If you are anything like every other college student in the world, then you know that finishing your semester is a challenge, especially if you want to finish well! You may be experiencing these emotions: you’ve already checked out (since spring break!), you’re homesick, you’re overwhelmed with school work, you’ve been thinking too much about the “next thing”, or you may be graduating and you’re full of a myriad of emotions.
Let me remind you of something: this is not the first time you have felt this way in your life, and it certainly won’t be the last. God will get you through the end of this semester; he’s done it before, and he will do it again.
In these last days the semester (and, for some of you, your college career), I want to encourage you not to forget about the one thing from college that you will actually remember: the time you had with your friends.
I was a student athlete at Eastern Kentucky University from 2003 to 2007. Here are some things I don’t remember from college: studying, test, deadlines, and the end of the semesters. I actually don’t even remember my games, my at-bats, or even my statistics!
Here is what I do remember from college: road trips, beating all of my teammates in Mario Kart, poker, watching endless hours of “The Office” with my roommates, the baseball locker room, scare pranks in the dorms, meals with the guys who helped me grow in my faith, and bible studies with my teammates.
All my memories from college are with friends! College students too often want to quit on school because it’s hard; athletes sometimes quit because of a lack of playing time. What I am saying is that your time with friends makes college worth finishing well!
Two of my heroes when it comes to finishing school well are also two of my best friends. One of these friends was our bullpen catcher, and the other was our team equipment manager (a.k.a. the guy that did our laundry!). If anyone had a reason to quit it were these two. Endless hours of behind the scene dirty work, no playing time, no appreciation, and definitely no glory! However, these friends of mine were the most fun guys to be around on our team! Why? Because they understood college was about people and worth the hard work. They loved to be with the people on the team and the people on the team loved to be with them!
Thinking back on my friendships in college is what motivates me to share this advice with you with a heavy heart!
First, my heart is heavy with joy! I’m still enjoying my friendship with five of those teammates from EKU as we all grow into this new season of life with each other, God, our wives, and our new children! We continue to make great memories as we mature in life (except now it’s baby showers instead of bonfires).
But also, my heart is very heavy with sadness. Just this week, we said goodbye to yet another teammate whom we loved deeply, the 2nd in four years.
You never know what kind of impact and memories you are making and how long you will have to make those memories with the friends that you love.
So, in these last days of your semester (or of your college career), I plead with you: get around the people you love and have fun, do something random, re-live your favorite college memory, pray together, share with others, reconcile with those that may have become distant. Again, you never know what kind of impact you may have on someone or what kind of memory you might share together, and you never know how long you have with that someone.
The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus came into this world to lay his life down for his friends! If any one had a reason to quit at the end of a hard “semester” it was Jesus. His deadline was a bloody cross. However, he knew being with his friends for all of eternity was worth finishing well!
No matter what emotion you are going through at the end of this semester, remember to finish well in laying your life down for your friends. Your friendships will be the one thing you remember in college. Finish well in that!
I graduated from EKU in 2007 with a Bachelors Degree in Friendships: friendship with the Lord, my wife, and my buddies. My prayer is that, because Jesus laid down his life for his friends, that you also would finish the semester well by laying down your life for your friends. It is the one thing you will remember...don’t miss it!
What would it look like for you to finish the semester well with your friends?