I met Natalie a few years ago when she contacted me about the possibility of changing her major to nursing. I LOVE sitting with new students and high school grads to discuss future endeavors into the world of healthcare. Her sweet spirit and kind heart are so contagious that I asked her to share a bit of this season of life she's in while in college. I know you'll love her as much as I do!
My name is Natalie Peters; I am twenty-one years old, and I was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m the youngest of three by a lot. My sister is thirty-two going on thirty-three and my brother is thirty-one. Both of my siblings are happily married. My sister has the cutest, smartest two-year-old (I promise I’m not being biased, you would think so too!) and has another boy on the way! I can’t express how much I love being an aunt. I had no idea such a little human could hold so much of my heart. My sister and her family live a couple miles away from my parents and I, so I get to see them often. My brother and his wife live in Durham, North Carolina, where I love going to visit them. North Carolina is absolutely gorgeous! I currently live with my sweet parents while attending Oral Roberts University where I am studying nursing. I’m almost done with my third year but will graduate in two years with my bachelor’s degree in nursing.
College is flying by way faster than I thought it would. My first two years, I lived on campus and it was a blast. Yes, it was hard sharing a tiny room with a roommate, sharing a bathroom with thirty other girls, and trying to study on a very loud floor, while suffering from “the fear of missing out” – just to name a few dorm life “struggles”. Looking back, I laugh at how I complained about the crammed dorms, gross cafeteria food, and many sleepless nights. Because in all actuality, those are the most memorable experiences I have from college so far, and I already miss it. Moving home is a decision I do not regret since I’m saving myself from accumulating more debt with the bonus of my own private room and peaceful study space. It is becoming more evident that I will be out in the real world soon; therefore, I’m able to take school more seriously and focus on my studies, without as many distractions. But, I will say it’s been hard feeling like I’m missing out on more campus life experiences. Moving home has brought feelings of loneliness and isolation at times, as well as creating distance between some friendships. Although during this transition, I’ve been able to draw closer to God, and He has brought so much joy and fulfillment in my life. I’ve learned so much about how God fills those empty places in your heart. He truly will bring the right people in your life at the right time.
Before college, I was always told, “College will be the best time of your life”. But truthfully, I haven’t always felt that way. This has been the most challenging season of life for me so far. Trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life stressed me out more than it should have, and I made my classes and grades my whole focus. I regret this a lot. I wish I really pursued God more faithfully because I think it would’ve saved me from worry and anxiety. I put so much pressure on myself in deciding a major and making good grades that I didn’t fully get to enjoy my freshman year of college. I tend to worry about my future, and I’m realizing how unnecessary that is. God really is ordering my steps and is taking care of me. Looking back, I tried to do everything on my own to the point where I felt like I was drowning. Growing up in a Christian home, church, and school, I’ve heard a million times, Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." But for some reason I actually hadn’t fully known until I decided to go to nursing school.
The story of how I picked nursing school begins when I met Tiffany through her sister Brittney at Church on the Move. I knew she was a nurse practitioner, so I asked her to meet for coffee. During this time I was a Biology Pre-Med major, and I was considering changing to nursing because I decided medical school was not for me. So, I took this opportunity to ask her questions I had about nursing. She was able to tell me what it means to be a nurse and gave me so many helpful tips, which I am very thankful for! After talking about the role of a nurse, I felt like I had found what I have been looking for. In the future, I see myself as a wife and mom, and I wanted a job that would allow me to be that while serving in healthcare. I have always had a passion for serving others and learning more about the human body, and nursing is exactly that! I felt so at peace after meeting with Tiffany. I truly believe God brought her in my life at the perfect time. Although, I will say that switching to nursing made me very nervous. I was afraid once I made the switch, I would hate it. But, I decided to not let fear get in the way, and with the help of lots of prayer, I took a leap of faith. I am so happy I decided to trust in God and not take this decision into my own hands. God has confirmed my steps in so many ways just from the little clinical experience I’ve had so far. The patient interaction during clinical has been incredibly eye opening. I’ve learned so much more about myself and the passions and talents God has placed in me, as well as being able to utilize them. I have really loved it so far. Yes, nursing school is challenging, and I’ll have moments of doubt when I feel overwhelmed; however, I have so much peace that I’m headed in the direction God has for me.
In times of feeling inadequate in school, I rely on prayer and worship. Sometimes while studying I’ll take a break, turn on worship music, and will just rest for a little bit in God’s presence. It’s amazing how much that reenergizes me and brings my focus back to Him. Then, I’m able to ask God for help, and he always provides me with the strength to continue! One of my top priorities this year has been putting God first when it comes to my time and it has made all the difference. When I started college, it became harder for me to balance responsibilities, and I honestly struggled making time for God. But this year, I decided to work on making time for Him first, and it’s amazing how when I do, everything else falls into place. Of course I haven’t been able to do this perfectly. There are times when it is really hard to stay motivated to actively pursue God in the midst of a busy schedule. Studying the bible can even tend to feel like added homework. But pushing through those feelings is so rewarding! The journey I have had in pursuing Him more has brought more freedom and joy into my life. A couple of my favorite verses are: Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” and Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”It’s so freeing to know we don’t have to worry about what is to come because God is in control when we seek after Him above everything else. We only have to trust in Him and He will guide us in the right direction.
For those who are currently in college or in high school who may be worried about your future or the unknown, know that you are not alone. It can be very stressful not knowing how things may work out, but I guarantee you there are many students around you feeling the same way. I’ve been there and still struggle with it. I believe it’s so important to find friends where you can help to lift each other up. We were not created to go through this life alone. I’m learning that the most important thing in life is building relationships with others. So find those friends and invest in them, because you never know, they may be struggling with the same fears. Vulnerability opens so many opportunities for healing and freedom within you, as well as in others. And don’t overstress it! Enjoy this season of life because we will never have it back (speaking to myself here!). And above all else, remember that God loves you dearly and is with you at all times. You are His beloved child and He only wants the absolute best for you. So lean into His everlasting love, it is so sweet.