College is about finding yourself, and discovering who you can be without your parents’ influence. And you meet all sorts of people. I have met Communists, staunch Libertarians, asexuals, hypersexuals, druggies and the shortest women I have ever seen. 

I was lucky enough to go to a small private school where I got an excellent education, but by that same token, I was sheltered from meeting a wide variety of people, given that a lot of my classmates had a similar background, and most of us were white. 

I was also exposed to a small corner of the internet that acted as an echo chamber for what I wanted to hear. I learned that all conservative republicans are evil and that Christians are horrible bigots, and that they often go hand-in-hand. 

Then, in May of 2020, I met a man who I connected with instantly. We both loved fencing, dragons, Irish folk music, Phantom of the Opera, adventure novels and adventures and sex. 

We talked for hours every day, but then it came out that I was a liberal agnostic, and he was a libertarian, conservative Christian, who came from a home with that same label, and it was scary. 

I had recently come to terms with being non-binary, and I am also bisexual. I was so worried that he was going to hate me, but he didn’t. He told me that he loved me for exactly who I am, if I would promise to do the same. 

Things started to deteriorate when I called him an idiot for not believing in evolution and because he didn’t see the world the way I did. I belittled him. Honest to God, I don’t know why he is still with me, but I thank God every day for it. For a long time, I thought men who showed any sort of emotion were foolish and weak, and I would bully them for it. 

I stole things. I was rude and dismissive. I hurt people, not just my wonderful Mikey, with my words and actions. I was not a good person. I blamed trauma, and while that does play a part, I have to take responsibility for my actions. 

And now, I am Christian myself, after a long process of feeling conflicted, confused and worried, I have accepted Christ into my heart. It is a strange thing, but I have a moral compass now. I care about how my actions affect other people. 

I am not saying that being a Christian is a cure-all for my past actions, and I am not a perfect person, but I feel like a better person. 

And, contrary to popular belief among some of my friends, I did not do this for Mikey. I tried that once, and it did not go well. This is for me, and it makes me happy. I finally have a better grasp on the kind person who was buried inside of me, and I have a feeling of peace because I know that God is watching over me, and keeping me safe. 

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him:” Proverbs 30:5. 

But, I am still aware that I have a lot of forgiveness to beg for. From God, and those that I have hurt with my actions. This is absolutely not a cure-all, but for me, it is a step in the right direction. 

I realize that I have gone a different direction from most of those who enter college, given that I was never raised religiously, but I am honestly okay with that. My parents let me choose my own path, and for that I am grateful. 

I am still liberal. I am still bisexual. I am still me. 

I am all the things that previously defined me, but with a little bit more of an open mind, and an open heart. 

I know that my path is different from everyone else’s, but I am glad that I have chosen this one. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life:” John 3:16.