Problems with roommates. Feeling homesick. The sense that you’re not the smartest student in the class anymore. Our university pastors take turns addressing these topics and other frequently asked questions.

Q: I think I’ve made some bad decisions in my first weeks on campus and I’m not sure what to do about it.

A: The first weeks at college bring lots of changes for most new students. There are plenty of opportunities to mess up. Not only do you not have the on-site support of family to help you order your day, you also bear the full burden of staying on top of your course work, sometimes without specific assignments and due dates. Then add the social scene of a residential campus and the independence of living away from home–well, sometimes we make bad choices.

For me the great thing about forgiveness is the freedom that it brings. It’s never too late for a fresh start. Your failures, however catastrophic, do not need to determine your future.

That is not to say that there aren’t consequences for our actions. Some of them can be quite painful, but consequences aren’t the same as destiny.

If you’ve made mistakes or done things of which you’re now not proud, tomorrow is still a new day. God forgives you for the sake of Jesus’ righteousness and calls you to learn from your mistakes and move on to more and more fully become the person that you are being called to be.

Often, learning from our failures requires a shift in the way we are doing things, the experiences we are seeking, or the people that we are allowing to influence our lives. All of these changes are possible.

If you find yourself continuing to be burdened by guilt over what you’ve done or shame for what has happened to you, consider making an appointment with one of the pastors who will hear your confession confidentially and share the forgiveness of God with you.

Always expecting resurrection,

Pr. Jim

Want to talk further? 

Pastor Jim and Pastor Char welcome the opportunity to talk with you about this topic or other things on your mind.

Pastor James A. Wetzstein

Pastor Charlene M. Rachuy Cox

 

Q: This whole roommate thing is really new to me. How do I figure out how to live with someone?

A: For those of us with limited roommate experience, the challenge of living in close quarters with someone can feel nearly overwhelming.

Their very presence can feel like an imposition.

It’s easy to get focused on our frustration and all that is wrong and begin to think that the best we can do is work to minimize the trouble or inconvenience that a roommate presents to our lives.

A better way is to pause in order to get control of our attitude and come around to another way of thinking.

You can move, intentionally, from “How can I minimize this hassle?” to “How can I become more aware of the blessing that this other person is bringing into my life? How can I maximize this opportunity?”

If living with your roommate isn’t coming easily, one way forward is to ask for time to talk with them.

The goal in this conversation is to get to know them. I don’t mean talking about your favorite music, movie, book, etc. I mean being able to talk at a deeper level — questions like, “What’s important to you? What are you hoping for? What has your life been like?”

If you focus on really getting to know each other and understand where the other has been, and where they are hoping to go, and why, then very often, the other problems begin to sort themselves out in the context of your deepening appreciation of one another.

Remember in all of it that the abundance of God’s love for you allows you to risk being gracious to one another.

Pr. Jim

Want to talk further? 

Pastor Jim and Pastor Char welcome the opportunity to talk with you about this topic or other things on your mind.

Pastor James A. Wetzstein

Pastor Charlene M. Rachuy Cox

 

Q:  I’m really homesick.  What do I do?

 A:  You’ve now been here at college long enough to have it sink into your heart and mind that college life is different from high school life and from the home where you have lived.  Pretty much everything here is a new experience.

The routine is new.  Your living situation is new.  The food is new.  The people are new. Your classes are new.

All of this newness can be unsettling.  It can make you miss home.  It can make you miss the routine, the comfortable, the familiar. That is perfectly normal. You miss home because there are things, experiences, and people at home that you love.  There is security and comfort in the familiar.

So what do you do? Remember you are not alone. Most first year students feel homesick at one time or another. To help you move into your new life here, establish a routine. Develop a new familiar. Get engaged in groups and activities that tap into your passions. Talk with someone – your Peer Minister, a new friend, someone on your floor. Ask them to pray with you. And through it all, trust and believe that the God who holds you in the palm of his hand has promised to never leave nor forsake you. Even here. Even now.

+Pr. Char

Want to talk further? 

Pastor Jim and Pastor Char welcome the opportunity to talk with you about this topic or other things on your mind.

Pastor James A. Wetzstein

Pastor Charlene M. Rachuy Cox

 

Q: “Back in high school, I was always the smartest one in the room, but now that I’m here… Well, I’ve never been with so many other smart people before and I’m not sure what that I know who I am.”

A: That statement was made to me by a new student early in my first Fall at Valpo. Some version of it has come my way nearly every fall since. The student who said that to me was anxious, unsettled, maybe even a little fearful. We are known by our accomplishments and how our accomplishments stack us up against those around us. It’s easy to get more than a little competitive and when the competition increases the way it does at a place like Valpo, it can get anxiety-inducing.

Nevertheless, God promises to bless in any and all circumstances (Romans 8:28). We can look at those around us and grow anxious about how we compare, or we can see them as fellow pilgrims on a journey. We can see them as sources of knowledge and blessing, as partners with us on the intellectual, social and spiritual adventure that is your college career.

+Pr Jim

Want to talk further? 

Pastor Jim and Pastor Char welcome the opportunity to talk with you about this topic or other things on your mind.

Pastor James A. Wetzstein

Pastor Charlene M. Rachuy Cox

 

Check back for more FAQs as the semester continues.

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