I knew what I believed when I came to college, and then I completed my first semester of college. I was still certain of the major tenants of my beliefs: that Jesus was my Savior, that He died for me, that He called me to love others like He did during His time spent walking alongside humankind.
Those things I knew, but how to love those who held beliefs directly opposed to mine, how to deal with issues that the Bible didn't outright say was wrong, but I believed to be, how to negotiate the diverse views of Christianity held by those I loved and respected - these things I did not know. I'll let you in on a secret. No matter where you go - be it Mississippi College which strives to show Christ's love and message to all its students or to a state school - you are going to face the same point in your life, or at least, I hope you do.
Being informed can be terrifying. Learning about other people's perspectives can feel disorienting and threatening, but I will also tell you that listening to others who hold different belief, whether that be religious, political, or whether Mexican or Chinese food is better, will teach you more than you'd think. Not only does it inspire you to know your beliefs more deeply - to think through them thoroughly, to read and research their complexities - but it also teaches you how to love better.
Some of my friends and I disagree on serious subjects, both politically and religiously (also about food, always about food), but we have found a way to listen to each other respectfully and to love each other even when we disagree. Sometimes that just means listening. Other times, we have lively debates, but we can walk away without name-calling or hate slipping into our speech, which is unfortunately the example the world has given us.
Instead, let us follow the example Jesus who treated all with dignity for they were made in the Image of God. He only spoke harshly when necessary, and he often spoke kindly to those who believed different than him (the Samaritans, for example). That's the example He gives us. So get ready! Graduation and then your first day of class at college will be here before you know it, and with this new start, you'll have the opportunity to meet new people, people who will challenge and grow you. Trust me, it's as terrifying, exciting, and rewarding as it sounds, so just get ready.