“…You never know what you’re gonna get.”

In 1994 Tom Hanks took his acting career to a new level in the Oscar winning Forrest Gump. Stooped in the Vietnam war debate, this movie took the unlikeliest of people, and made him the nations most loved son, athlete, and war veteran.

In one of the movies’ most notorious lines Gump sits on a bus bench as he begins telling the story of his young life. He then utters the infamous words, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” This quote is an oversimplified version of the sheer reality that is life, but that is who Forrest is.

If you’re like me you know that boxes of chocolates, typically, only contain 2-4 pieces of chocolate that you actually like. For me, those are the milk chocolate caramels. Those are my favorite.

Fortunately for me my life seems to be filled with milk chocolate caramels. God has continued to providentially guide and direct my life, and He has blessed me beyond what I could ever think or imagine. This fact has never been more evident than these past three weeks.

Three weeks ago today my wife (Annie) and I moved to Louisville, Ky. We knew from the onset that God was leading and directing us to this place for such a time as this, but it still was difficult to leave all we knew to take hold of the unknown.

When Gump says, “you never know what you’re gonna get”, he was never more right. You never know what you’re going to get, and what life will bring next.

In the fall of 2012 I met a couple at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in the class Intro to Interpersonal Communication. They were really nice and talking with them I could see we had a lot in common. This fact was not all uncommon in my time at UCO. Many people I came in contact with were christians pursuing Christ each day of their lives.

Over the next few years I had many classes with Amanda, learning more about her passions and the things she was involved in through church and I also met with Chris to talk with about Christian Ministry. I never would have known that these occasions were preparing us for future ministry possibilities. I never would have guessed that , four kids from Edmond, all graduating with communication degrees would simultaneously move to Louisville, Ky to pursue theological education. I guess that’s why Forrest said, “you never know what you’re gonna get.”

We recently had dinner with Chris and Amanda and it was such a blessing. We talked and talked and just had an amazing time together. Moving to a new place brings many challenges, but during our time together it brought a little bit of home to Louisville as we fellowshipped with great friends.

That being said I have some practical ways that you can maintain and cultivate relationships, as well as ways to assure you don’t take the little things for granted.

  1.  See (college) relationships as important.
    1. For the duration of schooling these people become like family. There was a group of about 12 people that I was in my upper division classes with for three to four semesters and they truly became like family.
    2. Spend time with classmates both in school activities but also out of school ones.
  2. UCO Comm and Lang Seek to get to know your peers.
    1. Sometimes you must initiate this, and introducing yourself is crucial.
    2. Continue to say hello and simply ask how they’re doing.
    3. Exchange contact information to stay in touch when classes aren’t in session.
    4. Be there for them in times of stress, heartache, and other instances.
  3.  Invest in your faculty and the relationship you have with them. 
    1. Like I said earlier, you will also be with the same faculty for the better part of four years. Making positive relationships is crucial to not only a successful college experience, but a fun one as well.
    2.  Get to know them and their likes and preferences, and shoot, occasionally bring them coffee or whatever they like. It’s not called brown nosing, it is called respecting and caring for your faculty.

These are just some small things that can help relationships flourish in the college lifecycle. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up moving half way across the country with them. Because after all, you never know what you’re gonna get. 


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