Everything I Learned in Four Years: Part 5

I was flying to Dallas to put on an event for my new job and I pulled out my Moleskine mid-flight. While I felt cliché writing the words, I forced myself to write the words “What I learned in 4 years of college:” on one of the pages. As I stared out the window as we soared above the clouds, I tried to look back over four years of college and boil down the most important lessons I learned so I could share with others who were about to enter college, are in my same shoes, or need to be reminded. I jotted down a list of 13 on the flight. In no way is the even close to an exhaustive list, but, as I look over them, they define some of the most important moments of my college experience. While it is all to easy to write endless posts about each statement, I do not want to get lost in the meticulous explanations of rationale that led me to think why I do. I want to offer just enough structure and guidance for you to find yourself in my experiences, in hopes that something I have learned may resonate with you and offer a new perspective to view this season of life. Enjoy.

  1. People will walk in and out of your life. [Read]
  2. Know who to hold onto and who to keep open-handed. [Read]
  3. Get involved in a local church. [Read]
  4. Live with people who will challenge you. [Read]
  5. You never know who will become a close friend.

Freshman year has a rush that comes with it. New city. New campus. New classes. New place to live. New people. There is a kind of rush to meet people and make friends because you do not want to be the one left out. But, like I said before, people will walk in and out of your life, and that is okay. The “but” of that statement is this… but you never know who will become a close friend. You can match up personality traits, likes and dislikes, commonalities, and social groups, but, at the end of the day, you probably could not predict the people you will be closest with at the end of four years–I know I did not. In fact, many show up in the most unlikely places. For example, I met my friend Addison at a mutual friend’s birthday party over the summer last year. I am not the most outgoing person at parties, but for some reason or another we some how stumbled through awkward conversations, began to hang out more, and became really close friends. I met Austin and Henry freshman year. We were from the same town but I never met either of them until we lived on the same hall in the dorms. Little did I know that we would spend almost every Wednesday night for three years visiting Taco Bell talking about life, faith, politics, and anything else that came up. I met Kyle through a job opportunity my roommate, Tim, got me. We did not really interact that much, but our friendship slowly grew to the point we shared an office for the past year. Now I consider him one of the closest friends I have ever had. I met Hannah through a mutual friend, Audre, who went on a mission trip to New York with me during sophomore year, and, to bring everything full circle, it was Hannah’s birthday where I was introduced me to Addison. I give you all of these short examples just to illustrate the point that you never know who will cross your path and what impact they might have on your life. You never know where that friendship will lead, what you will learn about yourself and others, or what the future holds. Do not write anyone off because they do not fit into what you think a “friend” should be. Had I done that in college, I would have never walked out with the support group I have today. So, to all of my friends from my four years in Athens: thank you.

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