Advice from a VERY Experienced College Student

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Hey guys!

By the time you are reading this I will have gone up to OU Athens (or down I think it might be down) for “Relocate Day”

Whoop whoop

This is actually just a really boring orientation for students who are transferring from one of their branches to Athens for the fall of 2017.

And in honor of moving forward to yet another, and if you’re counting, to a fourth college, I thought I would give an update of my college experience so far and my plans as they stand right now because EVERYONE asks.

So here we go….

The other day, a high school teacher of mine was asking how college was going (as high school teachers do) and she said this:

“I heard you have bounced around from a few different schools”

Which is just the super polite way of asking why are you a crazy person?

But yes, I have been to three different colleges so far so I have gained a ton of experience both good and bad.

I was debating on whether or not to blog about this because, in all honesty, it’s embarrassing to talk about.

Literally no one else does this.

People may transfer once- no one transfers twice.

And so I felt like there was something wrong with me because for some reason, no school was a good fit for me.

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Did Student IDs cost money? That was an unfortunate investment.

But I haven’t dropped out (yet) so I am still winning.

And somehow my major hasn’t changed. It has followed me to all three schools.

So let’s break it down.

PART ONE:

The first college I went to was The Ohio State University at Newark.

Annnnnnd I HATED IT

0/10 would not recommend.

For me, I found the change that came after high school- the transition from there to college-to be extremely difficult to adjust to.

I remember crying the entire first week of classes. In between class one day, I called my mom and cried to her and begged her to let me drop out and transfer to OUL.

Obviously she said no.

I don’t know what it is about the campus but I hated it. The buildings were cold, scary, and every time I walked in, I couldn’t wait to get out.

There are so many college campuses that look absolutely immaculate in the spring and summer time but OSU Newark is not one of them. The landscape was sad, boring, and made me not even want to walk across campus- no thanks! I’ll drive!

And there was nothing I hated more than driving forty-five minutes down the world’s most boring road every day to school.

I didn’t meet a single person that liked me – no lab partner, no Spanish partner, nothing….

I hate to see all of the negativity in a situation but in trying to make this post as honest as possible I can’t lie.

One thing I can say that OSU Newark has going for them is their incredible staff.

My advisor was a wonderful woman. She helped me out so much. There were some people in the academic advising offices that were rude to freshmen because obviously we had no idea what we were doing yet.  My advisor never treated me in that way. She built my schedule for both the fall and then later in the spring. She did her very best to make sure the transfer from high school to college was as smooth as possible for me.

And another thing going for them was their excellent professors (at least the ones that I had).

This is no knock to any previous teachers, but these professors are so educated. They’re well-traveled, they’ve written books, and most of them are doctors!

I remember my anthropology professor talking about the months he spent on an archeological dig in South America, the Grand Canyon, and other places around the world.

I was like woahhhh because I want to travel and experience new places so I love hearing stories from other peoples’ journeys.

All in all, had the next school not offered me a scholarship to come there, I still would have probably found a way to get out of there because it was ruining my college experience.

And that brings us to….

PART TWO

After the end of fall semester 2015, I transferred to Mount Vernon Nazarene University for the simple fact that I was going to be playing on their softball team.

Basically this is how it happened:

Their coach contacted me to come play.

I applied.

I got accepted.

BAM!! transfer number one is in the books!

And this small college in Mount Vernon, Ohio was shaping up to be a much better fit for me.

I liked Mount Vernon for a lot of different reasons. The number one reason was that it was a Christian college and therefore our relationship with God was at the very center of everything we did.

We prayed before class, after class, we had church three days a week, and we prayed before and after softball practice.

At Mount Vernon (MVNU) I met some of the greatest and kindest people that I will ever have the opportunity to know. My roommate was one of the nicest girls I have ever met. The entire softball team was nothing but kind and accepting towards me.

I loved the feeling of a small campus where everyone seemed to get along (for the most part) and everyone looked out for one another. I felt safe, I felt accepted, and I loved knowing that the people around me were interested in creating a close relationship with God, like myself.

Aside from being my brothers and sisters in Christ, these people were my brothers and sisters in Christianity.

As you probably know, I went to a public high school where God and mention of His name, really had no place.

And I feel, as Christians, this divide holds us back from our possibilities to grow as a student while also in our relationship with God.

And the best part about this school was that I was free to worship everywhere.  I was surprised at how easy it was to slip into a conversation with other students that was simply about our personal relationship with the Lord and our plans to strengthen it.

And I found myself openly talking about God in places that I had been forced to keep Him to myself in the past.

I’ve always been one of those people who will pray several times throughout the day as I needed His help and wisdom.

Growing up, the practice followed me into my sports, especially softball. Throughout an entire game, I constantly ask for Him to help me hit the ball (obviously he wasn’t always paying attention to this one 🙂 ), I ask him to put His hands on me and calm my nerves, I’ve asked Him to watch over my teammates, the other team, and I and keep us from injuries. I ask Him to please oh please let me not walk this batter or please let this pitch be a strike.

Most of the time I was pretty confident and pretty concentrated but sometimes you’ve just got to be like:

Jesus take the wheel .

But like with everything else, these small talks were between God and I alone.

I remember in high school when other teams from Christian schools would circle up in the outfield and pray before a game, I would just watch them and wish that was something I could share with my teammates.

Then I would get sad because the softball field was my home but I couldn’t openly worship my God in my own home.

So it wasn’t really home.

And the first day that I wore that MVNU Cougars jersey in Clermont, Florida and joined hands with my teammates as well as the other team to pray, I closed my eyes, not because that is what you’re supposed to do, but to cover up the fact that I was in tears.

Surreal is the only word I can think of that describes that moment.

Here I was on the softball field and it finally felt like home.

I was finally in the jersey of a school that put God before anyone and anything else.

I think as an athlete we sometimes forget that sure maybe few things come before your sport, but God better be one of them.

Sometimes I would get so caught up in training and stuck on that grind that I need to step back and remind myself:

God > Softball

This is just one of those moments that was a gift directly given to me by God himself. I’ve needed this moment ever since I first saw teams intertwining prayer and softball. I needed to be a part of an organization that was bigger than just themselves.

I don’t regret the semester I spent at MVNU. I don’t wish that it never happened.

In the end, for reasons outside my control, I couldn’t stay at MVNU so this chapter was cut short.

I learned so much at MVNU including how much I had been putting ahead of my relationship with God.

And if I had to pick the greatest thing MVNU had given me, it would be the way it sharpened me as a Christian and instilled within me the realization that yes, sometimes I don’t prioritize my relationship with God as much as I should and that needs to change.

Which brings us to …..

PART THREE

I just knew that I would end up attending OUL at some point in my life because it is right in the middle of my hometown and literally the closest college to my house.

After leaving MVNU I transferred to OUL for the fall of 2016.

I don’t know what it is about me that attracts super-nice academic advisors but mine was surprisingly helpful again and very kind. During my first appointment we ended up spending a half hour just talking about all the schools I’ve been to.

And the first semester went alright and the second’s shaping up to be about the same.

I have no cool stories to tell about this year. Or any significant bad ones (which I guess is probably a good thing)

And like I said at the very beginning, I’ll be going to OU Athens next fall so that will be an adventure.

I’m still a Chemistry pre-pharmacy major even though I want to switch on the daily (it’s just the stress talking right?)

And here’s hoping that I won’t transfer anywhere else before I get that degree 🙂

Because I transferred so many times, I’ll probably graduate in five years or six or twelve, who knows?

I just wanted to share my experiences in college with you because, for obvious reasons, they are extensive.

But most importantly, I’ve learned to trust in God to take me where I need to go. We make our own decisions but ultimately, everything will work out according to His plan and what He wants for your life.

Thanks for reading!!

Love and hugs,

Cerena

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