By Emily Wells

Most people buy their calendars in December in anticipation of January because, technically, that is when the year begins. But for me, the year really begins in August when school starts. That is when I buy my calendar or pocket agenda and begin writing down all the major events for the upcoming year. I was that kid who loved going back to school. Making my school supply list was like writing my Christmas wish list and the night before school started was equivalent to New Year’s Eve. Going back to school has always been a magical time for me because it held the possibility of learning new things and beginning a fresh new year.

The excitement I held preparing for my freshman year of college was no different than previous years. In fact, it was it was probably magnified. Sure, I had the typical freshman year hesitations, but they were drowned out by my anticipation. It was the ultimate school supply list. Not only did I got new notebooks, highlighters, and pens, but I also got new dorm decorations, a new place to live, and a new person to live with. It was the start of a new chapter in my life, and I embraced it with open arms.

My feelings going into this fall, my sophomore year, were different. Instead of feeling excitement, I was nervous, and even filled at times with dread. Nothing was new anymore. I worried about reconnecting with my friends, doing well in my classes, and balancing my busy schedule. I now had obligations and expectations waiting for me. These proved illogical, because as soon as I set foot on campus for move in day I couldn’t wait for the year to get started. But I had to actually get here to figure it out.

One of my favorite verses to meditate on as the school year begins is Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

This verse reminds me that whatever I feel about the year to come, whether it be anxiety, fear, or excitement, God has it all planned out for me. That doesn’t mean that it will be easy or even enjoyable all the time, but it does mean that he will help me get through it. My sophomore year experience may be different from my freshman year experience, but it is still a new start. And I look forward to building upon things I have learned in the past and preparing for the years to come.