It’s been two years since I graduated from CNU, one year being filled with completing my teaching degree and the next year completing a leadership development program called the Raleigh Fellows Program.
I’m getting real here, life after college is daunting. Here’s what I envisioned my life would be like before entering the post college arena: I always imagined that I would meet the man of my dreams in college, get married after we graduated, move to a lovely city with farmer’s markets and festivals, and hang out with the friends we made at our perfect church.
That’s what I believed to be the next step in life, my dream life. This was not my reality.
As I finished my master’s year, I had heard about the Fellows Program from other CNU folk who had either gone through the program or knew someone who had. After talking with them and praying about it, I committed my next year to one unique and significant year of growth for me personally, professionally, and spiritually. While I could spend copious amounts of time here sharing how the Lord tested me and stretched me, there are three big takeaways I learned, that I hope encourage you, as you begin this “daunting” life after college.
- Life after college looks different for everyone. Don’t get caught up like I did in what is expected of you or what you think is the “right” step to take after college. Don’t worry about trying to fit whatever mold you think is right. Instead, listen to the Lord. Be in tune to what you believe he is leading you to, whether it is graduate school, marriage, missions, or a job. Don’t feel pressured to choose a path that you think you’re with for the rest of your life. You might not have an ideal job right after college. And that’s ok! God is using all things for your good and His glory. Rejoice in where he has you and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Find a church. With all of the options and possibilities, you might think, “Is there another church that better fits my needs?” I encourage you to find a Bible believing church, try a couple, choose one, STICK WITH IT, and get involved in a ministry. I’ve heard this method referred to as the Pick-and-Stick. I used to approach finding a church based on fitting my needs rather than serving the Lord in community with God’s people. And sometimes you may find that you are the one to create community. If it’s not there, the Lord can use you to be a catalyst in creating a community that glorifies the Lord, is welcoming, and of course, fun! Instead of asking yourself, “Does this church fit my needs? “, ask, “Does this church bring glory to God?”*
- Find a mentor. This can be scary when you graduate from college. With awesome accountability found in para-church organizations like Cru, we had it at our fingertips. I even had the luxury of the Fellows Program placing me with a wonderful mentor at the church I attended. Now, we’re out in the world. Once you find a church, I encourage you to seek out a mentor; someone of the same gender, who is older than you. And it may take time. It doesn’t happen often that a woman will approach you and say, “You look like you could use a mentor!” It’s up to you, girl. Pray for the Lord to lead you. He will. It may take time to find the mentor. And even once you do, life might not always allow you to meet weekly, but pursue a relationship with a mentor that can be as consistent as possible. You will find that you can learn so much about God and His grace through each other’s experiences and stories and their insight into yours.
I hope the lessons that I learned will help you as you continue the story of your life that God has perfectly prepared for you. I hope you find grace, peace, and joy in the Lord. I’ll close out with one of my favorite verses.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:17]
I graduated from CNU with a bachelor’s in Studio Art and a Master of Arts in Teaching. I will be teaching 2nd grade in the fall in Harrisonburg, VA. My favorite things include discovering new music, playing pick-up volleyball, poorly performing our rendition of Riverdance with my sisters (yes, we still do this when we are together), seeing kids create art, watching BBC mini-series, and eating ample amounts of grapefruit. My talents also include quoting Mulan and The Parent Trap in their entirety.