The strangest thing for me about preparing to come to university was the fact that my whole life could fit into the car boot. Well alright, not my whole life. I had to leave some important things behind: family, friends, most of my extensive nail varnish collection and my Shrek DVD (the last ones hurt the most). Looking at the boot of the car and marvelling at how we fit everything in it was both exciting and, quite frankly, ‘I-think-I-might-throw-up’ terrifying. ‘This is it’, I remember thinking, ‘I’m never coming back’ (I’ve always been one for melodrama, in reality I was back home for half term ten weeks later).
I usually embrace change, welcoming it as if it was the feature film after twenty minutes of adverts: the trailer for Transformers 4 was enjoyable, but we all know I’m here to see The Great Gatsby and that’s what I’m really looking forward to. However, I know that lots of people don’t feel the same way.
For many of my friends, ‘change’ is just code for a step into the unknown, where the possibilities of loneliness, isolation, getting hopelessly lost in London during freshers’ week, and death (whoops, there’s that melodrama again) have been unleashed and nobody knows what’s going to happen.
At that moment, staring into my car boot, I was standing with them in complete and utter solidarity. I didn’t know what I was doing. This was all a terrible mistake. Why did I think I could survive in East London? East London?! I’m definitely going to get stabbed. Probably by a cappuccino-drinking hipster who’ll be much, much cooler than I am. Also, I know absolutely zero about money management and am definitely going to be homeless in less than a week. Homeless, friendless, degree-less, that’s the life awaiting me. I’m going to have to sell my hair like Anne Hathaway in Les Mis.
You’ll be relieved to know (I’m sure you were worrying), it didn’t quite work out that way.
This year was the best year of my life.
God knew what He was doing. Because no matter what happens this summer: if you don’t get the results you wanted, or you have to go through clearing, or you wind up exactly where you wanted to go, or you’ve known for a year now where you’re heading but it’s just hit you that leaving home is scary, God’s known about it and planned it since forever.
I find great comfort in knowing that the Creator of the entire universe knew which university would be the right place for me and sent me there in full knowledge that it would all work out alright in the end. Not only that, He actually wants you there. That’s the place where you’re going to make a difference, and where new, wonderful people are going to have an impact on your life. That’s the corner of the world that will become your home, and soon you’ll be wondering how you possibly lived all those years without knowing these friends because you’ve become so close to them in such a short time.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Change is still scary, and like me you may end up getting very lost (in more ways than one), but it’s always nice to know that ultimately God’s got it covered.
Image: Suitcases by Natasha Mileshina, used under CC