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The Hardest Part of Moving to College

As this college semester ends, the greatest time-consuming chunk of my life steps aside for summer. The busyness of camp will soon take over. I've been one to take on challenges that typical teenagers don't embrace: I think being an author fits into that category. But college was a new adventure that many people try and many do well. Because of this, there are many expectations that exist, especially in contrast to being a teenage writer/speaker where there are very few preexisting expectations. Moving to college was stepping out of the "I'm going to do my own thing" mentality, and I didn't know exactly how that was going to go.

For the most part I did really well, got good grades, made a handful of really great friends.

But, the bed was too soft. My mom had picked out this really pretty bedspread. My Nana bought be new, white, soft sheets and pillow cases. I also brought two other blankets. But for the first few days, I couldn't sleep. I even took my pillow and a blanket and moved to the floor one night. Although my bed at home was soft, I had only slept on it five times all summer. I had grown so accustom to the thin plastic covered mattress at camp, that the fluff and cushion at college was shockingly uncomfortable. Please know that I now crawl into my bed every night, wrap myself in my blankets, and enjoy the pleasures of a deep sleep. But, I never expected to not enjoy the comforts of a soft bed.

Furthermore, the hardest part of college, was the overall simplicity of it. Life was good. Life was simple. I didn't know how to do "life is good." For the past five years, life had been inexpressibly chaotic and confusing. I lived life thinking, "Let's just get through today." It took the move to college to realize that looking a week in advance and making plans for years away was a luxury. It was here that I realized that I forgotten that life could be easy, that talking and sharing a meal was actually possible. I only have to worry about myself here, and though it didn't take long to learn how to adapt, it was a shocking start.

As I looked at the students around me, I realized--like pretty much everywhere I go--that I don't fit into a box that matches many of theirs. They all seem to know how to do "life is good." If I wanted to be their friends, then I needed to learn quickly how to live a simple life. I put a lot of unneeded stress on making friends, and I honestly regret the anxiety that I poured into that. This semester, God blessed me with friends that I didn't put a lot of effort into making. And I thank him for that.

I will continue to pray, asking God to help me live in a relatively unchallenging life--because ironically, that's a challenge. Living with little things and few possessions is something I will keep doing. And I'll enjoy my soft bed for now, knowing that this summer, I go back to the plastic covered foam. I'll also look at my bed as a lesson of how God used it to show me that struggle and simplicity are relative and that I will always have something to learn, no matter how simple life is.

Are you new to college? An upperclassmen? What was the hardest part of starting college?

~ Alyson


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