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  • Dear Freshmen. With Love, Caroline

    Around this time of the year many years ago, I left Lexington and drove 13 hours into unchartered territory. My mom moved me into my freshman dorm room, and then all of a sudden, I didn’t know a soul in the great big city of Dallas, or in the even greater state of Texas.

    You may be planning a similar trip across the country to get to UK this fall, or you might be traveling a short distance down roads you’ve known your whole life onto campus. No matter how close to or familiar with UK you are, you’re weeks away from leaving the predictable, known, and maybe even comfortable existence of your life at home, and about to begin somewhat of a new life in an unfamiliar world that is college. 

    Something I’ve learned in my own experience as a college student at SMU, and from years of walking alongside a new class of college freshmen each fall, is that no matter what you bring to the start of your college career, you’re standing on even ground. No matter how happy, full, or easy everyone else’s lives look, you’re not alone, you’re not the only one struggling.      

    Everyone is nervous, everyone is new, and most significantly, everyone is uncertain as to what freshman year, let alone their college years, will look like. No one has it all together.

    While who you are is entirely unique and complex, and this season may cause you to feel like no one knows or understands the real you; I assure you, you are not alone. 

    God knows all of you (your shame, your fear, your wounds, your insecurities, your emptiness, your loneliness), better than you know yourself; and He’ll never stop saying to you, “I want you. No matter what it takes, I want to be with you.”

    The words we all so desperately hope to hear from our crush, our parents, a sorority or fraternity, or a group of friends, you will hear them endlessly from Jesus. And, because He is God, Jesus is the only person powerful and perfect enough to satisfy the aches of the lonely, heal the wounds of the broken, & quiet the fears of the anxious with these words.  

    I was in a sorority that I loved, have an incredible group of friends from college, I’ve dated, I have parents who support me, and get to do what I love. These are great things, things I want for you, and things I’d be honored to hope for with you and pray for them for you. But none of these great things are really the thing that your heart, my heart, longs for. A group of friends, the right sorority or fraternity, a boyfriend or girlfriend, the perfect body, or a full calendar won’t ever be enough. Only being with Jesus is. Author Scott Sauls reminds us, “Because our souls are crafted in the image of a great and magnificent God, they can never be filled with such a small thing… Only Jesus can fill an empty soul.”  

    As you pull up to your new dorm, run to your house on Bid Day, sit lost in class, or wait for friendships to form, hear the Lord Jesus’ words to you, “I want to be with you. I am with you.”

    RUF would love to be somewhere in your life at UK where you are reminded weekly that you are not alone, that you matter, that you are loved and accepted more than you could ever imagine. No matter what you do or do not bring, where you’re from, how your story has been written, we would love to do life at UK with you!


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