The Contrast Between Genuine Love and the Sugar Substitute

What We Can Learn From a Female Freshman Poet

Through a series of events a few years ago, I ran across a poem that was written and published in a mid-western college campus newspaper, and what I observed struck me. I was surprised when I read it because the author was very honest about…well, everything she seemed to be going through at the time she penned it.

Written by a freshman woman and printed anonymously in her school paper, the poem is a very raw representation of what a lot of college females go through the first year they are away from home at school. More than that, though, I believe this is an interesting window into the hearts of everyone who longs to be loved, and who will claw for that love in any way they can.

Let me warn you before you read on: this poem is an honest look into the life of this girl and I haven’t edited it for the sake of appropriateness. They are her words and I felt it was best to include all of them as she wrote them. It is in no way G-rated.

Now, after that disclaimer, feel free to read on if you wish. The poem is entitled I Am a Female Freshman.


I am a female freshman.

I live in a 2 ft. by 2 ft. prison cell.

My roommate has sex when I am in the room.

I’ve gained 15 pounds or more since August.

I got more ass in the first 2 weeks of college than ever before.

I now get less ass than ever before.

I drink Beast from a keg and Nattie Light from a can.

I pretend to believe frat guys even though I know they suck…

I just want some ass.

I wear a pea coat, tight black bootie pants, tank tops, and platforms.

I have a 2.1 GPA.

I walk in the dark, cold rain for a beer, but I won’t walk to classes in the same weather.

I never make my 8:00 class.

I am a female freshman.

I have been molested on the dance floor.

I have hooked up with all the guys in my dorm.

I have mono.

I don’t sleep, except through classes.

I survive on power naps.

I am a female freshman.

I drink more vodka than water.

My new best friend is the toilet.

I black out for extended lengths of time.

I am a female freshman.

I’ve learned what it means to re-wear clothes until they are so dirty they are stiff.

I’m familiar with the vague embarrassed feeling the morning after a night of complete unadulterated drunkenness.

I am a female freshman.

I promised myself that I will work off that large pizza I ate last night…

Tomorrow, maybe…

I’ve learned, to my dismay, that college boys are the same as high school boys…a year or two older.

I am a female freshman.


Again, this is a real look into the soul of a woman who is pretty truthful about her experiences. Yet in a way, she seems very fed up with life as it sits for her. She seems sad, doesn’t she? Hopeless…but still searching.

I like to read this poem to certain groups of people that need to be awakened to the actual nature of the world just beyond their ministry or church doors. Many times, Christians are unaware of what other people go through on a day-to-day basis and can forget that there are real human beings out there searching for genuine fulfillment in a lot of dangerous places. Those searchers need to be given the option of selecting real fulfillment, and God chooses to use His children (us) to present them with that option.

Of course, the interesting thing here is that all of us are (in a way) the female freshman from this poem. At one point and time in our lives, we were (or perhaps still are) looking for happiness and satisfaction in all the wrong places. Our hearts are hard-wired for relationship and the only way this longing can be fulfilled is if we are reconnected with the Maker of our souls. No other substitute will be enough.

People need to be shown this. They need to see that the thing they are searching for in booze, sex, food, money, boyfriends/girlfriends, technology, etc., is actually something that can only be found in God alone through Jesus Christ. He is the answer. The only answer. Not Him plus something else. Not religion or religious activity. Not behavior modification. Jesus and Jesus alone.

If we step into the world of the ‘female freshman’ and tell her what the answer is by not only speaking it, but also living it, she will see the contrast between genuine love and the sugar substitute the world offers in bulk. The choice is then hers to make.

Probably the next logical question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do I really believe this myself?” Well, do you?

I’ll admit it’s hard for me to consistently live like Jesus is the only true avenue to satisfaction when there are so many other shiny things that scream for my attention. For example, it’s really easy for me to think the next great Apple product is going to be the answer to all my problems and make me feel better about myself. I swallow that pill every time there’s a new Apple release. And if I do end up buying it, I feel disappointed that it didn’t satisfy the exact way I wanted it to. Inevitably, I end up doing the proverbial head slap and say to myself, “It’s not Christ plus something else, Shelby! How many times is it going to take for you to learn this?” Unfortunately, probably one more.

I’m fickle that way. I think we all are. Adding on to a relationship with Christ for fulfillment is something nearly all American Christians wrestle with because our hearts are capricious. The good news, however, is Jesus will always be there waiting for us to return to Him for true life and fulfillment. And as we live out returning to Him time after time, others will see the weight of a real loving relationship and long for the same.

Return to Him once again in front of someone else. Tell them how stupid you were to believe anything else besides Christ could satisfy you. Love on Him publically and let Him love on you. It’ll just be a matter of time before the public’s heart will turn soft to His calling too.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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