I think it is incredibly easy to see college as preparation for our vocations. We take core classes that really aren’t our forte, we groan in agony at one more assignment piled on an already packed weekend, and we question where all the time went after we finish midterms and realize that it’s the middle of the semester.
I’ve been reflecting lately on what it means to be a student, inspired by the struggle between making time for studying and making time for other necessary parts of life, such as friends, health, and the like.
Truly, to be a student is a vocation. And that is your vocation at the moment. Being in college is not merely preparation for “real life” – it is real life, here and now! Especially with the rate at which time flies by here, it is easy to see ourselves in a preparatory stage, in which we go through the motions until we make it to the next weekend. But is that what college was meant to be? Preparation? Survival?
I have heard it said that college was the best four years of many people’s lives. I can’t decide if that is because of the community and friendships made, or the lack of “real world” responsibility.
College is an in-between stage, during which we’re learning what it takes to be an adult in the world, and yet we still have so many helping hands to support us when it seems overwhelming.
See, the older I get, the more I dread “adult” responsibilities on a regular basis, for the very reason that it seems overwhelming. If I have to, I will make that phone call, I will set up an appointment, and I will find the necessary documents. But I wonder, how do people bear that much responsibility and make that many rough decisions consistently well?
In a way, I wish I could be a student forever. It would be much easier than facing the outside world.
But that’s not what God calls us to. I saw a video online recently that addressed the issue of fear truly to live – and I think we all experience this at some point. We’re comfortable where we are, not facing what we believe, and sometimes even fear, to be our vocation. If we can only have a few more years of transition, perhaps we’ll be ready.
Yet this is the great adventure on which God wants us to embark. I have found thus far that I never seem to be entirely ready when asked to do the hard things, make the difficult decisions, and move on past fears and insecurities into the unknown. Yet, it turns out that these times are not only when I grow the most, but when I enjoy life the most. What seems scary right now could lead to the time of your life.
For that’s what God intends when he sets hills in front of us. It may seem intimidating, and take a bit of effort to climb up, but from there the view can be spectacular and certainly worth it. From there, we can climb higher hills, even mountains. The mountains can look intimidating from the ground, but from the hilltop they are significantly less so.
So be a student. And be a student well. Don’t live for the weekend, but enjoy the fruit of the class that you stayed up till 2 a.m. finishing the homework for. Don’t forget your passion for your major. Because it is in these small things that we live out our current vocations and take the steps of transition into future.
This being said, don’t fear your lifelong vocation. You’re preparing to live it now, and the way in which you will reach your ultimate goal or call is through small steps, not a leap to the mountaintop. God will provide a path that is manageable for you, and he will never give you something that you can’t manage.
Remember that it is through accepting and taking those small yet challenging steps that we can truly grow and truly learn to live out God’s will – not just for the here and now, but for the rest of our lives.