What Makes College a Journey: The Ever-Changing Semester - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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April 24, 2017

What Makes College a Journey: The Ever-Changing Semester

Classes come and go and you check more items off your list of requirements. A busy semester flies by and you can’t recall the last time you paused to breathe. A painfully dull semester crawls along and you have no hope of reaching the end. One semester you’re juggling social events, the next you’re looking out at a sea of strangers as you sit alone in your dorm room, wondering if your friends are enjoying that night class they all decided to take. 

College is a milestone for many reasons, but one thing stands out in a unique way: It is a predictably unpredictable season of your life.

Think about it: How strange it is that your life changes every 4 to 5 months in college. Throughout previous schooling, classes most likely stayed the same for an entire school year and classmates remained constant from kindergarten through twelfth grade. For those homeschoolers out there, even the teacher was the same for all thirteen years! 

Once you make it through college and you earn a degree, you will (God-willing) enter the job market seeking a career that you maintain until retirement—and while change is certainly going to happen during a career, spending several years to a decade or more in the same line of work, day in and day out, is a long time by comparison to college. 

But for the brief amount of time spent in college, you are subject to unpredictability every semester. This can be an adventure for those who find themselves easily bored and always in search of a new experience, but it can also strike fear into the hearts of those who love the comfort of a consistent schedule.

This change is a bittersweet occurrence. As a new semester dawns, you might lose touch with that girl you met in your required Bible class last semester.  Maybe you encounter a new class that you just really don’t enjoy, and you long for the easier days of introductory courses. Possibly hardest of all, your brain is forced to switch gears that had just gotten into sync with your previous schedule.

On the other end of the spectrum, maybe this new semester is the saving grace for which you prayed in the midst of last semester’s political science course. This new semester may feel like a fresh start as you meet new people, have a chance to make new first impressions and find new opportunities to get you out of your comfort zone.

Both of these scenarios are realistic possibilities, and I am positive you will experience both throughout your college career. New semesters are unpredictable, for better or for worse. So unpredictable, I might add, that the change becomes predictable and, at times, taken for granted.

So, whether you’re about to begin your college journey, you’re halfway through or you’re in the final stretch towards graduation, I’d like to encourage you to do this one thing: Embrace the predictably unpredictable. As my older brother, a seasoned college student nearing the end of his graduate degree, advised me the other day: “Work hard, but don’t keep your nose to the grindstone and just barrel through the semester. Remember to keep your head up and enjoy your surroundings.” I offer this advice to you, be present in all you do and embrace the new challenges of new semesters as they come. How beautiful is it to experience something new with each change of seasons?

-Erika ‘20