First and foremost—congratulations on your acceptance to Cal!
As a college senior, if right now is a bittersweet time for you, I can most definitely relate—wrapping up four years at a place you’ve grown to know well and moving on to another big chapter of your life is a huge deal. Exciting, but potentially marked with a little (or a lot of) trepidation and worries too. I know you might still be in the process of considering where you’ll end up committing to—or maybe you’re just thinking about all that’s to come—but if you end up coming to Berkeley, I want to extend a warm welcome to you, and say that Berkeley can most definitely become a sweet and wonderful home to you in your time here.
Now, maybe more than at other times, your year is special in that your first semester here at Cal will probably look unlike anyone else’s. As we all have been experiencing, many things that we used to consider to be the norm have changed, and we’re now living in more different times than ever before. But as things begin to return back to normal, one verse stands out to me: “For the mountains may depart, and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not depart from you, and my covenant of peace will not shake, says Jehovah who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
Although I can’t guarantee I know or understand what your next semesters will look like, one thing is for sure: though everything around us may change or be unpredictable, our God is never changing (Hebrews 13:8). He can be your rock, solace, foundation, comfort, abundant grace, and all the more in your years here at Cal, no matter what happens. College is filled with its share of struggles and difficult times, and the environment may be ever-changing, but through all that, I’ve found that maintaining a personal relationship with the Lord really helps you go on. In every situation, there are so many chances and opportunities for conversations with the Lord and growth in your daily pursuit. Even in the face of, say, friendship problems, a difficult midterm, or a challenging professor, as you trust in the Lord and let Him be your trust, you can be like a “tree transplanted beside water,” not afraid or anxious in these hardships (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
I’d like to close with one of the things that I struggled most with during my time in college, but also an important lesson I learned—not to compare myself to others. I found myself always questioning whether or not my Christian experience was “normal,” or even if my college experience overall was on track or coming up to par. I’ve come to realize now that this kind of comparison brought me nowhere, because my college experience ended up looking very different from my roommates, peers, friends, and likely also from what yours will be like.
But this is totally 100% okay! The Lord sovereignly has placed each one of us where we are, and He also is bringing us each on in different ways. However, one thing that we can hold on to is that no matter how different we all may be, we have one another to pursue and run this Christian race together! What has kept me going on and on these 4 years have undoubtedly been the companions the Lord placed me with and this Christian community that I found. We always have one another to run this race set before us, and to keep “looking away unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Whatever may end up happening, and wherever you may be, I hope that you’ll also come to find that the Lord can make where you are become a home to you…and I hope that you’ll also let Him make His home in your heart more. May the Lord be your ever abundant source of supply and grace in all of your college years!