Dear Freshman

Caroline White  |  August 12, 2019

Around this time of year many years ago, I left my hometown in Kentucky and drove 13 hours into unchartered territory. My mom moved me into my freshman dorm room, and all of a sudden, I didn’t know a soul in the great big city of Dallas, or in the even greater state of Texas. 

You may be planning a similar trip across the country to get to college this fall, or you might be traveling a short distance down roads you’ve known your whole life. No matter how familiar you are with the campus you are heading to, you’re leaving the predictable, known, and maybe even comfortable existence of your life at home, and about to begin a new life in an unfamiliar world that is college.  

One thing I’ve learned from both my own experience as a college student while at SMU, and from years of walking alongside a new class of college freshmen each fall as RUF Campus Staff, is that no matter what you bring to the start of your college career, you’re standing on even ground. No matter how happy, full, or easy everyone else’s lives look, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one struggling.      

Everyone is nervous, everyone is new, and most significantly, everyone is uncertain as to what freshman year, let alone their college years, will look like. No one has it all together. 

While who you are is entirely unique and complex, and this season may cause you to feel like no one knows or understands the real you; I assure you, you are not alone. 

God knows all of you (your shame, your fears, your wounds, your insecurities, your emptiness, your loneliness), better than you know yourself. He’ll never stop saying to you, “I want you. No matter what it takes, I want to be with you.” 

These are the words we all so desperately hope to hear from our crush, our parents, a sorority or fraternity, or a group of friends. You will hear them endlessly from Jesus. And, because He is God, Jesus is the only person powerful and perfect enough to satisfy the aches of the lonely, heal the wounds of the broken, and quiet the fears of the anxious with these words.   

I was in a sorority that I loved, have incredible friends from college, I’ve dated, I have parents who support me, and I have my dream job. These are great things, but none of these great things are really the thing that our hearts long for. A group of friends, the right sorority or fraternity, a boyfriend or girlfriend, the perfect body, or a full calendar won’t ever be enough. Only being with Jesus is enough. Author Scott Sauls reminds us, “Because our souls are crafted in the image of a great and magnificent God, they can never be filled with such a small thing… Only Jesus can fill an empty soul.” 

As you pull up to your new dorm, sit lost in class, or wait for friendships to form, hear our Lord Jesus’ words to you, “I want to be with you. I am with you.” 

RUF would love to be a place where you are reminded weekly that you are not alone, that you matter, that you are loved and accepted more than you could ever imagine. No matter where you’re from or how your story’s been written, we would love to do life with you. We in RUF say to you, as Jesus does and always will, “We want to be with you.”

By: Caroline White, RUF Campus Staff - University of Kentucky