Congratulations on finishing college! I’m excited about the adventure that lies ahead for you.
Many things will be changing, of course, but here’s what I want to remind you of: God is with you in the transition. And while the transition you’re facing is a big one, know that there is much God wants to show you as he walks with you into this next phase of life.
Look Back on God’s Faithfulness
Remember when you first started college? Some of you were living away from home for the first time and had new roommates and hallmates. Even if your living space hadn’t changed, you had entered a new world—a new campus with new clubs and student groups, sometimes intimidating professors and syllabi, and high expectations and hopes. Think about all the ups and downs you experienced in your first weeks as a college student.
I still remember the oppressively hot, humid day that I arrived at Rice University in Houston. I was excited, nervous, joyful, and fearful all at the same time! I was also eager to get away from God, my parents, and the church. (Texas was the farthest my parents would let me go from the East Coast.) After my first year of college, though, I came back to faith (a story for another time) and became a part of InterVarsity.
During my senior year, I spent some time looking back at my college experience. I could see that God had very much been with me, drawing me back to him, even though I had not been seeking him in my transition from high school to college.
At graduation, as I prepared to begin an engineering job (scary!), I also reflected on the ways I’d grown in faith during college by striving to be obedient, taking risks, and sharing God’s love with others. I had seen friends choose to follow Jesus, and experienced the power of being part of a witnessing community. I had learned to study Scripture and to listen for God’s voice.
I’m sure you have learned these things as well, and so much more. Reflect on your own college experience, and thank God for his faithfulness to you.
Look at What’s Not Changing
As your environment changes in the weeks and months to come, you might start to feel like everything is changing. But a few things aren’t, no matter where you are or what you’re doing:
God is still with you.
His love for you does not change.
He was with you in the transition from high school to college and will continue to be with you in the many changes and transitions that will occur in your life.
In addition, the things you’ve learned in college about your life of faith are still applicable in life after college. They may look a bit different, but the same principles really do apply.
In that first engineering job out of college, I learned to listen for God in the midst of the workday. God gave me opportunities to have spiritual conversations with my coworker-friends. I learned to find community in my local church, and to take new risks of faith there.
The transition wasn’t easy, and I missed my college life at times. I had to be patient with the process of forming new relationships and rhythms. It took time to get settled. (I generally tell students who are finishing college that it can take a year or more to feel “at home” in your new life. I’ve found this to be true in other moves I’ve made.) But God walked with me, and he’s walking with you too. Every minute, day, month, year.
Look for God’s Presence Now
Transition can be scary. It may not always feel like God is with you; I’ve certainly experienced fear and loneliness. But those moments are when it’s even more important to look for the ways God is reminding you that he is with you. It might be through a Scripture verse that comes to mind, or through a worship song. But it also might be through a beautiful sunset, or a cute squirrel that you see when you’re running late and hopelessly lost in your new town. He can—and will—reveal himself to you in a hundred different ways. Keep looking for him and at him.
Like I said, I’m excited for you. You’re embarking on a scary, exhilarating journey. And you’ll survive, like I did and like millions of others before you have. Go forward in the truth that Paul knew so deeply—a truth that’s still as true today as it was when he wrote it to the Corinthians so many years ago: “the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Sabrina Chan went to college, was an engineer, and served for nine years on InterVarsity staff in Texas before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area three years ago to be an Area Director and finish seminary. Unknown to her at the time, she also moved so that she could meet and marry her husband, Kevin. For more thoughts on transition and faith, check out her blog at http://sabrinachannel.wordpress.com.
Check out the other posts in our series for graduates: