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Before I graduate...

I know a lot of stuff. Wow, that sounds really smart, and I don't mean to brag, but it's true.

I know the bones of the body, the countries of Europe, the causes of both World Wars. I know Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Nietzsche, Marx, Hegel, Darwin, and Freud. I compare Hemingway and Austen for fun!

But I also know that there is nothing new under the sun, and everything is vanity. Vanity. We chase wind.

I have had a classical education, been surrounded by strong Christians, and disciplined my mind. I have aced and failed tests, been liked by some teachers and tolerated by others, made friends and lost them.

And for all that I have learned in 13 years of formal education, there are somethings I wish I had learned before I came to this, the point of near completion. The precipice of an entirely different kind of existence than I am used to.

Here are some of those things:

  1. Literally no one cares how your wear your hair or clothes. And if they do, it doesn't mean it has to change.

  2. People are going to talk about you. That's okay.

  3. There is only so much you can control.

  4. Cleaning can be therapeutic.

  5. You cannot substitute therapy when you really need help.

  6. It's not a shameful thing to need help.

  7. Tacking on your own rules to Christianity and basing your salvation on them is what makes you legalistic. It will hurt your walk with God in the long run if you idolize them.

  8. Idolatry is so much easier to fall into than you think. Walk carefully and be open to accountability.

  9. It is vital to constantly check your intentions in whatever you do, as much as it may exhaust your mind.

  10. You have to wrestle with God to make him your own.

  11. To sit still in faith is to move backwards.

  12. You can be sad some days, and not know why. That's okay.

  13. For goodness' sake, stop apologizing for being angry! Learn that responses to anger may require apologies, but being angry is valid. You will never stand for anything if you believe that anger makes you a bad person. Everyone gets mad, just examine why. There is such a thing as righteous indignation.

  14. You cannot save a person by dating them.

  15. You cannot save a person by being friends with them.

  16. You cannot save a person! You cannot hand over a soul that doesn't belong to you. Your position in others' lives may be one of influence, but you will never be the Savior.

  17. Reading is one of the best, if not the best, way of relating to the world.

  18. Studying doesn't take that long if you do it properly.

  19. Constantly try to see the situation through your parents' eyes. I swear it will almost always heighten your empathy.

  20. If you only see your side of things, you do not truly see.

  21. Understanding is required for an opinion.

  22. Your handwriting doesn't have to be pretty in order for your words to be worth reading.

  23. Sometimes, it's a relief not to be right.

  24. If you hold on to your friendships when they need to end, you will leave on a bad note and it will bruise.

  25. You can do anything if you just take a deep breath, pray, and decide to get through it.

  26. Presentations are maybe 10 minutes of your life, don't let them get the best of you.

  27. God is not a mean, heavenly auto-correct. He's a fully rounded person with emotion, gregariousness, intellect, and spirit. He's not a list of rules or something in the wind.

  28. Time really does speed up as you get older. It's not an exaggeration.

  29. You have only so many dinners at home, Christmas mornings, trips to the park, Thanksgiving dinners, and Saturday mornings.

  30. When people tell you to be present, they mean thankful. Don't abandon Christian perspective just because the world has lost the vocabulary.

  31. A large vocabulary is a tool and a hobby. Never skip over a word you don't know without defining it.

  32. Asking questions is the mark of the wise.

  33. You're going to be okay. Do what you can now, and don't snub help.

To anyone reading this, the world tells you that you can handle anything, you determine your own destiny, and whatever works for you is right. That's not true, and may we rejoice in that fact. You are God's masterpiece, created to do good works. You have free will, but it is the free will in your response to your lot in life that matters.

But - most importantly - the learning is never done.

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