Written by Alyssa Esparaz

The middle of the semester is a funny time on college and university campuses. It seems like students are bogged down by a never-ending load of assignments, exams, quizzes, presentations, and the ever-present pressure to perform. This is especially illustrated by the endless line for coffee and the multitude of students passed out in the library or vigorously typing on their laptops. 

I’ve been thinking lately: Post-secondary education doesn’t really prepare us to be well-rounded people, does it?  

 I mean, we’re expected to move heaven and earth in order to get one 30% paper handed-in on time. I can’t think of any other setting where it’s expected and normalized to be up working until 4 a.m. just to perform according to the standard.  

 So, I’ve got this crazy, radical, world-shaking idea for us students: What if we just didn’t?  

 I’ll give you a moment. 

 Okay, so I’m not advocating that we neglect our studies. Obviously, the pursuit of our post-secondary degrees and diplomas is a beautiful, holy, important calling on our lives in this season, and God has placed us where we are to glorify him in all that we do. 

 But that’s just it—in all that we do.  

 We are so much more than students. We are artists, activists, athletes, musicians, leaders, lovers. We are comedians, pianists, writers, volunteers, speakers, programmers, photographers. 

 Above all else, we are disciples of Jesus Christ.  

 Does the way we live our lives—including the way we pursue our diplomas—reflect that? 

A verse that I’ve clung to throughout my studies is Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” It might seem like a platitude on paper, but when I find myself drowning in that mid-semester pressure, that verse is one of the most important and radical truths in my life. The pure grace of it has gotten me through some of the toughest seasons of school, and enriched my life in ways that I never even imagined possible. 

What if instead of pursuing a 4.0 GPA, we decided as a generation of students to pursue the Kingdom of Christ instead? Yes, our degrees and diplomas might be part of that, and in some seasons, it might be a very big part of that. But the point is that we don’t have to be stressed out of our minds as students. Perhaps we could instead be entirely fulfilled in our pursuit of His Kingdom—as students or otherwise.