By Bemsi Wallang
Exactly one year ago, I was a senior in high school and I had recently earned my acceptance to UGA. To say the least, I was shocked. A huge part of me was convinced that I wasn’t going to get into UGA at all.
I applied for several other schools in and out of state. I had a scholarship to one, acceptance into the honors program of another, but UGA was all I really wanted.
When I checked my MyStatus page and saw the fireworks, all I did in that moment was praise God for bringing me to the fulfillment of the work He did for me and thank Him for granting me the opportunity of a lifetime.
So now what?
I’ve been here for almost a full year and I can’t even believe that it’s real. These past two semesters have gone by so quickly, and I’ve grown so much through them. Before I came here, I had no idea at all what college would be like and I honestly didn’t know what to expect about UGA.
I had heard many rumors about the downtown scene and the racial demographic of the school, but that’s really all I knew. Some of my friends from home thought I was stupid for choosing UGA.
They warned me about UGA’s racism and largeness, not sure if their efforts were to encourage or discourage my decision, but I am here and I am doing what I need to do to eventually support myself and my family.
I remember my first few weeks here. I thought I was never going to figure the place out. I was utterly intimidated by the massive buildings, the overwhelming amount of people, and how vast and almost endless UGA was.
I thought I’d never learn the bus system. I was flustered by the inclusion of UGA and Athens Transit buses; they could take me practically anywhere, and it seemed like everyone else knew where they were going but me.
I felt like an aimless wanderer for the better part of my first semester. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it, and I prayed and worked my way through it.
I joined clubs, did some community service, and spent time with friends, new and old, to help keep myself centered. But there would still be days when I would find myself distraught and confused, dissatisfied with my decision to come here, and swayed by feelings of inadequacy and failure.
I felt like I couldn’t, and would never gain the capacity to measure up to value of the other students here. It was very discouraging, but the worst part of it all is the amount of time I wasted comparing myself to people from different realities and walks of life than mine.
College was my chance to give myself the space I deserved to finally discover my strengths in a setting where I can freely rise or fall on my own terms. I had to establish that within myself before moving onto this semester and I’m glad that I did.
But the peace I’ve come to know from this whole thing truly comes from God and Him alone, and that very peace has strengthened me to continue to embark on a path that I sometimes can’t see. Thankfully, there is a God who sees it all for me.
I can see now that life has a way of slowing down and speeding up, sometimes against my will. I won’t always be granted with the choice of deciding which moments I’ll either savor or lose, but I am equipped with the power of determining how to live through each moment.
My freshman year has passed in front of my eyes, but it’s not over yet. I have more learning to do and much more life to live. I’ll continue to reflect as God continues to lead my life and carry me through all that He has to offer me here.
And sure, so much time has gone, but I still have more time left!