Crumpled Schedule

This damp, and soggy day is the first day of school here at York College. And I cannot help but wish I could take the hand of every anxiety-ridden Freshman here, and give them a bit of comfort.

I watch her as she anxiously marches her way across campus. Her new clothes stretch, and pull, and she sighs as the rain begins to dampen her carefully styled locks. She grimaces as she re-positions her backpack the size of Mount Everest on her already aching back. She carefully glances around her to ascertain the position of all the other rather terrifying students around her. A water bottle, tucked on the side of her bag, sloshes, and foams as she hurries along. She holds her crumpled schedule, unwavering,  in front of her, as if she believes it to be a talisman of good fortune. Something concrete she can hold on to, in a less than trustworthy world. This girl is a college Freshman, and I am the wise Senior who looks on, in quiet empathy.

You, new girl on campus, with your big heart, and even bigger hopes and dreams.I have some words for you that might help you negotiate this Scary Day. Take a moment from your anxious thoughts, and listen. 

Yes, there will be tough things ahead. At times, you will feel the pull of the world. Your professors, your classes, and even your own inner perfectionist will urge you to produce more, and more, and drive you farther than you ever thought possible. At times, you will feel inebriated with the bitter juices of anxiety comparing yourself to another person who appears to be dancing his way through life with seemingly no flaws or faults.At times, you might take a look at your bank account, and feel a cold sweat of anxiety come over you, and you might wonder when you will be more in the black, and less in the red. The world will bellow with a loud, and clamorous voice that time is running short, and that you better figure it all out soon. The world will say that you are already behind everyone else.

I have been there. And the hope I can give you is that it will, slowly but persistently, get better.

It will be in the midst of that inky darkness of fear that a warm hand will reach out, and grasp yours. You will be thrashing  around in the middle of the pool when, suddenly, you will feel earth beneath your shivering feet. And suddenly oxygen will begin to fill your lungs, and the deep dark waters will drain away. You will see the light again. And you will feel warm sun on your face.

As an upperclassman, I want to be that warm hand. And I want to usher you into the only light that lasts–the Lord who does not sleep, but stays awake to watch over you.

[Tweet “Adoration for the One who made me, is the only answer when ambition has turned sour, and my hope has been deferred.”]

In the midst of the worries, and joyless striving I can feel My Lord fighting for me, and carefully covering my wounds with hope.

And that, oh college Freshman, is my benediction passed on to you, on this cold and watery day.

“Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms.” -Psalm 68:19

17 thoughts on “Crumpled Schedule”

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  2. Francene Stanley

    I really enjoyed your inspiring words. I’m glad I don’t have to start my life again and tremble with life’s possibilities. That’s one solace about aging. That, and looking forward to my ‘final rest’. I don’t mean that to sound sombre, but joyful like the sound of ringing bells calling me to the next adventure.

    1. Not having to “tremble with life’s possibilities” is definitely a plus for growing older. What an incredibly descriptive, and beautiful way of writing you have! I just love that about your writing style. I am glad that we can all choose to look with hope to the future.

  3. Bethany this is fantastic. It reminds me of my granddaughter who this year has decided to get into a home-schooling program (Catholic) that will create a whole new set of experiences. These tender years set the stage for how people perceive the rest of their lives. Hopefully, they use the experiences to sharpen themselves and not become dull.

    1. Good luck to your granddaughter! I was homeschooled, and I LOVED It. It definitely will be new for her, but I am sure it will turn out wonderfully. Blessings on the new adventure for her, and the rest of the family!

  4. Joan Harrington

    Awesome post Bethany! Shared the feelings of starting your freshman year in college perfectly, thank you 🙂 Well done!

  5. Bethany,
    What a beautiful post! I do remember being exactly like that freshman attending a college in another state, clutching onto my own schedule and wondering how long it would take me to fit in. I attended a junior Christian college and at graduation of my sophomore year, I wrote a letter to the president telling him my anxieties that day and how, little by little, I settled in. I thanked him and he read my letter at our commencement ceremony. I had signed it anonymously, “A student” so he said that he felt the letter gave voice to many of the students. It was such an honor! God bless you for taking those freshmen under your wing and prayers!

    1. Amy, I am attending a small Christian college as well. That was a fantastic idea, of yours, to write that anonymous letter to the president. What a blessing for other newbies to hear your words of reflection on your anxiety, and how it had diminished. You have a very sweet heart. Blessings to you!

  6. Bethie,
    You captured perfectly the anxiety and fear of the first few days of college. It’s such an uncertain time, and usually all it takes to get through it is just the simple reminder than you’re not alone. You expressed that reminder beautifully. Well done!

  7. Nathana Clay

    I love your writing! It is so poetic and eloquent. Great advice. Sadly, I think I needed that advice more as a senior than a freshmen. I was soaking it all in my freshmen year. By my junior and senior year I terrible tunnel vision just trying to stay on top of work, relationships, and school. You always celebrate everyday beauty. I appreciate that about you!

    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Nathana. That is a very good point–that sometimes the Senior year can be even harder than the Freshman year. I am glad you made it through, and are able to look back on it now. I have been enjoying reading the posts on your own blog! You, too, are an excellent writer. Keep it up!

  8. I graduated college 50 years ago this year, but I can still remember the first days of my freshman year. And, at that, I went to a commuter college (i.e. I lived about 2 miles from the campus and knew others going there). I’ve shared this post on Facebook in case someone can take comfort from it.

    1. Thanks for reposting, Alana! I have done a lot of commuting to college as well, and that can make it even harder to feel like you fit in. Those first few days can be tough. Thanks for the comment!

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