Dear Younger Karesse: What I Would Tell Myself Now
It has been eleven years since I went away to college. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago and other times, it feels like just last year. I can recall my emotions during that last week at home—packing up my room in exchange for what felt like so many unknowns. It was like an emotional rollercoaster. One-minute, I was elated at the idea of being “independent,” and the next, I was terrified at the thought of that independence.
If I could go back and talk to my insecure frightened self, here is what I would say:
Establish Strong Friendships
First, you are going to find friends. So, that anxiety that you’ll never be enough or that you won’t fit in, is not worth clinging to—also, just so you know, everyone feels this way, even the people appear so confident. So the anxiety might feel debilitating, but I promise you: God will provide friendships in ways you were not expecting.
You do have a decision to make, though. It will be hard and there will moments when you will be tempted to want to be friends with people who you know aren’t wise. At times, the temptation to surround yourself with those people will be overwhelming at times. But I promise you that who you choose to surround yourself with, matters; and the friends God has in store for you, I promise, will blow you away.
Still, there will be times when you feel lonely, even surrounded by thousands of people on this campus you will call home. There will be days when you doubt that you matter to anyone. Those days will be hard. But here is what I want to remind you: you will begin to see that God is the One who never leaves nor forsakes you. Be patient. Take those hard days of loneliness and trust in the Lord. And the friendships that the Lord does provide? Press deep into those. They will continue to impact you post-college. Those friends will walk alongside you through some of the hardest days that you face. Fight the fight to find good and faithful friends. Don’t compromise for the sake of convivence or wanting to fit in.
Don’t Be Afraid to Trust God
Second, the fear of the unknown during college will sometimes feel all-consuming. However, let me remind you of the wise words of Corrie Ten Boom: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Right now, your future feels unknown. And to you, it really is. But the beautiful reality is that you serve a God who already knows your future. He already knows what he has in store for you. There will be days when you question your degree choice, and there will be days when you wonder about the future—will you will be married? There will be days when you worry about what feels like everything! The unknowns of this season will be challenging. The anxieties are often real.
I want to encourage you to not fixate on those things. I want to remind you that the Lord has been faithful all of your life. And I promise he will continue to be faithful. You will be tempted many times to lean on your own understanding. Don’t give in. Lean on the Lord. Seeking him for wisdom as you navigate through the unknowns. It will always be worth it, because your trust in the Lord will never return void. The fruit of learning to trust him and growing to better know him will be so sweet, especially as you navigate life post-college.
Lastly, enjoy college. I know there are times when it’s hard and you are exhausted! But these years are such a gift—one you will never get to go back to. Trust the Lord, enjoy friendships, and… actually eat healthy some days.