I heard a saying once; “the days are long, but the years are short.” As cliché as it may sound, it could not be any truer.
The day I stepped onto Oklahoma Christian University’s campus as a freshman, I remember feeling the usual excitement of a first-time college student, but I also remember feeling a sense of something more: hope, growth, resilience, courage––all of the things I discovered in my four years as an Eagle.
Some people say, “College is the best four years of your life.” For me, while I know these past years will be some of the best years in my life, I know they will certainly not be the best. College is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but if you use these years right, they will be some of your hardest years.
These are incredibly formative years of your life. While I will always cherish the fun memories I made these past four years, when I look back on my time at Oklahoma Christian, my favorite memories are times of grit, challenge and growth. I am not the girl I was when I first rolled my suitcase into Gunn-Henderson. I have grown so much in four years.
My biggest hope is every student who steps on this campus and any other college campus will also have the courage to grow. Sure, have fun. Enjoy every minute. But, if you allow yourself to remain comfortable, you will never grow.
The lessons I learned as a student have shaped me into who I am today: hopeful, resilient, courageous. Allow me to pass them on to you.
Lesson 1: Fail. Fail miserably.
Disclaimer: in college, you will inevitably fail. So, fail big. And when you do fail, do not just sit there and wallow in the misery of your failure. Get up and try again. People often label failure as something to avoid at all costs, but through my times of failure, I have been able to grow in ways I never thought possible. Failure produces growth, strength and resilience if you allow yourself to learn from it.
Lesson 2: Get uncomfortable.
The Talon has meant so much to me these past four years. I have met such incredible people and made friendships I will treasure for a lifetime. But here is the thing: when I first joined as a freshman, I was very uncomfortable. I was the only freshman surrounded by upperclassmen, and to say I was intimidated is an understatement. I wanted to be comfortable and secure, not intimidated and insecure. Yet, if I had not allowed myself to remain uncomfortable, I would have missed out on so many things. It is like that old quote, “A ship at harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are meant for.”
If you stay comfortable, you will inevitably miss out, whether it be with relationships, a job, a professional opportunity, etc. Do not allow yourself to stay comfortable forever.
Lesson 3: Embrace uncertainty.
It is so hard to be a “young adult.” When we enter college, we are supposed to automatically know what we want to do for the rest of our lives, and from that point on, the pressure feels never-ending. Do not allow the pressure to rob you of this time in your life. Guess what? Chances are, you will change your major. You are not “less than” for changing your major or not having a clue what you want to do with the rest of your life.
A few days ago, a dear professor of mine asked me what I was planning to do after graduation. I shook my head and meekly responded, “I have no idea.” To my surprise, he looked at me, smiled and said, “You’re young. You’re so young. You have plenty of time.”
In a time where you think you need to have everything figured out, just embrace the fact you most certainly do not and that is okay. Use this time to try new experiences, meet new people, apply for a cool internship––wherever you think God is leading you, just go without hesitation.
Another run-down cliché I have always loved is “everything will work out.” I promise you it will. It may not work out in this hour, or this day, or this week or even this month, but it will work out.
If you believe the promises of God––which I hope you all do––then you have nothing to fear. He has led you to this moment of your life, and he will continue leading you on. Trust him.
Thank you, Oklahoma Christian, and thank you to the Talon for helping me find my voice. Always an Eagle.