The students are pouring into town this week.
Even though it means I won't be able to eat at Panera for the next nine months because there will be a perpetual line out the door; or I will be surrounded by oversized t-shirts, exercise pants, riding boots, fishing shirts, and very, very loud trucks; or that driving around town on home-game weekends will be an almost nightmare, I love this time of year. For a few reasons.
First, I love school. Like a lot. I loved the upper floors of Evans Library because I love the smell of old books. I loved class discussion and lectures and even how a blank Blue Book looked waiting to be scribbled over. Written testimonies of minds-in-progress, those Blue Books. A high calling.
So even though I am not in school anymore, I still enjoy being in a largely academic environment when the semester kicks off.
Second, I love freshmen. Every year draws me further away from that time period, but it was a pivotal one for me. I feel a warmth toward each wave of not-quite-adults that invades College Station every fall.
Freshmen, I think, are looking for a few things. They want to be taken seriously, and they want to be part of something bigger.
And by taken seriously I don't mean they want to be serious all the time. I think they just want to be treated like the adults they aren't yet, or more accurately, treated how they always imagined adults are treated, which I think is somewhere in the neighborhood of their lives looking like they are on the set of Gossip Girl, or Friends, or both.
That's how I remember feeling, anyway. I wanted to be so cool and mysterious and work in a coffee shop and listen to records.
I wasn't cool, or mysterious, and I spent a lot of money in coffee shops. I did eventually listen to (my friend's) John Denver records on (my friend's) record player.
I think Jesus answers this desire to be taken seriously in such an incredible way.
One of my favorite things to do is ask a freshman what they are hoping to do with their lives, not because they need an answer to that question, but because they're just beginning to realize that they're the ones that get to answer it.
I wanted so badly for someone to take my passion seriously, even though it was yet immature and not channeled. Christ did.
I believe He takes our passions and lives more seriously than anyone or anything else ever could. Because He gave them to us. It is an honor to watch college students realize this.
More importantly, He takes us, His pursuit of us, very seriously. Watching college students experience the intimate pursuit of Yeshua of their hearts, souls, and minds is humbling.
Not only does Christ take freshmen seriously, but He invites them to be part of something bigger than anything or anyone else.
Bigger than finding the love of their life.
Bigger than achieving their highest goal.
Bigger than gaining any amount of recognition.
Bigger than whatever temporal measure of success they currently have.
So, while it is true many have begun this process long before they hit college, many are just now starting it. This is why I think freshmen are so cool, they are at the beginning of so many parts of life. They are at the beginning of most major decisions, and Christ is waiting for them.
Waiting to walk with them. To be their Savior & Lord. To give them a serious calling and bring them into a bigger cause than anything they could have dreamed up on their own.
Right there, from the beginning.