Last night I sat with three great girls who are in college and talked until all hours. We resurrected their high school romances, spoke of what they have planned after college, and even touched on the subject of college life. I suppose that everyone's college experience is different depending on where you choose to go, what you want to do, and how much you invest yourself. That being said, it is always fun for me to hear how their lives are going. Kind of like a mini reality show that doesn't creep me out like so many on television today tend to do.
Somehow, these three came from three separate communities to meet as three of eighty-five girls in their sorority pledge class...an amazing feat just in itself as competitive as Rush is. So, not only are they my daughter and her two friends...they are my "little sisters" in a sense as well.
They all attend University of Alabama and they live in apartments close to campus. They are in their junior year, majoring in different disciplines, and none of the three has met Mr. Right yet. Well, if they have, they are currently unaware of it. They hope to find "him" someday and are quite open to it...but they aren't in any hurry either. Right now, they are just looking for someone to enjoy spending time with in addition to their circle of friends. Someone to treat them as they deserve to be treated...which is with respect. After hanging out with them, I can't see how a young man wouldn't want to.
They are all beautiful, bright and funny. Their dreams for the future and personal tastes are unique but yet not enough so to prevent them from being good friends. They made me laugh hysterically and remember well that point in time in my own life. And while I really wouldn't like to relive that time at all...I do so enjoy being young with them through conversation.
I know that being in college these days is certainly a mixed bag. They have to deal with technology to survive. All of their assignments, papers, communication, grades, and even the purchase of football tickets...are all online. They meet people sometimes by checking out who their friends are on Facebook or looking at their pictures...and who is in them. They have more social opportunities than is imaginable, more temptations to bypass, and more options from which to choose.
Gone are the days of exclusively lecture-style classrooms, an expectation to live in the dorm for four years, and cafeteria food. I mean, you CAN live in the dorm and eat on campus...but not everyone does. Most of them have cars, fewer than should have jobs, and the majority have more than they deserve at this point in their lives. They will live for four years pretty much the way that they did at home...less the hassle that they got from Mom and Dad. There will be highlights (like having the school win a National Championship) and there will be lowlights (any given drama-filled Thursday - Saturday night). But this is their path...forged by the choices they've made, the people they've met, and the time in which they are living. They are young and beautiful and full of fun. That last part, by the way, I actually WOULD like to relive.
Romance is different these days as well. Although there are still some wonderful young men out there that have been raised right, they seem to be in the minority. Maybe it was that way back in the day as well. I suspect it probably was. The way that most of them treat the young women that they profess to care about seems to be ridiculously unkind. Perhaps it is their immaturity, or maybe it is that their phones are already ringing with some hyper-aggressive female who is elbowing her way to the front of the line before he has even changed his status on Facebook to "single." I don't know. What I do know is that they don't appear to feel an obligation to think about anyone else's feelings but their own or their circle of male friends. And that saddens me.
Not only for the young women...but for the young men who are going to live with some serious regrets for not being a man of character when it really counts someday. Or when karma catches up and they get it ten times over when their hearts hit the shredder and they think back to they pain they caused. I don't think that they always intend to leave a wave of pain in their wake. I just think that they need to learn how to be grateful that some wonderful girl agreed to spend time with them in a dating relationship...and honor her...and himself...enough to take the responsibility for the failure if he chooses to walk away.
Most of the time, he gets off the hook by telling the world that it is her fault...that she was clingy, or argumentative or "crazy." Unfortunately, he is more often than not believed and then escapes to wreak havoc somewhere else. He doesn't stop to think that the girl he are treating in this manner is someone's future wife. Or at the very least...someone's daughter, sister, or friend.
It is difficult to imagine that in one more year, they will be halfway through their last Fall Semester and will be about six months away from graduation. They seem to be so alive in the here and now...which is actually refreshing. None of them has an agenda for her life...they are just watching it unfold day by day and choice by choice, until the day they wear a cap and gown and receive a diploma. I'm not entirely sure that they even know what they will do then. They trust that they'll figure it out when the time comes. And I believe that they will.
I know that life isn't easy when you are young. There are so many paths to choose and so many hoops to jump through that it is confusing at best. Some of their classmates will go on to graduate school and will postpone the job market for a few years. This really doesn't seem to be a bad plan considering that they will be entering the job market in a time of ridiculously bad economic uncertainty. Unless something miraculous happens in the next eighteen months or Publishers Clearinghouse shows up on the doorstep. Guess they can hope.
I loved being in their worlds for a little bit last night. Their troubles seem light to me with my ability to look in the rearview mirror of life. Yes, they have some skidmarks on their hearts and they've all amazingly survived the first half of their college experience somewhat intact. Not everyone does. I know that to them, though, figuring out what they will do, where they will live, and if, when and who they will marry are monumental decisions. They haven't learned yet that God will provide everything in His time and that trying to hurry Him along is futile. That they will have some regrets that they will carry with them, and some experiences that will change the course of their lives.
I know that I've had people who have breathed words of encouragement that I've somehow believed as gospel, had people who loved me when I was not only unloveable...but downright awful, and I've ended up making a life with someone I met at age 19 in a state next to the one I grew up in. Had you asked me at 14...I would have assumed that my life would have unfolded very differently. But I've figured it out, by the grace of God, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these three will as well.
Maybe they will meet their life partners during these years, and maybe they will not. Perhaps they will be lifelong friends...or maybe they will never see each other much after graduation. Hopefully, they are learning enough to make them employable...but they may end up keeping a home and raising children instead. But whatever they decide to do, I know that they will figure it out in due time.
And this is as it should be. I just know that I enjoyed hanging out in their worlds for a little while. I was blessed by the experience. And someday...when the time is right...I suspect that there are three young men out there that are going to be blessed beyond measure.
I know that they certainly blessed me by giving me a few hours of their time last night.