by Nikki Elliott
“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 a hope and a future.”
− Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
I’ve never been good with change. I love routines, and I love consistency. So you can imagine my anxiety when I came to BC freshmen year, overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of college life and the culture shock of living on the East Coast. The excitement and sense of possibility I had all summer in anticipation of freshman year quickly evolved into fear when I realized the naivety of my expectations. Fortunately, I quickly learned that I was not alone, and that all of us were in some way or another
trying to figure the new adjustment out, trying to figure ourselves out. I think it is safe to say that we all eventually formed our circles here at BC—friends, teams, clubs, classmates, roommates, performance groups—some of us sooner than others, all of us in our own unique ways. I personally had trouble settling into BC and into college life in general, but I remember finding comfort in a deepening relationship with God. My faith became central and pervasive—to say I bought into the Jesuit “find God in all things” business is an understatement. I wholly embraced it. BC made this so easy; I felt a nearness to God that I had never experienced before, and I felt His presence in the places and faces of a mere ordinary day. For the first time, my faith became my own, not that of my parents or a product of my twelve years of catholic education, but mine.
In my very first Guidepost article for The Torch back in September, I spoke on the mysterious ways BC inspires a certain spiritual vigor and intellectual curiosity and encourages an engagement with life that is full of passion and purpose. Now, eight months later and on the cusp of graduation, I can’t help but fear that what I am most grateful and thankful to have found at BC will fade when they hand me my diploma at Commencement. That leaving this place means losing sight of God in the small details of life and everyday experiences, losing the sense of safety and belonging that I have found on campus, and losing the faith that has been all my own the past four years. With these thoughts surface the same fear and anxiety that I experienced during my transition to BC, and, as much as it hurts to admit, I am scared. Scared of failing, scared of feeling alone, scared of falling into the unconscious day-in-day-out default.
Remember, though, that scary isn’t the same as impossible, and even in the midst of tumultuous change, God is constant and ever faithful. As we come to the last few weeks together as a senior class, agonizing over the end belittles the whole future of possibility ahead. The transition might not be easy; there will be challenges, disappointments, and tests of faith, but BC did not prepare us to take the next step with worry and fear. Go forward with confidence and tenacity, with the sure knowledge that God will be with you wherever you go, guiding us in His “plan to prosper...and give us a hope and a future,” in much the same way that He guided us here to BC.
Dear Lord, be with me and guide me through these times of change, uncertain directions, and new beginnings. Turn my attention away from fear and toward a future full of possibility.