One of my favorite parts of my job as a campus minister is getting to watch you transform during your college years. The kid who entered freshman year is not the same adult that now leaves four to five years later.
Throughout the past month as we wrapped up the 2020-2021 academic year, we celebrated you, our graduates. We looked at old pictures; remembered past events, trips and small groups; and talked about lessons learned. We simultaneously laughed and cringed at some of those.
For most of you, I know that you probably feel as though you are just starting to figure out college life. Now you are being sent out into the world to learn a whole new set of rules. This is such a bittersweet time.
Selfishly we hate to see you go, but at the same time we send you off believing you are equipped to change the world.
As I think about your next step, I can’t help but reflect on my own personal journey during those years right after college and seminary. With the help of some of our UA BCM alumni, here are some pearls of wisdom we have learned along the way that we hope will help you as you launch into the post-grad life:
1. Transitions can be hard, but you are not alone. The God who was good and faithful to you in college will continue to be good and faithful now. Don’t let the world tell you otherwise. Abide in His Word, and trust Him to provide everything you need.
2. Make finding a local church a top priority. In college, churches came looking for you and your entire freshman class, and together you learned how to navigate the search process. Now you’ll have to initiate and navigate the search at a time where others don’t have to. Don’t settle for online church. Put yourself in a place to know others and to be known. Don’t give up if it takes a little time. (It probably will.) However, when you find it, jump in all the way. Join a small group. Tithe. Serve. Go through the church membership process. And then celebrate with cookie cake.
3. Work cannot be your life. Look for ways to connect with your new community outside of your workplace. What do you enjoy doing? Join that book club or kickball league, attend that cooking class, volunteer at the food bank. Find a coffee shop you love, and become a regular. Engage those around you in conversation.
4. For the first time in your life, your friends may not be in the same life stage as you. That’s okay. Put yourself out there, and embrace the relationships that God brings in this next season. You will learn so much from each other as you learn how to live in community with one another.
5. Your mental, physical and spiritual health are important, and you’ll need to find ways to nurture and balance them all. You’ll quickly find out that no one really has life figured out. We’re all learning as we go. Be flexible and patient. Offer grace to yourself and others. Be honest with those you trust who will both listen and push you towards action.
Proverbs 3:3-6 (NIV):
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight
So, Class of 2021, as you go, thank you for the impact and legacy you leave here. Congratulations. You did it.