don’t you trust Him with your tomorrow? Work towards your degree, don’t allow questions to stress you out, and find purpose in your college years. God’s got you. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

You’re growing. Even when college is hard, trust that Jesus is helping you become who you are supposed to be. College isn’t always going to be great. But it is going to be an experience that grows you. God is at work. God’s got you. So when people ask ou how college is going… don’t be afraid to be honest. Speak truth that even in the midst of the struggle– God is growing you.

(Hi! Praying for your year, even when it is hard. Follow me on instagram for more encouragement @thegracevalentine or dm me if you need prayer)

Photocred: @em.kiefer , @annakatehorton , @louiseellisen , @savyyykayyy

Written by Grace Valentine

I love Jesus, diet coke and sunflowers. I wish I lived in the mountains, but love the two states I call home--Louisiana and Texas. I can watch Criminal Minds all day and dream of one day owning an ice cream truck for fun. However, my main goal in life is that more girls will realize the worth they have through Christ Jesus--and with Him and Him only we are enough.

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