In my first post that was published on March 30, I explained how making organization a priority and finding a support group will help you reach your goals in college. I’ll now describe two more habits that have helped me succeed not only in this semester but throughout my entire time in college.
(3) Persevere through hardships
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
In the past five years or so, I’ve come to realize Romans 8 is one of the most profound chapters of the Bible. After Paul gives both a beautiful description of what will happen to the cosmos at Jesus’ second coming and an explanation of how the Spirit intercedes for us, Paul shows us that everything that happens to us, whether it’s good or bad, ultimately happens for a good reason.
Perhaps the most difficult subject for me during my years at Ivy Tech was mathematics. Even before I entered college, I knew that subject would probably be one of the greatest academic challenges I would face. When I took my first Intermediate Algebra class, I struggled to follow my professor’s explanations of all the problems we worked on. I stayed up in the early hours of the morning every week to work on the practice problems we were given. Yet my confusion remained. Even though my professor in that course told me I was his best student, probably because I was the only one who came to class every time we met, I failed that course and decided to tackle it again sometime in the future.
When I attempted to take that course a second time, the new professor I had was so cold and unapproachable I was afraid to ask him any questions. I struggled in that course as well, and to avoid getting another poor grade, I dropped it. By this time, I was extremely depressed. I feared I would never pass my math course, despite the fact that I had prayed to God again and again to help me.
When I had a meeting with the transfer advisor at Ivy Tech, she, to my frustration, told me Intermediate Algebra was no longer required, and I had to take a course called Finite Mathematics. In that course I, again, struggled to understand the mathematical concepts I was learning. This time I knew I had to make an effort to get as much help as I could. Thus, I went to the tutoring center. But I wasn't able to get the help I needed, and I dropped that course as well.
After several semesters of taking other courses, I made one last attempt to tackle Finite Mathematics. Before I took it, I kneeled to God in prayer and begged Him to help me succeed, and He responded.
The professor I had in this course streamlined the material we were learning because, as I had discovered myself, much of what we were studying in our math textbooks wasn’t even on our tests. This made the course material much easier to grasp. In addition, one of my younger brothers, who is much better at math than I am, was also taking this course, and he acted as my tutor throughout the semester.
My struggles in my math courses were God’s way of telling me that I needed to save mathematics for a later time in my life at Ivy Tech. By postponing my math course, I was able to take it at a time when an exceptional professor was teaching it and when my mathematically inclined brother was taking the same course at the same time I was. Even though it took me several years to pass my math course, by God’s grace, and with my brother and professor’s help, I was finally able to pass it.
(4) Remain faithful to God
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
In this passage, Jesus, before He suffered His crucifixion, told His apostles that if they remained in Him and let His words live in them, they would be able to ask God for anything and they will receive it. Before I entered college, I knew I had to keep God in the forefront of my life. I knew that if I abandoned Him, He would abandon me, and I wouldn’t excel in my courses.
Yet even though I prayed to God every day, my academic struggles tempted me to think that God was indifferent to me. Why is God taking me down the road I’m going? What is God trying to teach me? Is He preparing me for a mission He wants me to fulfill in the future? These are questions I’ve asked myself for years, yet I still don’t have the answers.
Nevertheless, I didn’t let my inability to understand what God is doing in my life influence me to turn my back on Him. I continued to pray to Him. I continued to show Him how thankful I am to Him for saving me from my sins by assembling with His children to worship Him every Sunday. And I continued to study His captivating word. I believe that because I remained faithful to God in these ways God blessed me with success in most of my courses.
In conclusion, only you know what path God wants you to travel in college. Yet organizing yourself, seeking help and encouragement from a support group, enduring hardships, and staying loyal to God are just a few ways that will surely help you reach your destination at the end of that path.
Jacob Stubbs, Senior at IUPUI