In 2006, I headed south to the University South Carolina to work as a Hall Director and pursue my masters degree in higher education. A former supervisor of mine had encouraged me to follow in her footsteps and become a higher education professional. I wanted to mentor college students and encourage them along their journey of discovering who God created them to be.
In 2010, I was baffled as I watched student after student walk away from the Christian faith they had been raised with. They didn’t know why they believed what they believed and once faced with differing world views at college, they were swept away by overwhelming doubts and unanswered questions. I decided then that while I wanted to continue my job working with college students, I also wanted to jump into high school ministry. If I could graduate just twelve girls who knew why they believed what they believed, who knew who God was, what their identity was in Him, and then send them off to college… I could hang up my hat at the end of this life and I know I really did something.
In May of 2012, my first crop of girls graduated from high school. I began a quest to find a book that would prepare them for college. One that was practical and down-to-earth, yet biblically based. While there are certainly a lot of books out there, I had a hard time finding just the right one. I wondered if perhaps I could write it myself. Some day, of course.
In fall of 2012, the questions started trickling in. My high school graduates were now emailing and texting on a weekly basis about challenges they were facing in their new college lives. Roommate problems, homesickness, lack of direction, relational issues, and more. All conversations I had been having for years in my campus job, but the first time I had been responding in written form.
In 2013, with permission from my girls, I transformed our email and text chains into a blog– DearHanna.com (it doesn’t exist anymore so don’t bother to click!) The girls would shoot me a question, I’d answer it in blog form and then they would all get to learn from one another’s questions. Fairly quickly, the blog spread and I started getting email questions from girls all over the country who were all asking very similar things.
For two years, I blogged every Tuesday–EVERY TUESDAY–answering a College Girl Problem. Maybe I could write that book after all.
In February of 2017, I got the call from my agent that we were officially in negotiations to publish The College Girl’s Survival Guide.
Had you told fresh-out-of-college Hanna in 2006 that she would be headed to her own book launch event on April 3rd of 2018, she would have believed you. She was determined to make an impact on college campuses and mentor younger women, and she also had two parents as published authors. So the idea that she could write a book some day to help college women– well, that wouldn’t have seem far-fetched.
But would she have believed the twists and turns–all of the LIFE–that would happen in those 12 years that would all lead up to writing that book? Hardly.
What baffles me the most is how God so intricately wove all of the details together. And more than anything, I’m just grateful.
Grateful that He put a vision in my heart 12 years ago to serve college women. Grateful for the countless women (and men) who I had the honor of supervising and mentoring during their college and high school years. Grateful for those of you who showed up to read my blog at dearhanna.com and now here. Grateful for an agent, a publisher, and a husband who cheered me on until the very end. Grateful for the ability to gather the countless conversations and email exchanges I’ve had over the last dozen years and put a cute, shiny cover on it–in the hopes that it would challenge and encourage so many more college women around the country than I could ever do on my own.
So very grateful.
If you want to check out the table of contents and first chapter of the book, you can get a sneak peek here.