Monday, October 20, 2014

how to survive your first few months of college

Back and at it again with a college post, y'all! These things are just some pointers and things I've experienced because I'm in no way an expert.

1) You aren't going to have friends immediately.
Once you realize this, you will be so much happier. If you're going out of state for college, this is something you're going to experience in the first few days through the first month of college and to be completely honest, it sucks. In high school, you have a group of friends already because you've lived in the same city your whole life so it's completely normal (and super common) to not have friends right away. Just think about it, would you rather have 15 friends who don't know your name and you don't really get along or 4 really good friends who can make you laugh until you cry and give you advice and are always there for you? Really good friendships take time and from what I've heard (I can't actually vouch for this one), the friendships you make in college are the friendships that will last a lifetime.

2) Be open to new things.
Your first semester of college is going to be dealing with new things left and right. New city, new place to live, new places to eat (new diets?), new teachers, new friends, new church, etc. With new things come new opportunities and experiences. This being said, get involved on campus. You are not allowed to complain about not making any friends if you just sit in your dorm room and watch Netflix all day everyday. People aren't just walking in and out of your dorm so get out and meet some people! Find out what you're interested and see if there's a way to get involved on campus. Greek Life has treated me and lots of people well but it's not for everyone. There's Student Government, clubs, volunteer groups, intramural sports teams, campus ministries, and so many more ways to get plugged in. You're more likely to meet people who share your interests or people who are similar to you if you get involved in things that interest you.

3) Don't rule everyone out based on appearance or what they're involved in.
This is so critical, y'all. College is not the place to come and be judgmental. Just because you heard there's one sorority that likes to party a lot, it doesn't mean every sorority parties a lot. Just because you heard one frat guy "got so wasted this weekend that they had to take him to the hospital," it doesn't mean they all drink. Just because you heard something about someone, don't let it ruin or influence your opinion of the whole group. I'm using Greek Life as an example because it's an easy one and it's what most people who aren't involved usually see. While you can hear something about one sorority/fraternity and assume things about all of Greek Life, it's also not fair to assume things about the chapter as a whole. Ex: "I heard so-and-so took advantage of that girl...I'm not hanging out with that fraternity ever again." "She failed Biology? Wow, that sorority is really dumb." It's not okay and honestly, it makes you sound ignorant and pretty rude. No one in the group has the exact same DNA and no one is the exact same person so don't assume they are, because you know what happens when you assume. (Ha, you get it? Okay, nevermind.)

4) School matters...
I know college is supposed to be "the best time of your life" and it's jam-packed full of social stuff and football games and chances to make friends, but the reason why you're here is to go to class. Your parents are paying a lot of money for your education and it's not okay to bomb tests and skip class everyday just because they aren't here to push you. This being said, it's not the end of the world if you don't do well on a test or if you need to skip class one day because you need to work on something and it won't matter if you miss, but don't let it become a habit. Your grades determine whether you pass or fail a class and if you have to re-take a lot of classes, it can get expensive and can delay your graduation date. 4.0's look really good to future employers.

5) ...but take some time to have fun.
Don't over-stress about school. Study as much as you need to get your business done and reward yourself with some Netflix or time to hang out with friends. After a little while, you learn how to balance your academic life with your social life and it's really key in being happy and stress-free. If you have a long week of studying for a big test and working on a huge project, give yourself the weekend off.

When I went home for fall break, nearly everyone I saw would say, "Molly! I watch your Snapchat stories all the time. You pull a lot of you ever sleep?" And the answer is, I try to! Sleep is pivotal in my mood and how productive I am and I can imagine it's like that for most people. (Duh?) But really. It's easy to stay up until 3 am every night but it's really hard to wake up for 8 am's so sleep is essential. You also start to look gross the less sleep you get. Stop skipping showers for more sleep. Showers make you look presentable and keep you from looking like a hobo. (That might have been a note to self, don't judge, y'all.)

These are just a few things off the top of my head and I'm definitely leaving out a lot of stuff but there should be a post at the end of my first year with things that I learned along the way so this was just a few ways to survive the first few months. Let me know if you have any tips I didn't mention!

xoxo, Molly

P.S. Does your school have a fall break? {also, follow me on Instagram for updates on my life @mollysandlin, shameless plug}

Thursday, October 2, 2014

a story of God's love, mercy, and redemption, told by an 18-year-old

{This is a different post than what you usually see on my blog but I felt like it needed to be shared. If you don't like it, just check back next time or scroll through to see some other posts.}

Tonight I cried a sweet cry of redemption at my new church home. I wanted to go to the worship service at another campus ministry but one of my suitemates wanted to go to the one at our new church, so we got in the car and drove over for the 8 o'clock meeting. The guest pastor started his message in Matthew 16 and titled his talk, "The Spark" and I listened intently, Bible open and pen in hand. The pastor spoke about how Jesus was like their Super Bowl back in the day and everyone would watch to see what He'd do next. Jesus asked the disciples "Who do you say I am?" and Peter replied "You are the Messiah." Jesus said later in Matthew 16: 24, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." The pastor then spoke on each piece of this verse. Jesus said "if anyone would." Like He knows the world and hopes that they would turn from their sins. "He must deny himself." Jesus wants us to give up our worldly items and desires in order to truly follow Him. "Take up his cross and follow Me." Answer your calling and follow the one who truly matters. The message was titled "The Spark" because God wants a better life for us so that we can be a light to those around us. Like a simple match can lead to destruction, we can be that positive influence in this world.

The next few verses weren't covered in the message but are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done." God wants awesome things for us. Things we cannot ever attain on our own, and all He asks is that we follow Him and lose the material-obsessed and desire-fueled fleeting lives on earth and pursue a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I was so overcome with emotion because I knew this message was something I really needed to hear and God got me to that service because He knew it too. It was like He was just laughing to himself like, "Listen up, this one's for you!" I have become so consumed with college; from obsessing about what I look like and my grades, to who I'm hanging out with and what guys think of me and I've left my relationship with God in the dust. I have a hard time trusting that God's plan is intentional and for a reason and that He has my best interest and knows what He's doing. I worry about everything I can and end up doing things my way, the way that is destined to fail.

I feel so convicted and so ready to start fresh with my relationship with God. That service was a huge wakeup call and reassurance of what I already knew I needed to change. I can't do anything on my own and the only reason why I'm here and still here is because God has a greater purpose for my life and it has nothing to do with the worldly desires of my heart. He probably just wanted to shake me and say "I want better for you! You are my beautiful daughter and I created you exactly how you are for a reason!" but it took me making mistakes and choosing my way over His for me to finally see this.

I can't express how important it is to have a relationship with Jesus. This isn't me being cheesy or trying to be a Bible-thrower (you know, the people who force religion on you). This is the honest truth. God sent His only Son to die for us so that we could spend an eternity with Him and we can spend an eternity with Him if we give our lives to Jesus. How freaking awesome is that?! Like just think of this if it was in the real-world. What if my earthly father sent my brother who was known as the "savior and messiah" to die so that we could all live? (Hokey example, I apologize.) My brain can't fathom that because it is beyond our understanding and it will always blow our minds. We have done absolutely nothing to deserve the best gift we will ever receive and we can do absolutely nothing to make the Lord love us any less. He loves us when we are unloveable, hateful, cruel, mean-spirited, and sinful. He loves us when we're grinning from ear-to-ear and when we're having our own little pity party. He made us exactly the way we are for a reason and He has a plan for all of us.

I wasn't intending on writing anything tonight but I felt compelled to share what's going on in my life right now with the few people who may see this and man, am I excited for what God is doing.

I love you, I love you, I love you and God loves you a whole heck of a lot more.

xoxo, Molly