Here are my tips to find joy in every situation:
1) Remember why you’re doing the degree in the first place. What is it allowing you to do that traditional college wouldn’t? What opportunities has it afforded you? How much time or money are you saving on such a valuable and necessary asset (your degree) in the working world?
(And if it’s any bit of incentive to you, with the amount of money you’re saving on your degree, you could buy approximately 20,000 lattes. Just keep that in mind if ever you’re wondering why you chose to do college this way. You’re welcome.)
2) Go out and enjoy life. You can do that. Whether that means working on a flexible schedule, going on spontaneous adventures, deepening your relationships with your family and friends, or spending money on things and people and causes and trips you care about because finances aren’t as tight – go do those things. Live your life freely.
3) Seek God’s strength. Most people think of this as some sort of hack to get the supernatural ability to memorize test answers – and that’s not it at all. Sometimes God’s strength in us is quiet, a little more motivation to keep going, a message from a friend offering tips on a test, the knowledge of random facts that comes in handy. Nothing is to be taken for granted – and when we seek God first above all else, He’ll point us to those things.
4) Take a break. Seriously. If you’re not doing well because you’ve been stuck on something for a while, or procrastinating on Facebook and YouTube – it’s okay. Start fresh, right where you are. Go do something that relieves stress, if only for ten minutes. Call a friend, take a walk, go on a coffee run and drop the drinks off at your friends’ houses, eat some chocolate, bake a cake, clean your room, read a novel – something. And when you’re rested, whether it’s an hour later or a week later, give it everything you’ve got. Then reward yourself for doing the work.
God doesn’t only promise contentment to the smart and successful students, the ones who get 78s on CLEPs without even trying, the ones who attend all the student events, the ones with incredible jobs, or a lot of free time. He promises it to us, too. That we can be content in whatever the circumstance – because He’s always with us, there to guide us when we let Him.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11-13, ESV
Unbound student, whatever rut you’re in right now, you’re not alone in this. You don’t have to simply “survive” college – you can thrive.