Becoming An Adult
It's easy sometimes for our college students to go tunnel-vision on grades and homework and exams and essays. One bad grade or one tough exam can be enough to send someone into a tailspin: I'm a failure. It's over!!! This myopic view is trained into our students from as early as middle school, right? They're taught that all of life -- up until that point -- is pointed towards the college application and what determines your salvation (the kind of college you get into! the kind of career your undergraduate success unlocks for you!) is your grades, your test scores, and your extracurricular resume.
Though it is deeply ingrained in the minds of our young students, it is neither a theological truth, nor a practical one. On the one hand, grades and exams and sports, while nice, don't say anything about whether or not we are worthy or worthwhile in God's eyes. The College Board is not God. We are worthy and worthwhile simply because we exist, and because God made us and loves us, and no success or failure changes that fact.
Further, it is simply not what college is or is for. Unless you work in a very specific field using very specific skills, most of the knowledge given to you in college courses is lost in the sands of time. I remember taking that Greek archaeology course, but do I remember how many columns the Acropolis has? I remember taking human physiology, but do I remember the mechanisms and molecules involved in bridging synaptic gaps? Of course not! College, for many people, is a place where you learn how to learn, and start to grow into your adulthood. I could not recount to you Schrodinger's equation (although I spent three semesters learning it) but I can tell you how different 22 y/o me was from 18 y/o me and what helped me get there.
So it is in our Christian faith. The curriculum of the Christian life is bible study, prayer, worship, and service, but the hopeful outcome of it all is a transformed life. The goal of it all is to be people who are patient, generous, forebearing, self-sacrificing, gentle; the goal is to be people who know how to address conflict, not gossip behind one another's backs, to welcome others in to our community and help them feel welcome and connected. The goal is to become mature adults who love our neighbors as ourselves and tend to the 'least of the these' in our midst.
With that in mind, and in an effort to care for our graduating seniors precisely where they are, we've solicited advice from friends of our campus and young adult ministry and put together a little zine (slang: the roughest put-together of an informal single-issue magazine) for the on-going work of growing into a young adult. The first few years post-grad can be complicated and weird and hard to navigate, and without dropping a step-by-step guide (it would be impossible), we thought it prudent to offer to perspective as well as some tips and tricks for navigating it all.
As in the Christian life, we cannot give you solid perfect instructions, but we can offer you some companionship and help along the way. And at the very least, we can give you a little reminder that if and when you feel like a failure or an imposter, that that is actually what most of college as well as adulthood is kind of supposed to feel like.