The smell of bacon was swirling through my house. When it reached my room, I woke up to a huge wave of fear. My mom had made my favorite breakfast to "celebrate" the beginning of a new season - college. I forced myself to smile as I ate my breakfast and then finished packing my room. We loaded our cars and headed south with our printed directions in hand (that makes me sound ancient). With my childhood home in the rear view mirror and a seven hour drive to Auburn University ahead, we rode in silence because we knew things were changing forever.
When we got there, I checked into my dorm, got a key, and reluctantly began the climb to the third floor of my new home in the quad at Auburn. I knocked on the door eager to meet this roommate I had only spoken to once before. When she opened the door, it only took a few seconds for me to realize that we were worlds apart, different in almost every way. I was shaken because I thought my freshman roommate was supposed to automatically become my best friend, maid of honor and children's god mother...okay I watch too many chick flicks. My parents helped me unpack my suitcases and set up my room complete with the best dorm decor Target has to offer. Once I was "settled," my parents took me to dinner at a local favorite called Toomer's Corner. I was still nervous and could hardly eat but tried my best to mask the fear. I hugged my parents goodbye and they started the drive back to South Carolina.
I remember standing on that corner so afraid, so lonely. I didn't even know how to get back to my dorm. So, I sat in my car and finally let loose the emotions I'd been holding in all day. I cried and I cried and I cried. My heart was terrified to be so far from home with no friends and no one to call if I needed help. And then something crazy happened. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Memories started flooding back and I had the most amazing sense of peace. Sure, I was still scared out of my mind, but I started to remember all the things that my camp counselor had taught me. The previous summer we talked about bravery and courage and finding good people to surround myself with. She told me there would be lonely days and nights but it would be an awesome time to seek God. She taught me that I was never truly alone.
So, that's what I did. I was 18 years old, not a clue in the world, and I sat in my car in a new city and talked to Jesus. For the first time in my life I knew I wouldn't make it without Him. I knew that if my counselor hadn't mentored me and guided me towards a deep faith, I would have readily turned to partying and other things college offers so quickly. BUT because of camp I knew who I was, I knew who I wanted to be, and I knew I wasn't alone.