Upon finishing my undergraduate coursework in December, I couldn’t wait to get out of the city. Just a month later, I returned for a weekend visit. I wanted to catch up with all my friends that were still there! I missed them already. These are the kind of friends with whom you can pick up right where you left off, and that certainly was the case. However, what I wasn’t expecting was this new, awkward difference: I wasn’t in school anymore.
When my friends talked about what was going on in their lives, it was rarely anything other than school. What is your schedule this weekend? What do you have planned? “I have to write an essay, edit a paper, read for my lit class…” Oh… it was as if I forgot those things existed. I had been so anxious to move past college that I forgot that never ending homework was what my life mostly consisted of not all that long ago. My friends are far from shallow, and homework is not all there is to college life, but it struck me what a difference graduating made. Or, at least it did for me.
Thank God my friendships were founded on character, and not necessarily our mutual college experiences, so I don’t need to worry about losing any dear friends anytime soon. However, it made me realize how much my life was dictated by a college structure. Sure, I had a lot of freedom, especially at the unique school that is King’s. Even though I skipped more classes and assignments than I ever should have considered acceptable, my life really did revolve around classes. When I wasn’t procrastinating with sleep or Netflix, I was either in class, or doing something for a class. I never thought about the purpose of my life because I was focused on getting through the next exam or getting to the next break. Though a look at my history with relationships may argue otherwise, schoolwork was my life purpose for the last three and a half years. Now, my head swirls with a lot of questions about the new direction and purpose of my life.
Over the Christmas season (it’s not really a “break” anymore) I read a book that left me with a haunting question: What am I doing to further God’s kingdom? While the book is about marriage and relationships, it puts everything in context of Matthew 6:33. As if putting your life in terms of furthering the Kingdom of God isn’t convicting enough, my watch-23-TV-shows-a-day, never-leave-the-apartment, sleep-until-2pm, relax-so-I-can-figure-out-my-life, do-nothing lifestyle over the last two months has left me feeling empty. (Duh.) Every night my heart is heavy with the question “what did I do today to further God’s kingdom?” Nothing. What am I doing with my life? After leaving college, having an uncertain plan apparently means having no plan until I make a definite plan.
Don’t get me wrong – school did not take the place of God in my life, and doesn’t in my friends’ lives either, but it does take up a huge portion of time and mental energy, as it should. Your life does matter in college. College is important and valuable, and you definitely CAN further His kingdom while you’re there. I wish I had been convicted of that sooner. Maybe I did better at that in my first couple years there. But the difference now is because my college friends’ minds are still appropriately consumed with school, while mine is searching for anything else to be consumed with.
So now I ask myself, if college no longer dictates my life, what dictates my life now? What is my driving force? How do I become a functioning member of society? What am I going to spend my time doing? How do I create my own structure? What is my life about? How am I investing in and serving the souls of God’s people? What am I going to do to further the Kingdom of God, one day at a time?