This will be an incomplete write-up.
For now at least.
A couple of students were killed this past Friday. One stumbled out of a bar drunk and tried to cross a highway, and was fatally hit. Several hours later in the morning, a freshman committed suicide by hanging himself in his dorm’s bathroom. My 443 class had a discussion on the particulars and concerns surrounding these deaths that took up two-thirds of our class time.
Now, although these deaths happened in close proximity to one another, and it was only the third week, it didn’t really phase me. Freshmen die on and off our campus (and elsewhere) senselessly each year. But what got me was this discussion in which the floodgates seemed to have exploded. One by one, my upperclassmen started fessing up to serious anxieties and pressures that they have faced and are continuing to struggle with in college. A woman I took a Shakespeare class with during Maymester, a very beautiful, calm yet strong-spoken one around my age said that CCU was her third college, and she is juggling three jobs with a full course load (about 15 credits). She said that she has never been able to “fully adjust” to her schedules each semester and wonders how she got this far. Another student, visibly much older than her but is in college for the first time, remarked about the stress that she experienced in trying to balance her personal life and homework. A third and painful testimony came from a woman who spoke of how her sister was pressured by her dad to go to a school that didn’t have her dream major but gave her a full ride. This woman then went on to stress that it’s the result of people telling us that we need to go to college to get a job, and we mount a heap of debt as a result, and we find that what we’re studying isn’t what we really want to do – pressure shoving us into conformity and grueling defeat.
It pains me to know that my upperclassmen still struggle with balancing their personal, professional and academic lives – those that are graduating seniors like me! I couldn’t believe that unlike me, there were still some that didn’t learn how to cut out negative influences in their cipher, take pride and self-respect in what they love and are passionate about doing, and take life one day, one step, one moment at a time.
Not to mention where to place your identity, security, complete trust and faith in. I could tell that the woman who spoke about her sister didn’t know where she could place these things, and find freedom and truth.
Because where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
The same woman, in class this morning opened up to try to convince the class – during a discussion about whether chastity as a learned behavior or natural (in the Victorian era it was a learned trait in women) – that virginity didn’t exist. To her, virginity was an invention with the purpose of oppressing women and keep society under control, and to back up her argument, she insisted that there was “evidence” to prove that this was true, and that we should “go look it up.”
To not follow up this argument was a wise thing, a smart thing, and a hurting thing, because I was heartbroken. Heartbroken that we as a people are starving from and for the lies we eat.
While on the way to work, I shared some words on a post-it note for fellow bus passengers..
“ For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:”
That’s Colossians 1:5-6. I’ve started a personal assignment to share the word with strangers through post-its. Because people need to know the living, breathing, redeeming, restoring, life-saving, and life-giving truth.