Dear First Year Me, I want you to know that the next five years are not going to be easy. Life won’t be perfect, and sometimes what happens won’t line up with your plans. You’re going to struggle. You’re going to hurt. You’re going to have questions.

Your faith in Jesus will come out stronger in the end, but first you’ll have to go through a few things.

Let’s talk relationships

One of your biggest learning experiences comes from the relationship you’re in currently.

Right now you’re “happy” with your boyfriend. You enjoy having this companion, laughing with him, and doing coupley things together.

But, you should have broken up a long time ago. This relationship has taken you away from some of your closest friends and, as you will see more clearly by the end of your first year of university, away from God.

You’ve become quite skilled at compartmentalizing: school-work over here, family over there, relationship with boyfriend right in the middle, and God in a box hiding in the back of your closet.

You’re going to learn that when you don’t let God into your life – and I mean all areas of your life – things tend to get messed up.

You’re going to experience some heartbreak

At the end of this school year, you and this boyfriend will break up. He messes up big time, there’s a couple big arguments, and you split for good. This happens after being together for two and a half years.

But those years were full of jealousy, petty fights, hurt feelings, and manipulated emotions. You’ll have to admit that you felt like you were walking on eggshells with him, always on edge that you’re going to do something wrong to upset him.

You’re going to feel like you’ve given a lot of yourself to him – emotionally, physically, and your time. You’re going to realize how far you’ve strayed from God.

You’re going to question why God would allow this all to happen to you.

“Yes, you’ve heard about this grace that God offers and intellectually you know that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for your sins. But you’ve never experienced what that means to you.”

But, here’s the good news: Grace is about to get very real!

Yes, you’ve heard about this grace that God offers and intellectually you know that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for your sins. But you’ve never experienced what that means to you.

After you two break up, you will feel damaged, worn out and broken. You’ll realize that these haven’t been your best years.

First year me, I want you to know that our God is a God of love: a God of compassion, forgiveness, and healing. He welcomes us with open arms and delights when we return to him. He offers grace: a second chance which is the opposite of what we deserve.

I know it’s hard to believe: I turned my back on God and now when I’ve gone through something horrible and want to go back to him, he’s excited? Not punishing me, but delighting? Inviting me into a redemptive relationship with him?

“Our God is a God of love: a God of compassion, forgiveness, and healing.”

Yes. It’s true. Take the invitation. Accept this grace that God offers.

No matter what you feel or where you plan to go in life, trust God. He is for you and he loves you! He wants what’s best for you so follow his lead.

First year me, take care of yourself! And be ready for some change.

University will be a time when you experience change in a number of areas in your life, and relationships are just one of them. You may not know what exactly to expect in your post-secondary years, but you can start to prepare by learning from others and growing in your walk with God now.

Read more about NEXT, a Power to Change initiative to help Grade 12s connect to a faith based community in college or university.

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About the Author

Maddie Garcia

Maddie studied Communications in university and now works with Power to Change – Students in the Creative Communications Department. She loves sharing her stories and experiences as a Christian young adult to help others going through the same thing. Her hobbies include thrift shopping, gluten-free baking, and cat loving.

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