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What It’s Like Spending New Years in Church vs. Going Out

A younger version of myself used to dream of a movie scene New Years’ celebration. A fabulous outfit, face beat, many friends to share my night with, and of course a fine man to kiss into the New Year. 

Now, why was I thinking about this at 10 years-old? I don’t know, maybe because it was all I knew from the movies I watched and I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to have that experience. Instead of having the New Year celebration I wanted, I went to church every year for 17 years. 


The New Years church service would go like this:

  1. Hymns would be sung until the pastor gets there (clearly on CPT).

  2. The microphone is opened up to anyone in the congregation to share what God did for them that year and why they’re grateful.

  3. The pastor would give a sermon and try to make it interesting for children.

  4. We would then hold hands around the church and pray into the new year.


Obviously, this wasn’t the kind of celebration I was looking for, I wanted something a little more exciting. A family New Year party every other year would’ve been nice, but that didn’t happen either. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I understood why we went to church. For my family, it was more important for us to go to church to bring in the New Year. We believed in being in church worshiping with family and friends rather than going out partying. Once realizing why we attended church, I stopped dreaming of the great celebration I craved for, but that urge to have special New Year quickly resurfaced.

This time the urge to celebrate New Year outside of church was different. I’m 18 now. I’m grown.

After finishing my first semester at Hampton University, I went home for winter break. Over the course of being home, I told my mom that I was not going to church to bring in the new year. She was content with my plans but very worried about me being out so late. Once we talked about what I would be doing on that night, every scenario of what I could do raced through my mind. I could finally go to one of the multiple clubs or parties that night. Most importantly I could enjoy myself!

On New Year’s Eve, a friend of mine and I went to a house party thrown by our friends. For the occasion, I did my makeup, put on a cute outfit, and played “Sorry For Being Antisocial”  on repeat to get ready. It was a lot of fun catching up with everyone and listening to them talk about their experiences at their college or university. We played games, took pictures, and truly had a great night. Until…. we went to IHOP.

Never again! Although it was 1 a.m., it was packed. Not only were we hungry, but we waited almost two hours to get our food and check. That being the only downside, the food was good and everything else that night was great. Will I go to church next New Year? I don’t know yet, let’s see how my year goes.


Khiya Derricott

Hampton U '23

Sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism at Hampton University with an interest in writing, photography, social media, and the Arabic language.
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