There’s a point during every semester when I look at everything I need to accomplish and wonder how doing so is even remotely within the realm of human capacity. It’s a point when things like eating and sleeping become little more than fond memories. It’s like that first hill on a roller coaster when everything in your being screams against what’s about to happen, but you’re locked in and know full well the only option is going forward.

Sometimes it strikes me that college students must be some kind of mad, to force ourselves through the incredibly unhealthy things we endure for the sake of a little paper at the end that says we did, in fact, endure.

Wouldn’t it be nice if what it took to land a job in the real world was being a person of character and a diligent worker, rather than a piece of paper that proves we forgot hours of lectures after we regurgitated them on the tests and wrecked our bodies by failing to replenish ourselves so as to leave more time to memorize what needed to be regurgitated and wrecked our souls by choosing to strive for that magical piece of paper over building relationships, all the while either accruing massive amounts of debt or sacrificing what parts of our time were not spent in class at a job in order to accrue only small amounts of debt?

Sometimes, when my soul feels suffocated, I honestly consider quitting college, or at least taking a semester off. But then I would either never receive that magic piece of paper at worst, or lose my scholarship and be forced to transfer to a below-par school at best. Sometimes I want to completely blow off classes for the day.

We can be excused by doctor’s notes for physical ailments. Nobody offers any such grace for the sake of mental or emotional or spiritual health.

I’m locked in and nearing the crest of the hill. I’ve barely slept in the last few days, and have two days left before I’ll be able to really sleep. And I’ll be skipping meals and isolating myself from anybody I care about in hopes that doing so might let me get 5 hours of sleep instead of 2.

And even in the midst of all this, God is still good. And He is the only way I’ll keep my sanity for the next few days, much less my grades. He is my Sustainer in the most painfully obvious sense.

His grace is sufficient for me.

How humbling.


One thought on “Drowning

  1. Sarah Parro says:

    That little piece of paper at the end of it all does prove character and hard work, I think. It takes hardly anything to quit; it takes a lot, as you prove here, to keep going in spite of the hardships, and to finish.

    At the same time, however, not everybody who graduates from college possesses great character. Some people cheat on tests, some people party, some people graduate by doing the bare minimum.

    But those of us who work hard because we believe in what we’re doing, or at least because we believe working hard is good, will be distinguished from those who do not. Bare minimum can only get you so far, even if it does get you a college degree. The important thing to remember is that we are more than a piece of paper, and our lives are more than college.

    Maybe we should let college be another medium through which we can display ourselves, and our character. It’s another one of life’s little paradoxes; let the work be a reflection of you, so you can be proud of it, but remember that your work is not you. Our identities rest in the Lord, as you remind us at the end of your post.

    And don’t skip meals =) If you deprive your body of the basics, nothing else works right.

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