My First Day of College

“You are not cut out. You have been placed in.”

This sentence came to my head as I tried to stifle my crying in the bathroom stall. The line is from a blog post by Emily P. Freeman, and it pronounced itself when I rested between classes my first day of college.

That particular day was going to be busy. I had non-stop class and chapel from 7:50am to 3:10pm, then I would head to cross country practice. Without showering or eating supper, I would run directly from practice to my first Honors Program meeting. This ended at 7pm, and I had to be at a study session from 7-9pm.

I was about halfway through my first day when I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had 15 minutes between classes in neighboring rooms so I retreated to the bathroom stall to let the overwhelm that I had been holding back all day sweep over me in full force.

I tried to be quiet and listen for people coming in, but I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. I rocked back and forth thinking about how homesick, tired, and stressed I was already. Seven hours left in the day. A whole college degree left in this season. Years of being an adult left in my life. My mind kept repeating over and over again: “I can’t do this. I am not cut out for this.”

But then the line from Emily—and the Lord speaking through her—permeated my scattered thoughts. You’re not cut out. You’re placed in.

Simple words from a blog post I had read months before, but they shifted my whole perspective that day.

You are not cut out.

We are made of flesh and bone that breaks and emotions that are even more fragile. On our own human intention and effort, we cannot overcome the world (Hint: Someone else already did–John 13:33).

You have been placed into this moment.

No tragic or stressful moment is a mistake. The second your flesh gives way to panic, God is there, and He knows you fully even if you are totally confused.

You are placed into this season.

God places us into every season–hard or joyful, agonizing or life-giving. He graciously sets us in where we don’t belong and lovingly guides us through every frustration and every celebration.

You are placed into this life.

I am not sure I will ever feel prepared for the life I’m living, because, frankly, life will be hard for each of us in our own way.

College wasn’t perfect after that moment. I had similar meltdowns through my remaining years in college. No one is really cut out for five hours of sleep a night and zero hours of true solitude.

Still, through college and beyond, I would never outgrow this simple thought from Day 1 of adulthood: You don’t have to be cut out for it. Christ finished all the hard work, and you are placed into HIM.

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