Bells ring. Class begins. Bells ring. Class ends. You study for a bit, do your homework, and before you know it the day is over. It happens again the next day: bells ring, class begins. Bells ring, class ends. You then realize the week is over, followed by the month, followed by the semester. The next thing you know, you’re finished with another school year.

In my case, I’m finished with all four years of college. It’s been an interesting ride. It’s funny how you never really see yourself grow every day, but looking back over several years, you realize how drastically you’ve changed.

I can’t even begin to count how many times I thought I wouldn’t make it. So many times I would think, “God, I know You don’t give us things we can’t handle, so why am I going through this?” Sure enough, I made it through every situation. He was there. So many times when I became discouraged, it seemed that the message in chapel was speaking directly to me. Whenever I had no idea how I would be able to get projects, papers, or homework done in time, God was forcing me to depend on Him more and more.

College is a challenge. It’s a challenge to balance academics, extracurricular activities, and relationships. It’s a challenge being away from home. It’s a challenge being away from family. But a challenge can be described as a situation that tests your abilities. Do you know how much students would learn if there were no tests? Very little, if anything at all. They wouldn't take notes. They would be inattentive. They would rarely ask for clarification.

Tests motivate. They make you pay attention. They make you take notes. They make you evaluate your mistakes to prevent making them again. Tests make you want to learn. That’s why God gives us challenges. Though I love a good challenge, no one loves every challenge they go through. But that’s how we learn. That’s how we grow.

As I said, there has never been a day in the past four years when I have thought, “Wow, I’ve grown so much in the past twenty-four hours.” However, now that I’m graduating and looking back to my freshman year, I see how the challenges in the past have molded me into who I am today. Some lessons only needed to be learned once (I would definitely advise you to learn every lesson the first time), while some needed to be repeated countless times before I finally caught on.

But all in all, it was the collection of challenges that developed me.The next time you’re going through a test and you wonder how in the world you’re going to make it, don’t focus on the difficulty. Focus on your development. Maximize your learning potential.

I’ve had a great time writing for you all this year. If you’ve been a consistent reader, I hope you’ve been able to glean a few laughs, as well as some insight. To the new students enrolling at PCC this fall, congratulations on a new journey! Remember to enjoy every moment you get. Learn everything you can possibly learn. Experience everything you can possibly experience. The bells will ring to begin class, and they’ll ring again to end class. The next thing you know, you’ll be walking across the stage to claim your diploma.

Make it your goal to be satisfied when that day comes. Make it your goal to be able to look back and say, “Wow, I’ve grown so much in the past four years.”

8 Responses

  1. Darian Blankemeier

    This was such a great post! Thank you for it! I’m a freshman, just finishing up my first year, praise the Lord. I can definitely relate to what you’re saying about not knowing if you can get through a project or asking God why you’re going through something. (And this is only my freshman year!) But you’re totally right: I’ve been looking back at just this past year and see how much God has stretched me. It’s truly amazing and is definitely a God-thing. Congratulations on graduating and may God bless you in your next chapter of life! (:

  2. Bethany Thompson

    Hey Chris!
    Thank you 🙂 I really needed to hear that. I am going through many trials right now and it’s hard, but I know My Lord can carry me through. He just wants to teach me more through it 🙂 We will miss you! Keep serving the Lord with everything you do!

    Bethany Thompson
    aka Your Chapel Buddy
    aka Dorothy 😀

    • Thanks, Dorothy:) Remember the trials are to help us lean on Him. Thanks for being such an awesome chapel buddy!

  3. Hannah

    Awesome post, Chris!! I totally understand what you mean… even if I am just a little freshie. =) But not any more… haha! I’m going to be a sophomore – just finished my last final today. I can’t believe how the time has FLOWN!! Thanks so much for sharing your heart. It was a real encouragement to me. =)

  4. Lori Wilkerson

    Hi Chris,
    My son, Caleb, will be a freshman at PCC this fall. I have been periodically looking at the posts here and I just wanted to thank you for posting this one. I am going to print it out and give it to my son to read so that when he feels overwhelmed this will be an encouragement to him.
    Congratulations on completing 4 years of college! I pray that the Lord will use you as you serve Him!

    Lori Wilkerson

    • Thank you, Mrs. Wilkerson! I hope this post encourages your son. I’ll be praying for him as he starts a new journey.

  5. Logan Mikesell

    Thanks for all your great posts Chris! You’re going to be missed around here! Congrats on graduating and were praying for you 🙂

  6. Lisa

    Thank you Chris for the encouragment. I am an incoming freshman and this is my first time away from home so it is definitly hard to be away from family. I will definitly make being able to walk across that stage to claim my diploma in four years my goal. With God all things are possible. Thank you again for the encouragement. Congradulations on graduating.

Leave a comment