The Throes of College Response Letters

I have several friends who are currently in the nail-biting process of waiting to receive acceptance or rejection letters from universities across the state. I remember the feeling all too well. I was so excited when I opened the big, burgundy envelope containing my acceptance to Meredith College not too long ago.

If you are currently in the throes of the college response letter stage or know someone who is, I encourage you to read and share these truths.

Your worth is not based on a college acceptance or rejection letter.

In the moment, it may seem like that news is what will make or break you. It won’t. Your value is so much greater than anything typed in a letter. You are a masterpiece of God who was created to serve HIM. Yes, if you are a believer, even college is supposed to be a time of service for God’s Kingdom. God will make sure you are where you can serve Him well if you seek His will.

The whole “God has a plan” thing isn’t cliche- it’s true.

As stated in the well-known 29th chapter of Jeremiah, God does indeed have a plan for your life. Yes, He has crafted a series of divine appointments for YOU. This is a great time to not only know or believe that verse but to put it into action in your life. {Insert my favorite quote: Think Biblically- act accordingly.}

Give space. Give lots of space.

One thing I found annoying during this stage of my life (who am I kidding- my biggest pet peeve) is nosiness. This can be an overwhelming process for some people and it does not help when you constantly bombard them with questions. When they are ready for you to know the details of their decision-making process, what schools they have or have not been accepted to, ect., they will share that with you.

It is OUR JOB as family and friends to remind them that we are praying for them during this time and we are excited about their new adventure. Offer to help in whatever way you can and leave the ball in their court. This isn’t your decision. They do not need to be slammed by your personal preferences.

How do you spend the first few moments of your day?

Maybe you rush to social media to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Maybe you exchange small talk with a friend.

Maybe you speed to the local coffee shop.

Maybe you have no desire to do anything other than hit “snooze.” (Me too 😞)

In these first few minutes of the day we often become distracted by messages from the world.

How much more confidently could we walk through the challenges of our day if we began by meeting with Him?

{Anticipating God’s divine presence in the mundane moments of my day begins by opening my heart to Him before opening my mouth to others.}


By: Hannah Jones.

Before I even stepped foot on campus my freshman year, I was praying hard for my future suitemates. I remember pleading with God to grant me life-giving friendships. I hoped my “Big Sis” would guide me with godly wisdom. However, I knew that I might not get all of those things. I was aware that my attitude and intentionality in those first few weeks was pivotal.

The moment I decided I wanted to grow closer with the Lord in college became one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was committed to taking ownership of my faith. For the first time, it wasn’t my parents taking me to church. It wasn’t my mom encouraging me to have a quiet time with the Lord each day. It was up to me. That first weekend on campus, I went to church by myself, and looking back, I am certain that set the stage for my whole freshman year.

Gradually, the Lord revealed to me that He had in fact granted me all the things I prayed for before coming to college. My suitemate became one of my greatest encouragers. We worshipped together daily; singing when classes got hard and homework grew tedious. We left each other notes and verses of encouragement and God used those words of affirmation to feed my soul. My Big Sis, who was in the junior class at Meredith College, encouraged me to check out a campus ministry that first week. In fact, I joined the Bible study that she co-led. She continues to intentionally pour into my spirit and she is honestly the big sister I never had.

The girls in this study became my closest friends. This is my community; my people. I had never experienced Christian community and godly friendships like this until I came to college. These women are the ones that stand by me on my hardest days, share in my joy, and never let me doubt my purpose.

When I think back to those first weeks as a college freshman, I remember feeling uncomfortable. It wasn’t the easiest thing for me to meet new people, share my testimony, and just be vulnerable. However, I am positive that God needed me to feel uncomfortable to mold me and to make me trust Him like I never had to before. I think the important thing for me to remember was that this was a new and sometimes uncomfortable season that wasn’t about me at all. His glory and His perfect plan was playing out through all my insecurity, my brokenness, my fear, and my sin. He wanted me right where I was all along, even in my failure. My time in college, full of ups and downs, was never His “plan b”. It took God molding and stretching me over a period of time to come to that realization. Once I realized this, so many doors began to open in ministry, my major, and in relationships.

Reading this, it might start to sound like I was getting my life together before I came to college, but I can tell you that is far from the truth. Honestly, I was trying so hard to act like I had it all together that I began to even fool myself. I tried to live a Christ-centered life with me at the center. And oddly enough, I still was so shocked when my life seemed to be spiraling out of control. I realized that when I said I was giving God full access to my life, it wasn’t long before I began wrestling the controls away from Him again and again.

If I can leave you with one thing, it’s what I’ve realized most about following the Lord in college: It’s truly all about your heart. Following Jesus requires intentionality. Everyday. Even when I oversleep and I am running across campus to class. Even when I’ve fooled myself into thinking that life is great and I don’t need to give God access to every area. Even when I experience heartbreak or I get in a car accident. He is still sovereign. He is still faithful. He is still so loving. He wants to offer me so much grace, even when I can’t seem to give it to myself.

And- He wants to offer it to you, too. So, taste and see His goodness, because once that happens, college will never feel sweeter.

With love,

Dear Daughter by Design


Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Hannah Jones is a current sophomore at Meredith College, majoring in Dance Education. Her passions are for her family, faith, and the performing arts. This past summer, the Lord laid it on her heart to share all that He was teaching her through her experiences in college. Hannah took a leap of faith into the world of blogging. Dear Daughter by Design was created as a place to share her heart and personal experiences as a Christian girl in college. She wants to encourage other women in their God-given purpose and remind them that they truly are daughters by His design.

To read more of her story, follow her writings at


A Call to Pray for the College Student in Your Life { In The Quiver }


I was honored to be asked to guest post for In The Quiver last week. I encourage you to check out their website. This awesome ministry was started by 3 great writers who are even greater women of God. Blessed to know them.

A Call to Pray for the College Student in Your Life { by Haley Yow • guest post }


social media relationships 

In today’s society, we are driven by the use of social media. It is beginning to impact every part of our lives; most importantly, our relationships.

I hope our relationships are deeper than liking or not liking someone’s photo or Facebook status. I hope that beyond what the social media world knows about our lives, there is substance.

May we be more concerned about how someone is doing, what is going on in their life, and what we can do to love them well rather than figuring out what we can say on Facebook to make everyone think we are best friends, one big happy family, or the next hit reality TV show.

The Meredith Freshman 15

This post is not about how to not gain 15lbs eating at BDH; although, I could write about that. I would like to offer 15 truths to the girl anxiously awaiting her freshman year at MC. May you find the same joy in your experiences as I did.

1. If you are natured anything like me, you will miss home. It’s ok. Most people do whether they say it or not. If you are in school close to home, never feel bad about going home. I am convinced that I am the biggest Daddy’s girl on the face of the earth. The longest time I had ever spent apart from my Dad before leaving for school was a week. The whole summer before moving in, I dreaded the blessed day. Every night I was home that summer, I sat right beside my Dad until I was almost asleep. The weeks leading up to move in, if anyone even mentioned the term, I was in tears. The thought of not having my sweet Daddy to wake me up every morning overwhelmed me. I decided to stay at Meredith for two weeks before coming home. I wanted time to adjust to my new schedule and scenery. I had a busy week and a half. It was nothing short of wonderful and I was loving life. I adjusted to everything just as I was told I would. I moved in on a Saturday and 10 days later, on the following Tuesday, I woke up and thought: “Why am I doing this to myself?” I live 45 minutes away. If I want to see my Daddy, why am I forcing myself to be here? So that ended that. I drove home after class that day, surprised my father and I will always remember the look on his face when he saw me. Pure joy. It had been a long 10 days for both of us.. After seeing him a few hours, I got in the car and headed back to Meredith. I felt secure in knowing I had the best of both worlds. I was then officially okay with not being at home. Since then, I have never felt homesick and I have never let anything stop me from going home if I want to.

2. GET INVOLVED. I went to Meredith with the mindset that I was going to do everything and I did. I had THE BEST time. Not only is this a great way to meet people but it is a good way to discover new interests. By the end of my freshman year I was a teaching fellow, class rep for 1891, secretary of my class, vice president of the college republicans, member of young educators, cru and 50 other groups I don’t have time to name, and participated in all freshman traditions. I recently committed to being on orientation crew for 2017 as well as student assisting a class at MC for incoming freshman this semester. Add into the mix having a best friend who plays football at NC State- busy year but so good. Enjoy all that makes up this unique time.

3. Do not let anyone control your happiness. I see so many girls lose their identity chasing something. Sometimes it’s a boy, a certain image, or likes on instagram. You will never get your college years back. Remember that.

4. Take care of yourself. This should have been the first thing on the list because it is so important. Eat well 80% of the time and find a time to exercise on week days. It can be such a stress reliever and needed alone time. You deserve it.

5. Learn how to budget school and social time. Too much of either and not enough of the other is not good for you. Don’t get so caught up in all of the work that you have no life. You will become miserable.

6. Utilize your professors’ office hours!! At Meredith, the professors are so eager to help you if you seek them out.

7. Pick a designated time each day to get away to study. I found that it was easy for me to get distracted in my room.

8. Buy a planner. Use it. When you receive your syllabuses, write down every single due date. Write in every single club meeting. You will get overwhelmed and overworked and think you will remember something but trust me, you won’t.

9. Don’t procrastinate. Just don’t. If you can help it.

10. Get as much sleep as you can. Never feel bad about taking a nap if you need one.

11. Take lots of pictures- you’ll want them. The year will fly by and it’s always fun to look back and appreciate all that you experienced.

12. When you walk through campus, smile. Say hello to people you pass. Say thank you to all the sweet faces that do so much for us. We are lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive Meredith family.

13. There’s always a sister willing to come along side you to encourage, love, and push you to be a better person. Look for these angels. Befriend them. Love them. Appreciate their presence in your life and their dedication to Meredith.

14. Utilize the learning center. Utilize the library and all its amenities. Utilize the fitness center. Walk the Meredith mile. Sit by the pond. Study in the amphitheater. Walk to Ben and Jerry’s. Walk to the fountain and throw a penny in every once in a while. Savor the moments that capture Meredith so well.

15. Be engaged every single day. Be intentional about your goals. Try to remain on a schedule but don’t be afraid to mix in a few spontaneous things too. Value the sisterhood of Meredith College and make it your personal goal to have the best experience possible at our wonderland.

College Move In Tips

Several have requested me to write on this topic. This post is dedicated to you- may you find peace, joy, and organization in the emotional rollercoaster of the college move-in process.
Warning: This is not sugarcoated.

1. I will not lie. Move in day is stressful. Accept that but use this knowledge to plan and plan well. A family friend once told me, “Proper planning prevents poor performance.” She was right. Every. Time.

2. Take along someone who can serve as a distraction from the fact that Mom and Dad will leave and you won’t be going back with them. I had 3 great distractions with me. My brother and two friends were good to help get the job done without the emotional rollercoaster getting out of control.

3. Organization is a must. Show up with everything labeled and grouped by where it is going in the room. This sounds like a given, but for some it is not..

4. Do not pack things in garbage bags unless it is hanging clothes. You cannot see what it is until you open it and it just makes a mess.

5. If you are taking plastic storage drawers to keep in your closet, go ahead and put whatever is going in there inside and bungee cord or zip tie it off so all you have to do is place the drawers in their spot. This is a much better option than wasting 20 minutes putting clothes in the drawers when you get there.

6. For most colleges, there are dimensions posted online for drawers, closets, etc. If you plan to fold clothes to put in these spaces, research the dimensions of the drawers and fold clothes to fit in the space before move in. This saves so much time by not having to re- fold when you arrive. Not to mention the wrinkles.

7. If you are hanging pictures, monograms, etc. research the dimensions of the walls. Draw a true to scale model of the room on graph paper and plan where you are going to hang things. This not only saves time but sanity when you have 20 things needing to be hung.

8. Take cleaning supplies. If you are anything like me, you will want to clean the room thoroughly before unpacking.

9. If space allows, take a hand truck. Very useful. Some colleges have these on move in day for you. We took our own.

10. Take plenty of drop cords. You never know where outlets will be.

11. Scout storage bins are not only completely functional but beautiful to put at the end of your bed.

12. Move in day is more emotional for some than others. For me, it was a nightmare. The whole summer before moving in, I dreaded the blessed day. I had no desire to buy anything for my dorm. I gave my mother full authority over everything. I told her I did not want to make any decisions or answer any questions regarding the dorm. Those of you that know me know that is HUGE for me. Every night I was home that summer, I sat right beside my Dad until I was almost asleep. The weeks leading up to move in, if anyone even mentioned the term, I was in tears. I was ok (not sobbing to the point of being sick) on move in day until my Dad said, “Well I guess it’s time to go.” I immediately fell apart. Then my Dad fell apart. Then my mom. They did the best thing they could have: THEY LEFT and DID NOT LET ME GO WITH THEM. They did not stay and hang out. We did not go to eat, etc. I would have been 10x worse the longer they stayed. For everyone it is different. Think about the way your child handles these things before you make a decision as to how long to hang out after the job of unpacking and putting away is done.

13. Leave a box still needing to be unpacked just in case you need a distraction to keep you busy when mom and dad leave.

14. If you have never used a planner before, now is a good time to invest in one and learn to use it.

15. Remember to take basic school supplies. Sometimes that is the easiest thing to forget during the move in process.

16. Put together a first aid kit including ice packs, medication for cold, cough, headache, ect.

17. It doesn’t hurt to pack extra ink cartridges and printer paper. Take a backup phone charger as well.

18. Dress comfortably. Making a fashion statement on move in day is not crucial.

Just a few things to make your day easier. Hope this was helpful. Happy moving!