The Freshman Project

FP

 

A couple of years ago I did a five post series called, College, Ready or Not?, that focused on finances, making friends, going Greek, stress management, and the importance of listening to your instincts in the collegiate environment. This was great foreshadowing for the opportunity I had to contribute to The Freshman Project: A Collection of Practical and Clever Advice About The College Experience. This book is for college students diving into their first-year of college AND for those people in their life who serve as their advocates, allies, mentors, friends, teachers, guidance counselors, mentors, and champions.

After serving as a Student Affairs staff member on the campuses of Duke University and Vanderbilt University for the past 9 years, I know that parents/guardians always want to know, “How do I prepare my student for college?” This book can help you answer that question with pages of expert knowledge that help you have the conversations that matter most with your student.

Gift this book to a student and they can spend some time preparing for their next incredible chapter.

Topics include:

  • Survive Failure
  • Build Healthy Love Relationships
  • Pick a Major
  • Be a Beginner
  • Navigate Depression and Anxiety
  • Discover Leadership Opportunities
  • Honor the Differences
  • Sleep Smart
  • Consider Fraternity/Sorority Life

All of these topics are critical for an incoming college student to discuss with a caring individual in their life AND there are still many more topics in the book. Providing them with this information will provide a strong foundation that will help support them as they navigate their first-year of college.

I’m honored to have a chapter in the book “Discover Leadership Opportunities”. Erin Fischer of The Leadership and Training Studio put together an all-star roster of expert contributors who give you top notch nuggets of wisdom.

If you’re a student or a supporter of a student and you want  deeper insight into the collegiate experience while adding some tools to your toolbox to help you both be successful, then this book is for you.

Want a copy? I’d love to send you some purchase information.

Want to develop a program around the first-year college experience?

Email me at krystalnclark@gmail.com so that I can send you purchase information and we can begin planning something positive for you community.

 

Want to read my series, College, Ready or Not?

Part 1

Come Back to Calm

Inconvenient Friends

Go With Your Gut

Money, Too Much and Never Enough

The Greek Thing

 

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

 

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All By Myself

Traveling alone has become a source of pleasure in my life. I look forward to escaping the day to day. I research and plan a true tourist experience. I like being a solo tourist and making my way around a city without a squad. Whether I’m ubering, walking, or metroing my way through Washington D.C. taking in the wonders of Seattle, melting at the beauty of the homes in Charleston, or taking a break from the crowd in Montreal there’s something really refreshing and fulfilling about going on a solo mission. Planning MY itinerary and whipping out my iPhone (I mean, how did people live without them?) to find my way to the next adventure is good for me. It’s taught me more about how resourceful and strong I am.  It’s a good time for reflection and creative projects. It’s also helped me realize that I can connect with just about anyone. I’m great at chatting up strangers and I actually enjoy meeting new people in each city. I don’t have to include anyone in my plans. I go where I want to, when I want to, and how I want to. I don’t have to have the dreaded. “What do you want to eat?” conversation and I don’t have to get pissed at someone for waking up late and ruining the whole day. No one has any expectations of me.  I’m a woman who didn’t ride a plane until she was 21 and just left the US for the first time last month. The fact that I can get to the airport and board the correct vessel, is quite a feat.

Mimosa at Poogan's

During my time in Charleston as sweet southern people asked me repeatedly, “Are you here alone?” “Did you travel by yourself?” “Do you do this often?” “Are you eating dinner here all by yourself?” to which I replied, “Yes!” only to hear their responses of, “Wow, that’s something. You’re brave.” “Good for you.” “I want to do that when I grow up.” “That sounds like a great idea.” I began to think more about the taboo nature of this to most people. Most people would never travel alone. It would never cross their mind NOT to call up their besties for a voyage to a new place. Most people would never saddle up to a bar and eat a delicious meal with no one to talk to but the bartender until the others sitting on nearby stools open up after a couple of cocktails.

I don’t know WHY I can do this. I do know that my mother has similar albeit local tendencies.

And now for the raw & real part, I also came to the realization that for me, this “going solo” mentality is really all about preparation for the rest of my life. I’m often putting myself in positions to be alone because I think that’s going to be my state of being until the day I am no longer walking this earth. In my mind, I will be alone. Not lonely, but alone, and really by alone, I mean, single. When one turns 33 in the South and is the most single person on the planet and doesn’t have children, one is inclined to think about this in a deep reflective manner. I’m NEVER in a relationship (well, I haven’t been since college) and the thought of kids give me a heart attack.  I want to get used to just being “me” without anyone else to help me or accompany me on life’s adventures. I want to get so good at being just “me” that I numb the pain of the absence of a romantic partner. I want it to become normal so that I don’t put in the emotional work wondering, “Where is he?” or waste my prayers on some person that may not even exist. So, I detach and I run off to places all by myself. Sometimes, this can be as simple as a movie, museum, fitness class, or a concert, but other times it’s a new city in a different state. It’s the purchase of 1 ticket and the reservation for a table of 1.

I want to be a person who is full of hope and faith in God’s plan for me. He may have called me to be single or He may have called me to be married with three children. His answer might be “Not Yet” and not “No”. This is always my loudest prayer. I work to hold on to my belief that all He’s doing is for my good. But sometimes, y ’all, I just want to accept what is oddly the easiest and hardest answer–I wasn’t meant to be a married woman and I wasn’t chosen to be a mother. By just grappling with that notion, I find it easy to throw myself into individual pursuits. If this is the way it’s going to be then I must embrace it and I must celebrate it. I must own the position of falling in love with myself because I’m not sure that anyone else will ever want the job.

Me at the Beach

Yes, I understand how negative and messed up this might sound but this solo act business has become a coping mechanism to deal with my sometimes tear inducing fear of never again experiencing romantic love. Instead of doing something about my single state ( I don’t know what to do.) I just run from it. That kid thing I’m still REALLY unsure about at this time but having a person, my person, would be welcomed.

So, yeah, traveling alone is fun, but it’s much deeper than that for me.

RSVP is a Verb.

 

RSVP

 

Répondez s’il vous plaît

In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally “Reply if you please” or “Please reply”.

This is what you learn when you type into Google, “What does RSVP mean?” Ahem, I know what it means but I wanted to get it from a trusted source and I tend to trust Google more than I’ve ever trusted a human being in my life (j/k) but really…hmm, that’s probably a topic for another post.

Anywho, let’s talk about something that’s been grinding my gears lately, and yes, that is a Family Guy reference. I enjoy big belly laughs while watching that show and I could care less if that changes your opinion of me.

To remind you, I work at a Top 15 university and part of my job includes developing educational programs for undergraduate students. 95% of my time, I really love my job and the students are the best part of it all. However, what I began to notice within the 18-22 set and have continued to observe in the beyond 22 crowd (I’m 32 and doing it well.) is that people no longer show any respect for the RSVP. It has fallen into the pile of things that are heavily underutilized. That pile also includes signal lights in Tennessee, the phone to actually make calls, the ability to ask people out on dates, and razors during No Shave November.

What I have found is that people respond to an invite with an enthusiastic, “YES!” or not at all. Now, I haven’t really tested this in the paper realm of things but when it comes to electronic invites, we are really slippin’ on our RSVP game. I blame all of this on Facebook. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! I’m an OG on Facebook joining in 2005 and back then the event feature didn’t exist. Now, we all have the power to create events and invite selectively or just your entire “friends” list to your birthday party, opening, fundraiser, watch party, baby shower, donor drive, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, happy hour, gender reveal party, the day you woke up on time, that one time you escaped work without banging your head against the wall, your prison release celebration and so on and so forth. So what happens? People get an invite and feel special and while still on that dopamine high that one experiences upon receiving social media notifications, they eagerly hit “Going”. Congratulations, you’ve just RSVPd “Yes”. The person on the other side of this event, the person who is expending psychological and financial resources on this event just became really excited because you, their “friend”, just agreed to support them at this event. Hell yeah! This person, is coming and I won’t be there all by myself. Praise Him or Her or whatever you praise when you get excited.

Let’s fast forward to the actual event. Person B, event creator, is expecting you to be there along with the other 50 folks who hit “Going” with more enthusiasm than people ever show in voting booths. “This is going to be rad”, thinks Person B, “50 of my woes are coming to this event.” And guess what, at the end of the event perhaps 15 of your woes have rolled into the scene. You planned for 50, you paid for 50, you’d gotten your heart set on 50, you’d promised the club owner 50, and you got 15. WHERE IN THE HELL WERE ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE? Oh, wait, there they are over on Instagram at other events having the time of their lives. Dagger! Dems fighting words or rather pictures.

The other response is “silence” which signals, “I’m ignoring your invitation and don’t even care enough to reject this opportunity.” —Avoidance is always the right answer, amirite?! Oh, and I’m lazy. Ick.

Have we all simply become commitmentphobes?

Obviously, I took this question to the precious pumpkins that I get to have in my life aka college students who simultaneously make me feel 19 and 89.

“What’s up with that?”

A few responses—

“I mean, I say that I’m going on Facebook because it shows that I support my friend and the event. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m actually going to go.” –This is when I begin to feel 89. The ultimate form of support would be to, oh I don’t know, ACTUALLY ATTEND THE EVENT! The other, way more mature thing to do would be to honestly RSVP and then send your friend a note (text, email, stationery for all my adorable ones who leave me cards on my desk and under my door –love!) explaining that you can’t attend because other parts of your life are occurring at the same time along with statements, like and such as, you’re awesome and I’m so happy you’re having this event. Let’s get together soon and celebrate (whatever was happening at the event) OR let me know how I can be a part of the cause in another way.

Just my two cents. I’ve only been in the game for 32 years.

Other responses—

“I would have gone but I didn’t know anyone else who was going.” –Okay, I get it. Everyone isn’t an extroverted loner like myself who will literally do anything she wants all.by.myself with the same chest beating zeal of Celine Dion singing the same words. BUT at some point in your existence, I’m going to just need you to get gussied up and put your friend making pants on! I know this sounds nuts, but try meeting a new person. I know, I know I feel a little naughty even suggesting it to you. What I’ve found is that people don’t actually mind meeting other people. You were invited to the same event so there’s got to be some commonality that you’ll find within your network even if it’s just that you go to the same school or both know the host. Smile, say hello, ask a good leading question, and watch how it all unfolds. I have met a crapload of people in Nashville by just showing up and being my sweet southern sarcastic smart successful self. I thought of some other words that begin with ‘s’, but this is LinkedIn.

The last most common response grouping—

“Krystal, I fully intended to go but…

–another event was happening at the same time and I thought I could do both but it just didn’t happen.

— I was too busy with something else.

— I mean, I just didn’t feel like going.

For #1 and #2 –You’re doing too much. Just like Drake in “Hotline Bling”, I’m not mad at you for doing too much because you could be doing too much awesomeness, but I need you to become aware of it and act accordingly. Don’t let it have a negative impact on your ability to commit and in the process frustrate others. Essentialism by Greg Mckeown has changed my life. He talks about the power of the graceful “no”. “Remember that a clear ‘no’ can be more graceful than a vague or noncommittal ‘yes’. I’d much rather you say no instead of committing dishonestly and halfheartedly by saying yes? <–The question mark is supposed to be there. Read it again with emphasis on the question mark. McKeown reminds us that we live by the inherent assumption “I can do both” and this lead us to a lack of understanding or embracing that in life, there are tradeoffs. By saying yes to something, we are saying no to something else. If you click yes on a gender reveal party, you’re signaling that you’re saying no to the happy hour. You’re also being a damn good friend because I’m not sure I would make the same decision. Doing both is not going to lead to full commitment of you physically or psychologically. That doesn’t seem fair to you or to the hosts. By figuring out what’s essential to your life, focusing not on how to do “more things but more of the right things” you’re going to live a more fulfilling, clear, and purposeful life. You’ll also retain the respect of your peers and not burn bridges that could lead you somewhere essential later in life.

Seriously, read Essentialism. I’d be totally cool if you stopped reading this and read that instead. I believe in it just that much. I’m also pretty confident that you’re not going to do that.

#3 –Don’t should yourself to death. Check out this Buzzfeed video. If you don’t want to go, just say “no” and let that be okay. You ain’t got to lie, Craig. That was a Friday reference  (excuse the language in the clip). Everything isn’t going to appeal to everyone. You can gracefully decline. Just please, don’t say “YES” and give people the wrong idea. No one actually deserves that in the same way that you don’t deserve having to endure an event that you find to be just awful. Rid your life of FOMO and just enjoy the limited amount of time that you have on this planet. If you want to smooth this over with the host then see that thing about a note that I wrote earlier or when you see them again in the flesh just push that awkward elephant out of the room and apologize for your absence. Unless, there’s actually an elephant in the room and then by god you just enjoy being in the presence of that beautiful creature. Also, probably ask why there’s an elephant in the room and how he/she got there in the first place?

What I know for sure is that life happens and when it does, it can get in the way of your plans. What I don’t get is how we’ve become so immune to the feelings of other humans that when we acknowledge that my life happening impacted their life happening that I can’t even take the time to send a 1 line text, “My apologies. I fully well meant to attend but [insert life happening here]. Then scratch that one off your “Things I feel guilty or awkward about list” or the “Things I was a total jerk about list” and move on with all of the other things occurring in the world.

My office and students plan programs all the time and it can take a great deal of courage and energy to plan an event and invite the world to attend. Your name is on something and the most superficial level of success can only be achieved if there are butts in seats. When folks don’t honor their commitment, it can simply be hurtful. Why would you want to do that to someone?

Advice for the Hosts: The philosophy that was taught to me a long time ago by TJ Sullivan was to “celebrate those who come”. No matter if 2 or 200 people are in the space, show those folks the best time possible. Achieve your event outcomes with those two people and know that you’ve had an impact. Those 2 who had a jolly time will tell 2 more people and when you talk about that event, you let people know that we did it real BIG and you missed it. You always play to a crowd of 1000 even if there’s 1 person in the stands.

All of these words to say that we’ve got to get our RSVP Game back in order. It’s just a basic sign of respect for people in the world who are working hard to make great things happen and plan your social calendar. People want you to be at places—that’s really cool. However, don’t be so overtaken by that rush of happiness that you screw them over in the process. It’s pretty simple, YES or NO. If things change, you often have the opportunity to commit at a later time or uncommit.

Take a moment out of your day to go back through all of those Facebook Invites and update your attendance status. Send notes of regret to those people sweating behind the scenes. Mark some things off your calendar or to-do list and engage in a sigh of relief. Release yourself and others from expectations. I’m not perfect at this but I’m getting better everyday because I know that these events matter. If not to you, then someone else and that’s enough for me to start caring and acting like I care.

The RSVP is a powerful tool. It represents not only something that you have in the form of an opportunity and a choice but also something that you do. It calls you to respond. JUST SAY YES or JUST SAY NO (that one’s for you, Nancy Reagan).

Thanks for reading.

 

The Best and Hardest Gift from God

This picture is the aftermath of 1.5 hours on stage at Delta Zeta’s Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference. I spoke on “Building Resilience” with over 400 sorority women who served as onlookers, learners, participants, and co-educators as we talked about the hard process of “bouncing back” and what it means to “stretch” and not “break”. As Brene Brown and Oprah spewed their wisdom on vulnerability being the cornerstone of confidence the necessity of “daring greatly” and the freedom that comes with brushing your critics off your shoulder. Whew!

aftermath

I literally float on a cloud when I’m giving a talk and then I have to work my way back to earth. Eventually I crash which is the view you see above and YES, I’m watching a 30 For 30 because these documentaries are my “Lifetime Movie”. The U: Part 1 & 2 give me life. As someone who is intrigued by topics like vulnerability, resiliency, and self-authorship–I find the tales of athletes to be riveting. Our athletes are our superheroes and to see all that they go through whether inflicted by self or others is always inspiring.

As I was deflating in this lovely hotel room while wrapped up in comfy hotel bedding thinking about this opportunity that God has given me to do what I feel I’ve been called to do, I got one of those pangs–you know, one of those single woman pangs. That feeling that’s been happening more and more lately that yes, I have a charmed life BUT I’m still missing elements that I thought by 32 would be present. At least, I thought I’d have a partner –perhaps not children, but a partner for certain, someone to share what’s happening in my life. Someone who would be excited for me, proud of me, and would be waiting for me when I got off the plane or would be there with me, in the moment, smiling at me from the audience.

Those pangs HURT. My appendix swelling was pretty painful and single woman pangs are a close second. Both are debilitating.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I stashed my Wholeheartedly Devotional in my travel bag before I departed for O-H-I-O. Because God is who He is the next devotional in the serious is called “receive”.

“Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” Matthew 19:11-12

The words jumped off the page and into my heart and soul. Natalie Matrejean, the author of Wholeheartedly expressed what she learned about being single from this scripture and I desperately needed to hear and understand this Word.

1. Singleness is a gift (let’s hope there’s a gift receipt). Some people are gifted with singleness. If you are one of those people He will help you.

2. Singleness is hard (YEP!). Even some who are called will not be able to accept it.

3. Singleness is better for the kingdom. Jesus is saying to receive and accept singleness  for His Kingdom’s sake if you have been called to it.

In that moment, in the hotel room and in many other moments throughout my life, I have to remember and accept these three things.

My singleness is a GIFT. For some reason He is calling me to it for a season or perhaps for the rest of my life. I often realize that the freedom that comes with being single is a huge gift from God. I have loads of FREEDOM to live and serve. I am blessed to know and understand that I have a God who helps me navigate my solo mission.

It is HARD. A lot of the time it’s hard because of what’s going on around me. It seems that everyone is married and having tons of babies. The world has found its other half and I’m that sock that lost its match in the dryer. It’s also hard because there are times when I just want someone to hug me. I want a partner in life because most things are better when you have a buddy. You know, a built in human support system. I’ve been in love and it feels great. I need some serotonin and oxytocin, you know? It’s hard to play against a team when you’re all alone.

It is BETTER? I don’t know. On a daily basis, my answer is a big resounding, NO!  Sometimes I feel it is  when I see people I love going through incredibly dramatic relationship matters. Divorce, infidelity, unhappy marriages, and difficult conversations. I don’t want those headaches. However, if its BETTER for God then I guess it is BETTER. If he sees fit to use me in a special way to serve Him then perhaps for me, at this time, or until I leave this earth, it is BETTER for me to be single.

In order to gain some peace during this current season of my life, I have to “receive” this message. I have to believe that it is a Gift, it is Hard, and it is Better. If this is my calling, and I receive it, then I shall be blessed by it.

It was also a wake up call to me that because I am ABLE to do more for His kingdom because I’m not occupied by a spouse or any dependents, that I need to do so and if I’m honest with you, I’m not doing enough for God at this moment in my life.

In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Cor. 7:34-35

Delving into this teacher helped the pangs subside and I was able to open myself back up to the happiness that was happening all around me. As I know but as I have to keep reminding myself at every turn, that God is in control. His plan, His timing, my obedience.

My life is too blessed and I’m doing what I said I wanted to do in life. I’m human and I have those valley moments and like I told the sorority women in the audience, we’ve all got to work our way back up from those black holes in our life. My resiliency is a factor of my faith and when I’m feeling those single woman pangs, God is the best at giving me the Word I need to get back to good. My joy comes from the Lord and if this is what He sees fit for me at this point in my life then I can’t let my singleness ruin all of the blessings he’s bestowed upon me. Because what I now understand is that it is too a blessing. Exhale.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Quiet As It’s Kept…

Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my perpetual state of being single. I’ve been in wondrous love once and crippling lust once and out of the two I’m praying for the former this next time around.

However, I just don’t do well with this whole thing. People always ask me, “Why are you still single?” That’s like asking saying to someone who’s lost, “Tell me exactly where you are.” If I knew the answer to this question, maybe I wouldn’t be single.

Here’s a few reasons I’ve conjured up or have been told to me by the gaggle of sages that inhabit my life (note the sarcasm):

  1. You’re surrounded by too many women. . You need to hang out in mixed groups.
  2. You should try online dating.
  3. You don’t leave any space in your life for another person. Start making room for that person to be in your life and he shall appear.
  4. You just seem really happy being single. It’s not easy to see that you want another person in your life.
  5. You’re too picky!
  6. Oh, and my favorite–You’re just really intimidating and have it all together. Men don’t really know how to handle that in a woman.

My single status only bothers me every now and then. There are days when I’m beyond the moon grateful that I don’t have a partner and children because of the freedom I have in my life, but then there are those days when I’m not sure that I can wake up AGAIN alone in my bed or go to one more event by myself. At 32, when I see all of these beautiful babies tottering around in the world, I feel like my uterus and heart are going to burst. Living in the South doesn’t help with these feelings.

I constantly ask myself, Why me? Why am I the single educated black woman stereotype? What did I do wrong? Hell, I worked really hard to do as much as I could in the manner I thought was “right”. Why can’t a male see that and want me to be a part of his life? Am I really that awful?

Over the past 32 years, I’ve dealt with confidence issues and  there was certainly a period of my life that rears its ugly head on my worst days, in which I thought that if I just lost weight, had longer hair, made myself less ugly, and dumbed myself down that I would be able to find him. Those days when I thought that if I just relaxed and let him control everything that I would be deemed less intimidating and more attractive. I’m not proud of those days and what I allowed to happen because of those poisonous thoughts. It’s still really difficult when I go out and don’t get any attention from men. It takes me a minute to not let myself fall back into that pit of worthlessness. Luckily, it takes me a shorter amount of time to bounce back then it did when I was 16.

I think this is one the reasons I enjoy social media because I certainly get positive affirmation from others in those areas in which I need it the most. On those days when I feel less than about who I am, a ‘Like’ can make a difference in my day. I know this isn’t healthy, but I think it’s a sickness many of us are dealing with in this world. The source of our approval should never be man and I’m working on that slowly but surely. The Krystal you see on Facebook is a real woman and in those moments, I am happy, but there are other layers to me –layers of sadness and imperfection—layers of wanting more and feeling like less more days than I’d like to admit. Those quotes I post are as much for me as they are for you. If I layer my day with hope, faith, and Beyonce-like motivation, I can get through just about anything.

What I know for sure is that I live a blessed life. The people, the places, my profession, my ability to wear bright colors, my intelligence, my large smile, and fun hair, the ways that I’m able to give back to others, etc. are all gifts. I mean, there are so many blessings on my doorstep that I’m constantly overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I’ve got it so good…I just wonder more and more what it would be like to do my life in partnership with another person.

For the longest time I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I NEVER want to get married and I NEVER want to have kids.” I now know that a lot of that was fear. Fear that my marriage would turn out like my mother’s and fear that this was never in the cards for me. Sandbagging became my chosen defense mechanism. Maybe if I said it long enough, I’d come to believe it.

My conservative side is winning this battle and I want to be married and then have children. I want that good ‘ol nuclear family. I didn’t have this growing up and I’m not going to make the decision to be a single mother. My mother did a kickass job raising two unicorn children BUT that wasn’t her choice and a father is important in a child’s life. No one needs daddy issues. Believe me.

Say it and it shall be so. Well, I’m saying it out loud. I want at least to have the opportunity to have a family of my own. I don’t want this desire to completely consume me but I don’t want it to allude me either.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit the discotheques or start hiding out in Whole Foods playing ‘Spot the Wedding Ring’. It also doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time winking, flirting, poking, and swiping folks on a screen. I’m also not going to become Eeyore. I shall be glad. It just means that I’m opening my mind and my heart. I’m going to stop denying what I want out of fear.

“You’re single not because you’re not good enough for one, it’s that you’re too good for the wrong one.”- Chris Burkmenn

God has given me this ever present season for a reason. He’s preparing me for greater. My first love and my crippling lust weren’t the end goal for me. While I’m waiting for His choice, I want to fully embrace this time in my life even more than I already do. I have great things to offer this world. I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want to press PAUSE on all the bright sides of life while I twiddle my thumbs hesitating to move forward until my Prince Charming appears. As I’m living and waiting with my heart, I want to cocoon myself in His word. My moments of loneliness and emptiness as I trick myself into believing that I’m not loved need to be filled with Him and His promises.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I found Natalie Metrejean and we’re sharing the same struggle. Wholeheartedly: A Devotional For Singles will be my new companion as I work through devotions focused on being a single woman and what God wants for us and from us during this season. Already, I have spent time thinking through lies that need to be confronted, so that I can move forward living based on God’s truth. Clearing out the junk including the negative self-talk that hurts me even more than others do on a daily basis. Follow Natalie Instagram @NATALIEMETREJEAN.

While I’m waiting, hoping, wishing, dreaming, and certainly praying I think the Word is the best player to have on my team.

Pray with me and for me. Whatever God has for me I know is for my good. He hasn’t let me down yet and I know that He won’t start today.

Also, if you know of any bachelors, I’m more than willing to be set up. A girl’s got to eat and I might as well do it with another person ;).

Be Glad

 Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Love for 30 Project: Tis the Season of Enough

I’m fortunate to have a second guest post over at Erin Kennedy’s, MyThirtySpot.com. Tis the Season of Enough is the latest addition to the Love for 30 Project. Take some time to check it out today. Remember, you are ENOUGH! You are enough just as you are today. As we move into the holiday season, many of us in some way will feel as if we haven’t done enough. A family member will make a grating comment, your turkey isn’t as juicy as when your sister made it last year, you can’t afford all of the fancy gifts you’d like to give your family, perhaps you’re a student and you already know that your grades for the semester just aren’t going to turn out as you hoped they world, and for many of us we’re looking at the 2014 to-do list with a clear understanding that 2015 is staring us in the face. STEP AWAY FROM THE LIST! Breathe and think about ALL that you have done and all that you’ve overcome this year. Think about the effort, reflect on the process, and hold on to the understanding that whatever you did was enough and that most of that stuff on your list doesn’t really matter anyway. We’ve got to stop trying to pour ourselves into a receptacle that is not meant for us. What’s enough for me might not be enough for someone else or it could be too much and that’s fine. Many of the things we look to with the hope of becoming whole are actually toxic and will never be able to fill that void. So stop! Look around you. I am Enough! I do Enough! I have Enough! Let’s internalize this message and get on with the show.***

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***Believe me, I know there are people in the world who actually don’t HAVE enough. As we move into the holiday season, I encourage you to step outside of your own world and help those in need. There are ample opportunities to volunteer to make the holidays a better time for orphans, the homeless, people with disabilities,  prisoners, senior citizens, single parent families, and people who have a low socioeconomic status. If you’re in Nashville, check out Hands On Nashville for their Holiday Volunteer Guide. Working with those who actually don’t have enough will shine a light on all that you have. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and others while giving back in a time of great need. I promise serving others will give you pause before you launch into your dramatic lament about what you don’t have at this time in your life.

Thanks for reading!

Lata y’all.

College…Ready or Not?: Go With Your Gut!

There was a pause in my blog because I was actually working with college students and not just writing to them for the past few days. Move-In has occurred. The “visitors” are back on campus. I laugh just thinking about some of the interactions I’ve had since Saturday. Don’t worry, parents/families/guardians, we’re doing our absolute best every day to make sure they’re doing just fine. We love them and don’t even really know them yet. That’s Reason #678 that I love my job. Upon matriculation we fall in love with them and to be honest, never stop. 

But, here’s the thing that students and the people that love them MUST understand. Students are going to make their own decisions–regardless of what any of us “grown folks” have said to them. 

We build college up to be a time of self-discovery, exploration, experimentation, and the period of life when you begin making the journey home to yourself. We preach self-authorship and creating the life you wish you live, being the change you wish to see, “doing you”, and learning all of the nooks and crannies of who you are and what you want to be in this world. Amen! Preach on, preach on! 

All of that stated above is true and Reason #679 that I love working with college students. 

HOWEVER, with all of this freedom to play the game of life, another thing that we MUST get super clear about…I mean, like REAL CLEAR is that your actions have consequences. You are free to make all the decisions you want BUT you are NOT free from the consequences. We have turned college into into the “fake world” and we’re constantly preaching to students about the “real world”. Guess what? College is REAL. 

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You are not actually in a bubble. You are not made out of Teflon. Your actions could lead to self-harm and harm of others. Your actions could create long-term detrimental impact on your life and those you love, have loved, or could possibly love. As my pastor said tonight, The Universal Law of Consequences is actually a thing. 

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I know that it can be ridiculously hard in college to make a good personal decision. A decision–a choice–that is all your own and no one else’s. One that you can completely own up to and take accountability for without hesitation. You’ve got a lot of factors weighing on you at all times. Family, peers, professors, crazy staff members like me, and  all the many sides of you that are playing a fiercely intense 24/7 game of Tug-of-War in your heart, mind, and soul. Oh, and your gut. Your gut is ALWAYS speaking to you. I mean, not out loud unless you know something about the gut that I don’t. In that case, please stop reading and consult your nearest physician. 

What I firmly believe is that we know way more about ourselves than we take credit for. Sure, you might be 18, but if I asked you to list things that you’re 99% sure you’d never do or that you know would be really bad for you then you could do just that. When you find yourself in a multiple choice situation, your gut wakes up and it starts chattering like crazy. There is something inside of you pushing you towards “your right” answer. Notice, I said “your right answer” because what’s right for you and what’s right for someone else might not be the same. This is where it gets even more tricky, because when you’re in college–you tend to surround yourself with people who you feel are similar to you. So,  if you are “the same” then you should be okay with doing the same things and making the same decisions as those other same people. Hmmm…my friends, that is false and irrational logic. This is why peer pressure is the downfall of most. You are not your roommate, teammate, or sorority sister/fraternity brother. You are, YOU! Your gut works for YOU. Don’t let someone else’s gut do the talking. If you do, then you’ll be subject to consequences that were never actually meant for you. You could have made a different decision. You could have manifested a different outcome. 

trust your gut

This is so much easier said than done. I get it. You’re in college and the wannabe cool kid side of you is winning at tug-of-war. Sometimes, it takes a year or two to tire that kid out and wake up the side of you that has a better understanding of what’s important in life. Someone who has finally embraced what they value and want to live it out loud. No matter which senior I have spoken with throughout my 8 years of working with college students as a graduate student and as a professional, the cool kid never wins the tug-of-war tournament. In fact, at some point that person gratefully disappears from from the field.  

Embrace who you are and what your gut is telling you. I’m not telling you not to explore or experiment but that’s not necessarily the best practice to have with every aspect of your life. Work real hard to muster up the courage to remove yourself from places, things, and people that don’t serve you and aren’t in your best interest. Leave that party. Quit that group. Don’t respond to those people. Don’t pop that pill. Put that cup down. Don’t go in that room. If the people you hang out with aren’t fans of your gut, then they aren’t fans of you and frankly, you can do better. 

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SPOILER ALERT! YOU WILL MAKE BAD DECISIONS!–you will make heartbreaking decisions during college, your actions will break your heart and the heart of people you love. This doesn’t make you a bad human. It just makes you human. Even if some people never find out about those decisions, you’ll always know and that is consequence enough. But, what you won’t do is wallow in regret and you certainly won’t accept that this is the best you can do. If you know you can do better for yourself then do that. People like me on a college campus always want to help you get back up after you fall down. We won’t even say “I told you so”. 

If looking in the mirror ever becomes difficult, then let’s create a new reflection. 

With everything that happens during the first semester of college and all of the options that are put on your plate, remember, your gut already knows what’s up. It has known you for 18 years. You know more than you think you know about who you are and who you want to be or want not to be in this world. Don’t silence that voice. 

So, what’s your gut been telling you? 

Lata Y’all!