I Found Growth When I Left

Sorry to break your “assumption”, but… this story isn’t about me leaving from a romantic relationship, but rather about my college journey. However, the principle, I believe, can still apply depending on your situation.

I was 16 when I went to pursue college 1000+km away from home. Moving out to a far place at that young age gave me mixed emotions. Fear, anxiousness, worries, and also excitement. I was not really sure back then if I’d be able to survive, when I didn’t even plan about going there in the first place.

Yes. I did not even expect I’d pass to such university. My mind and heart already decided back then that I’d go to this certain university just hours away from home. Everything was set.

But to my surprise, while my eyes were set to this one opened door, while I readied my heart to venture the other side of the walls, God has opened another door for me.

And it brought hesitations and confusions.

What I had to let go

As someone who is family-oriented, I had always been dependent to my parents. Not a spoiled daughter, but I had learned to lean on them in terms of finances, decision making, and pretty much with everything I needed at home, but I had to leave that comfort.

Aside from family matters, I had to be far from my close friends and classmates. I needed to find a new family and set of friends from the place I’m an alien in. And most of all, I’d have to adapt to the new culture and diverse kinds of people from all over the country.

These were few of the many things that made me anxious, apart from questioning my ability if I could even handle the difficulty of the standard set by this university for her students. Going to college, plus, to THIS university, was really far from my comfort zone, but God told me to leave anyway. Even with the hesitations and confusions about how my life should go, something (or Someone?) in me convinced me to go.

So I did.

Building relationships

One of the things I appreciated (until today, to be honest) about how God made me was the kind of personality that I have. I didn’t need to stress myself at adapting in a new environment. It was easy for me. But in contrast, handling homesickness and building relationships were the hard part.

Slowly, I learned to engage into conversations. No matter how awkward I was (and still am from time to time, lol) deep inside, I pushed myself to connect and know people. Some of the closest friends I had were from the GE’s! And I had my roommates and course-mates to celebrate with me the pumasa (passed) moments, and console and comfort me during the bumagsak (failed) moments. In both, we would eat out together and be hopeful again.

I also got a new family from the church that I was connected to. People from this church really helped me a lot since I was a freshman until I graduated. My small group (VG) leaders and group-mates, the titas I served in the ministry, and the friends I met in this church had been an inspiration and encouragement for me in my college journey.

Financial lessons

Aside from the problems and breakthroughs in relationships, the financial aspect had also its place in the journey. I was a scholar. I am still thankful until today because during my undergrad days is when my family and I experienced the greatest lack so far. As a scholar of this government, I needed to wait for about three months before our stipend would come. After the lack, there came abundance.

I thank God for both moments. The lack helped me see how sufficient God’s grace is, how He sends people to help you while your stomach is empty, and how His timing with everything is always perfect. The abundance taught me how to handle my finances well. In both, I learned how to be generous and to surrender my tithes to the Lord.

Living in independence

I started to learn to be independent. I’ve learned to do some things alone, and some other things with people. I’ve learned to balance the alone and social events. From this, I realized back then that we cannot really live with just ourselves, neither we can live by clinging to people the whole time.

Moreover, I learned the importance of being convicted about something, make a stand on it, and defend it with wisdom. This applies not only in academics, but also in faith, social relationships, and even in politics.

Academic journey

Speaking of academics, my personal journey taught me humility and acceptance. The moment I first stepped in there, I was faced with the fact that I am not smart. I was drowned by an ocean of brilliant persons, or my own thought of it drowned me. However, I was encouraged by the fact that striving and doing your best will go a long way. I had to accept who I am, realize my abilities, and do something with them.

Acceptance can be your jump start. Stop denying and start recognize the truth, then you’ll be free, free to move on and start growing for the better. When you fail, you have to accept your failure, but you don’t have to stay a failure. You gotta get up and try again. It’s just basically a series of trying and doing. And along the way, you’ll learn.

Growing in faith

While my college journey has been the years when I’ve experienced the lowest and lack the most in my life yet, they’re also the years where I’ve known God the most. It was that time when I started surrendering to Him every aspects in my life, one by one. It was the years when I really got intentional in my intimate relationship with Him, and started to see things the way He wanted me to see them.

A time that’s so important is when I was connected to the church where I met many of the people that brought me closer to God. They made me realize how a relationship with God is really essential, not only in ones college journey, but in life as a whole.

And this is the ultimate reason why, until today, I still thank God for opening that door for me, even though it caught me off guard.

What could have happened

Honestly, from time to time, I still ask myself what could’ve happened if I didn’t left my hometown. Would I still learn these things? Would I still meet and know God like this or better? Would I be able to meet the same kind of people?

I don’t know. But I am so much grateful to God that I’ve grown to be who I am today because of how He planned my college life to be. Despite of experiencing the hardships, those couldn’t compare to the joy of knowing God and His love. And it is all thanks to Him, because by His grace, I was able to go through this beautiful journey and found growth along the way.

Here’s the truth, God always has a way to build us up to be the best version of us wherever we are or however we started the journey. But we can only receive it in one condition: when we start to surrender our life to Him and let Him take control of the wheel.

A bonus collage of my college life. Making this during this quarantine season made me reminisce and be nostalgic. Haaay, there’s so much joy in this picture. 😌💜

Indeed, you’ll grow once you leave your comfort zone. You might be hesitant and confused at first but it will always be worth it to just go, because growth always wins against discomfort. When God tells you to leave, leave, because it just implies that there will be blessings and opportunities to see His goodness and grace to the place where He wants you to go. You just have to trust and go through the journey with Him, then you’ll be okay.

2 thoughts on “I Found Growth When I Left”

  1. Super relate sa part na “I was faced with the fact that I am not smart.” Haha! This has been such a great read. Thank you for sharing these experiences and life lessons. Take care and God bless! 😀


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