When I first came to Link Year, I had so many questions. I had no idea what I was getting into. Was I going to school? Was I going to fit in or make friends? Why am I moving to Branson, Missouri out of all places? All these questions swarmed my head as I entered into a year of the unknown. I know I wasn't the only one feeling this way in the beginning, and I am sure this class may be feeling this way too. So, with that being said, I wanted to put a little post together with some things I wish I knew before entering and some advice for the year. With the help of my classmates, these are a few of the ideas we came up with to help this year’s class out.
There will be times when you feel overwhelmed. It’s okay…this is when you must take it one day at a time, and rest in The Lord. You will hear the phrase “It’s like you're drinking out of a fire hydrant” -- and it's true! Keep holding on, and open up to people about feeling this way.
“What you put in is what you get out, so spend a lot less time watching sports and on social media, and instead pursue relationships based on Jesus and spend more time in community that God has blessed you with! It's time to not worry about anything but growing in your relationship with Christ so you can go out and glorify Him once you leave!!!” - Jack Harvey
Refuse to live life alone. You only get to spend 9 months with these people, so MAXIMIZE THOSE MOMENTS. In 10 or so years, you may not remember every single name, but you will remember the crazy stories you have from this year. So get out and get plugged in with the community.
“This year is what you put into it. If there's ever a chance to do something, go do it. Don't just sit in your room cause there is never going to be a year like this ever again. If you're bored, find someone to talk to or do something with, or find a new hobby. Maximize your moments while there!” - Austin Purvis
”Don't go in thinking everyone is ahead of you in their faith or have their lives all figured out. God has YOU there for a specific reason. It's not a race -- so have patience. When you look back on your year, you'll see what I'm talking about.” - Elena Owen
“Don’t blink, because you will miss out. Use this time wisely, because God has you at Link Year for a reason.” - Jack Conklin
Make time for your small group. You are placed with your mentor for a reason. Invest in growing with them, because they want to invest in you.
“Don’t take your small group leaders for granted. When you have your one on ones, take them seriously. Do things with your small group, because your small group people will become like family by the end of the year.” - Asher Strafuss
“Put everything into it! Don't let anyone distract you from your goal of why you are there and why God has you here!! You get so much wisdom and you never understand just how much until you leave!” - Lexi Simmons
Be intentional. Take advantage of the opportunities you're given.
“Take in this year and do everything they offer. Be as involved and as intentional as humanly possible. Pray daily for a softened heart so that you may see what God has for you- in class and even just in friendships. Its going to go by fast and you don’t want to waste a single minute.” - Caroline Hamilton
"If you want to hang with Donyes and have fellowship with him, Q&A is the best time to do that. NCC is going to frustrate you, but if you take time to actually meditate on the verses you will walk out of here being able to richly defeat Christian theology. International trips are a great part of Link Yea but its not the most important reason of why your here. Accountability is what you make of it. You can either have brothers and sisters tell you what you need to here or have powder puff social hour. Make it count. One more thing, don't miss out on opportunities to make memories because you are sitting in your room watching Netflix. You make your own fun on the weekends, its what you make of it." - Connor Lanham
Learn what it means to hold yourself to a high standard.
“Come into the year with an open and willing heart and no expectations. Discover who you are as a child of God and follower of Christ. Find your identity as redeemed and justified, and seek sanctification. This year is hard but the hardest experiences are the most remarkable and monumental. Don’t let this year just be easy and safe. Challenge yourself with truth and face your sin vulnerability.” - Liz Webster
“Embrace the Seven Pillars and try to hold yourself to those standards. Accept the help and sharpening that the staff extends to you and love the community of Branson well. Your proteges are there for you and they want to know you and love you.” - Haylee Maddox
Here are just a few pieces of advice from the Class of 2016 as our new class starts their journey! We're praying that God blesses the time that the Class of 2017 gets to spend both inside and out of the Link Year gates!