It took me a few minutes to think of something to write about here. I don’t feel like I’ve dealt with a lot of what I would call challenges. Maybe I’m not defining it properly.
I finally settled on the challenge of my first three semesters of college. My dad died in February of my senior year in high school. I left for college in August. I left home for my first real taste of freedom at the same time that everyone back home was dealing with so much that I was pretty much completely on my own.
I responded by partying a lot. I drank heavily most weekends. I missed some classes. I did subpar work. A combination of too much partying and never learning proper study skills did not work well. My grades suffered. I went from being a straight-A student in high school to barely getting a 2.5 in college. The worst part was – I wasn’t even enjoying the partying. I tended to get depressed after drinking. You can read a little about that here. I was not happy and my grades were terrible. I knew I couldn’t keep on the way I was going.
Luckily, a friend had invited me to get involved in the Baptist Student Union and I still went to church and got involved in the college ministry there. On a retreat with the BSU, I finally got to the point where I knew things had to change. I had to quit the parties and the drinking and focus on school. I prayed about it there and went back to campus resolved to change.
Unfortunately, my friends at the dorm did not make that decision and I realized that I would always fall back into the same habits when I was with them. My second realization was that I had to change who I spent time with to change how I spent my time. I had to separate myself from the people I had spent most of my life with over the past three semesters. Some of them were people I had spent most of my time with since high school.
I started spending less time at the dorm and more time at the BSU. I made friends who have fun without drinking. I spent more time on my school work. By the next year, I would be on the Dean’s List. BSU is also where I met my wife. It was a good place for me.