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  • Bryce Stafford

Into the Unknown

I know the title comes from a song in the children's movie Frozen 2, but I feel like it perfectly describes my life and my semester. All summer long, I could not wait to get away from home, get out of quarantine and finally get to be in a different place. I just knew that I was going to be making tons of friends, hanging out all the time and living the best possible life I could.


I was so ready to take that giant leap of faith. Boy, let me tell you, this leap has grown my faith a lot. I got to Tahlequah the Wednesday before classes started. It was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I would love to write about how it was just sunshine and rainbows from the moment I stepped onto campus, but that would be a huge lie.


After I got here, I had a huge realization: I hardly knew anyone.


I did not have friends here. I did not have the safety net I was always use to having. Growing up in a small town, I had the same three best friends for as long as I could remember. I went to my first year of college in my hometown and was still surrounded by people I knew. I made friends at NEO super easily because I was involved in the BCM before the school year even started.


But here I am now, in this unfamiliar town with people I do not know. I realized for the first time that I have never had to organically make my own friends before. People had always just been there for me. But now, I was all alone. Let me tell you -- I felt it. Thinking back on those first several weeks is so hard because I was so sad and lonely. No part of me felt like I belonged and I was so confused and angry at God. I had been dreaming of this all summer and God finally put me where I wanted to be but I was miserable.


I did not stay this way for too long, though. After a couple of weeks I made a friend. She was really sweet and we would go get coffee and hang out. I really needed that. After a couple more weeks, I decided that I was finally ready to get out of my comfort zone and actively try to get involved in the BCM instead of pouting because my life was so sad. To my astonishment, it actually worked.


It was almost instantaneous that I admitted to God I was finally ready to really trust in His plan for me here in Tahlequah and just like that, I was asked to help one night at Impact. I finally felt like I could have a place to belong.


Obviously that one night did not take away all of my sadness, and there are still days where I miss the security I had at my previous school, but every day is getting better. I am growing relationships and realizing things about myself that I did not know before. I am allowing God to work in me even when I am not sure what the outcome will be.


Being a transfer student is hard. Especially when a previous BCM painted a specific picture in my head and the new one is completely different. I came in thinking I would get to rule the roost, but God was wanting me to learn that serving does not always have to be right in the spotlight. I have learned that in times of confusion, unfamiliarity and loneliness that He still has a plan for me. I had to put in some effort, but once I did, He provided more than I could have ever hoped for.


So, from a transfer student to anyone that is feeling the way I did, I have some advice:


First of all, know that it is okay to feel lonely sometimes. But do not let yourself stay in that mindset. I found that getting involved was what I needed to do. It was scary to offer to do something that I was not sure what would happen, but it was such a wonderful decision. Be vulnerable with how you are feeling and talk to people if you need to. The person you talk to may not be able to solve your problem but getting it off your chest is a huge step. Let God work in your life with His timing and be open to the blessings He will provide.


Stay strong, friends! We serve an awesome God!

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