Walking on to UT’s campus move in day, I was incredibly overwhelmed. The only person I knew was my roommate, Lindsay. There were so many new opportunities laid right in front of me and it was time for me to take advantage of them. But, I didn’t want to. I wanted to get right back in my car and drive three hours back to Nashville. But I couldn’t.
I knew from the get go that I wanted to check out the BCM because my small group leader, Chelsea, was the President of her BCM at UT Martin. I had heard nothing but good things about it. I had not heard much about the BCM at here, but I knew it existed, so that’s good. UT is awesome because there are so many on-campus ministries. My roommate and I got so many different cards from different ministries, signed up for random email and text lists. It was crazy. We never really went to any of them but we did know that the BCM was having a cookout on the front lawn the night of move in day, so we decided to go.
At first, it was just like a “have to” kind of thing for me. I did not feel like I was finding community and did not feel like I belonged. Not because of anyone there, but just because I felt like the little freshman and that I could not fit in with the people who had already established connections with each other there. And I was so stinking homesick. To a really unhealthy extreme.
I struggled so much from August to early December with being homesick and that feeling of not belonging. I remember a specific day in October where I had gone home to be with my dad because he had surgery, and I had to drive back after that weekend and had a complete breakdown about going back. I told my parents that I hated it and that I wanted to quit. They just hugged me and then let me drive off. I am glad they did not tell me that I could or could not quit in that moment. Because I think that if they told me I could, I would have. My dad called me the next day as I was walking to class and I cried all over again. He told me the common “freshman year is the hardest” “it’ll get better”. He also told me that if after this year I wanted to transfer, I could. I went and talked to my advisor about dropping out that day.
Christmas break came soon after that, and God did some major work on me in that. He showed me that my life existed beyond my sweet little hometown. He showed me that my faith was my own now, and that I was on this beautiful journey with Him. He showed me that it was okay to leave home and make new friends. Most of all, He showed me that He is more than enough in the midst of all of that.
When I got back I felt like a different person. I was happy to be at school and felt like I belonged here. The BCM was quickly becoming a safe haven for me and I was getting to know everyone pretty well. It wasn’t until winter retreat in February that I really felt like I had found my niche. That event was one of the single most fun things I have done to this date.
It is crazy to look back on who I was last August, which was a short time ago but still feels so long ago, and who I am now. The Lord has challenged me in so many different ways, and I have had a lot of different seasons while in this big season of college. The B gave me a place where I could be myself and be surrounded by people who also loved Jesus and wanted to make His name known. Everyone at the B loves well and deeply, shows Christ, and is passionate about making His name known across campus, Knoxville, and the globe.
If you are feeling homesick, know you are not alone in that. It is not easy to leave all you know and come to a totally new place where you barely know anyone BUT it can be overcome. First off, spend some time with Jesus. He is your friend, comforter, peacemaker, and so much more. He hears you. Sees you. Secondly, you have to be willing to come out of your comfort zone a little bit and talk to people and build relationships. It is SO worth it in the end. If you are still struggling after that, do not be afraid to ask a leadership member or Samm, Johnny, Rodney, or KP to go out with you. They will hear you out, I promise. Being homesick stinks, but there are people who love you and care about you that can help you overcome it.
Kaitlyn is a sophomore here at UT studying marketing and Spanish in hopes to be a full time missionary one day in Spanish speaking countries. She is also a life group leader here at the BCM, as well as one of our social media coordinators.
Tennessee Baptist Churches giving through the Cooperative Program, the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, and through the Chilhowee, Clinton, and Knox Baptist Association make this BCM ministry possible.