Over the past three days, college freshman have been more numerous around campus than bobble-head Obama supporters at the Democratic National Convention. This increase of freshman has led me to believe that one of two things must be true: EFY has extended the age limits on their summer youth programs to include college freshman or a brand new school year is about to start. The gut-grinding, mind-malfunctioning, money-spending complex I’m developing leads me to believe in the latter.
I’m serious when I say that I like seeing freshman around campus. How else can I get so much joy from knowing that the same beehive girl I hometaught as an eighteen year old will be joining me in my astronomy class? The feeling of maturity that I’m experiencing is almost overwhelming!
Truth is, I’m enjoying the chance I have to watch the freshman as they explore the great campus of BYU. Observing them has caused me to think about my own freshman experiences and the lessons I learned from them.
When I was a freshman, I learned the importance of my family. Being away from them taught me how much I truly depended on them for... everything. I cherished the phone calls, the weekends I went home, and even the occasional letter in the mail. I was blessed to still have my sister, Jill, in Provo. I remember walking three blocks to her house with a homemade cheesecake in my hands, taking each step with great care as if my gift to her was something sacred. It was a little token of my appreciation to her for the dozen papers she proof-read and her simple decision to stay nearby.
I learned the truth behind the idea that if you don’t put God first, in the end, it will make no difference who (or what) you put first instead. I learned this from a girl, the source of too many of my freshman lessons. The Homecoming dance was coming around and the girl I had my eye on was asked out so early in the year that she may as well have been predestined to go with him in the pre-mortal life. I sloughed it off as if it was nothing and asked a good friend of mine if she would go with me. With a seriousness almost uncommon in a freshman, especially in a cheerleader, she politely denied my invitation on the grounds that she didn’t want to be my second choice. I stayed home the night of the dance. If a college freshman has a difficult time accepting second place, how then, must the God of the universe feel when we place Him and His first commandment behind on our lists of wants, wishes and desires?
I began to learn my freshman year how large the world really was. It didn’t take me long to realize that Centerville really wasn’t the center of anything more than my childhood memories. The world was a big place, and I had only begun to realize my part in it. Walking around on an unknown campus made me feel infinitely small, and the headphones in my ears that guided my tour of the library didn’t help any. I learned that my new campus, like any new experience, was not any different than any good pair of hand-me-down jeans. It must gradually be grown into until it fits so well that you can’t believe it first belonged to someone else. It had become yours.
And to you, naive little freshman, good luck and a thousand good wishes your way. That is, of course, if any freshman happens upon this little blog of mine. I assume it will go unnoticed, lacking the ability to compete with the several class disclosures that you have already begun to memorize. My freshman friends, consider this blog, advice, and memories, my hand-me-down to you.
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