Fall is quickly approaching, and with it, the beginning of a new semester. If you just graduated high school, this semester will be very different than the ones before! You’re either heading away to college, starting school locally or maybe taking a break from school completely. It’s a big season of adjustment!
One of the hardest things to navigate after high school is your friends’ departure to college…especially if you’re not going. It can feel very isolating to stay behind as they “move on” with their lives. Following are four things to remember if you’re the one NOT going away to college.
1. Contentment takes strength.
Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” This verse is often quoted by athletes before a big game, but it’s actually talking about something much bigger than football. In context, this verse is discussing contentment.
Contentment is not easy, especially when your community seems to be moving on without you. But choosing contentment—by relying on God’s strength to do so—is a step of faith in God’s goodness and provision. He will provide all your needs according to his riches (Phil. 4:19).
2. Not everyone’s path looks the same.
Not everyone actually needs college to fulfill God’s purpose for their life—some never, some not right away, as we will talk about in a moment. Remember that your story is not that of your friends. Your story with God is going to look different because He is directing you down a different path to fulfill a different call.
When I was 18, my friends went off to college. I stayed behind to do community college and online classes. While I was making progress, I still wasn’t getting the whole college experience. Eventually I did go to a college campus—for one year. I returned home the next year because I couldn’t afford to stay. It didn’t make sense at the time…I felt directionless. But less than two years later, I got a job with my university, counseling other students through the admissions process. Using what I learned to do and NOT to do in my own journey, I was able to help other people.
What seemed like a delay was part of my journey.
3. Delaying college can be wise.
Delaying college for a season can be a smart decision. This gives you time to work, build a résumé, get experience and save money for your degree. You can also get credits affordably through CLEP testing and community college, both of which many universities accept. While it may seem like you’re being left behind, sometimes taking the time to go slowly saves you time and money in the long run. It’s better to wait, figure out what you really need a degree in and then spend the money than to possibly go into debt for a degree you never actually wanted at all.
4. Be faithful here.
Last but not least: Be faithful where God has you. We often think we will be faithful when we get to where we want to be, but our real hearts are revealed in the places we don’t like. Here, God is sanctifying us into His image. So be faithful. Be obedient right where you are, and you’ll be the kind of person whose character opens doors.