A Senior’s Perspective on 4 years in RUF
December 28, 2017
The following speech was given by Brittany Helms at a Wake Forest RUF Parent's Brunch in the fall of 2017. Brittany is currently a senior at Wake Forest University with a Psychology major and biology & chemistry minors.
As a senior, I have now been a part of RUF since my freshmen year. When asked if I would be willing to share my story, I didn’t know quite where to start.
Memories of college have a funny way of sticking with people. I can’t count how many times as I was preparing to come to Wake that I had people tell me “college is the best four years of your life”. I had countless people tell me stories about crazy things they did with their friends, classes they loved, and how thankful they were that social media wasn’t around for their college days. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for coming to college. But, what I quickly found out is that college is not what all these people had described to me. My freshmen year was hard. I’m from Dallas and was 17 hours away from my family who I am very close to. I had no idea what I wanted to study or how to answer the question of what I wanted to do when I grow up. I was feeling the pressure of Wake’s success-driven culture. A mistake by Res Life had me living in the basement of my freshmen dorm on the international hall with all students who pretty much exclusively spoke mandarin. And to add to it all, about a month into my time here at Wake, was dumped by my high school boyfriend of 4.5 years. It was a low time for poor freshmen Britt. No one had prepared me for how hard transitioning to college was going to be. No one had warned me of the loneliness that comes with freshmen year. I so badly wanted friends to do life with, but with how tough of a time I was having I needed more than the surface level friendship freshmen year breeds – I needed rich community.
I knew I wanted to plug into the Christian culture here at Wake but it was like The Lord had put blinders on me. There were wonderful people and rich community, I just couldn’t find it. The first semester came and went and I hated it here, I was so tired of feeling lonely. When I went home for Christmas break I was sure I was going to transfer – I even filled out the transfer applications to a couple of other schools. But, after some wise counsel from my parents and other mentors from my church back home I was convinced to come back for at least one more semester. You see, I knew when I got accepted to Wake, the Lord was calling me here. I can’t really explain it, I just had this undeniable pull to come here. I was challenged to not leave Wake until I knew what it was that He had called me here to do. So, I came back.
That next semester could not have been more different. As I drove back to Wake from Dallas, I had lots of time to pray – but what I found myself repeating for pretty much the entire drive was “Jesus, please just let me make one or two good, Christian friends”. And man was He faithful. Within the first week back I had the sweetest upperclassmen who were involved in RUF literally coming to my room and picking me up to take me to a cookout, watch movies, and asking me questions like “What do you think God has been teaching you lately?” I didn’t realize it at the time because it happened gradually over that next semester, but God was slowly revealing his goodness and unfailing love for me through the relationships I was gaining from the community of RUF.
But, The Lord wasn’t done yet. Because it is certainly not the cool thing to be an active believer on the campus of Wake Forest, the people who do choose to follow Christ daily act radically different from the typical college student. So once these friends picked me up, everything changed. These friendships were built with Christ as the foundation. That meant that they weren’t my people for a season of life, but were consistent and present for the rest of my time here in college. There are many stories I could have told you as my time here at Wake continued but they all end in a similar way where The Lord’s faithfulness and goodness are revealed time and time again. I learned very quickly that through hardships and triumphs, no matter what is happening, His grace and mercy are overflowing. Specifically, here at Wake, these truths were shown to me through the ministry of RUF. The community, teachings, and fun that come from RUF are all extensions of Christ and his love for the Church. I am thankful for RUF because through it I learned the difference between the gift of Salvation that The Lord so freely gives and the sweetness of what it means to Surrender my daily life to Christ. The Lord directly used RUF and the relationships built here to soften my heart and fall in love with my Heavenly Father.