Column: Capturing the present

Some days as the semester wears on, and I’m eating my 12th bowl of Ramen in the dorm that week, my post-graduation future looks more and more appealing.

The longer I’m in college, the more excited I become for the “real world.” I grow more and more eager for my ideal picture of a regular eight-hour work- day spent doing what I love instead of sitting in classes I may not be so fond of, then ending the day with a relaxing (and homework free!) evening with a homemade meal and Netflix.  Having my weekends free instead of filled with projects, studying and trips to the library sounds more wonderful with every passing week. As the semester continues, this perhaps unrealistic picture begins to look better and better, and farther and farther away.

Focusing on the hard parts of college mixed with constantly wishing for the future is a recipe for disaster when it comes to my motivation. I have found myself wishing away the present for my ideal future. Realizing this provoked some intriguing questions in my mind that have resulted in me giving myself a serious attitude check. And I thought those would be history when I left home. Who knew?

I began to wonder about the result of wishing away the present. What happens to the moment we are in when all we can think about is the next one? What do we lose from today when we are so obsessed with tomorrow? And as these “moments” and “todays” add up, the questions intensify. What memories did we miss out on making? What precious moments did we choose not to seize and enjoy? Because in the end, our lives are made up of todays, not tomorrows, as Psalm 90:12 says: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

My place in life right now, as a junior English major at BJU, is the “real world” God has given me for today. And even with all of its challenges, there is good in it too. I love the spontaneity of college life—the ability to randomly go to Applebee’s just to order dessert or to suddenly decide to celebrate a friend’s birthday by saran-wrapping his car for him (not that I have ever done that, of course).  College also offers so many networking opportunities and chances to develop your skills and interests—writing this article, for example. Writing for The Collegian has definitely added to my schedule and workload, but I have grown in my writing, learned new things and had the satisfaction of seeing what I write in print. The more I look, the more good I see.

Looking back over the past three years, I realize the things that seemed little at the time were actually the big things. Little things like last-minute runs to QT before curfew, random deep conversations about life with my roommates, or spontaneous meals with someone I haven’t seen in a while, make up many of my happiest memories. These little moments of joy and friendship are etched in my memory, only to resurface with unexpected sentimentality when I reflect on days gone by.

So in the midst of the humdrum of homework assignments and the chaos and stress of college life, don’t forget to breathe in those little pockets of fresh air and cherish the good moments blended in with your hectic schedule.

Capture the present and enjoy life now, living in your reality rather than your fantasy. Don’t trade the real moment you’re in for your picture of a future one. And when you graduate, you will have lived your college life to the fullest—as God intended.

So let tomorrow happen on its own, because today is ready for you now. Go make some memories.