College Mems S1 E6: Things I’m Learning

It’s just about that time of year. College choices. A variety of emotions accompany the word “college.” For some, it’s fear and doubt, others joy and high expectations. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s okay. It’s okay to be unsure, and it’s also okay to have a plan set in stone. I’m about halfway through my second semester of college, and I still don’t have it all together. I’ve wanted to compile a list of things I’ve learned at college for a while, but the problem is I’m still learning. So here’s a list of things I’m learning.

  1. Resting. Rest sometimes seems impossible. There’s always more to study and more social events to attend. I’m learning the joy of power naps, and I’m also finding more and more value in sleeping more than seven hours a night. It’s perfectly acceptable to stay in the library until 2:00 AM a night or two every week. You will have late nights, and you will anxiously await the day you can sleep. You may find yourself awake for twenty hours of the day, and some days you may have classes for six to seven hours. Even so, you will soon realize you are not invincible. Rest is vital, and it’s not exactly optional. Choose your all nighters wisely.
  2. Failure. You’re going to fail. You may fail an exam or you may fail to meet the goals you’ve set. People will also fail you. Doubt often accompanies failure. Maybe you’ll doubt yourself, your major, your friends. It’s okay to doubt. It’s not okay to make impulsive decisions based on your doubt. Don’t change your major because of one failed quiz. It takes work, but you can recover. Don’t doubt someone’s appreciation for you because of something they say or do. It’s really easy to overanalyze and jump to conclusions. Everyone carries their own baggage, and sometimes their stress will be put on you. Finally, don’t doubt your ability. You are capable of overcoming even when it seems impossible. Drink some coffee, smile, and rise. (also you’ll probably end up drinking coffee if you didn’t before college. i didn’t think it could happen. it did.)
  3. Eating. There are so many different approaches to this topic. Some people have problems with remembering to eat, others have issues with making time to eat. Others eat enough, sometimes too much. Even others compare themselves to their peers and decide to stop eating. Eating healthy in college is hard. Keep produce in the fridge and bring sandwich bags and pack small snacks for busy days. If you find yourself struggling with an eating disorder, tell someone. Tell anyone. It could be a friend from home, a roommate, and often, the counselor’s office is pretty confidential when approaching these situations.
  4. Stress. You will be stressed! Duh. Your hair will fall out. Your body will be exhausted. Your mind will be torn in many directions. It’s important to remember to breathe. Focus on what you can do. Focus on the task at hand, not the task ahead. Pray. Get a hug. Take a walk. Take a shower and cry in the shower. Organize something. However, avoiding your task list because you’re overwhelmed isn’t going to do much for you. Write down everything you need to do and go down the list. Anyway, you’re going to get pretty good at managing stress. Good luck.
  5. Patience. I live with eight other girls in a suite originally designed for six people. The nine of us share two toilets, one shower, three sinks, one fridge, a microwave, and a toaster. We don’t have a common living area. Something I’ve learned is the importance of loving patiently. You may be the one to clean up after everyone. You may be the one to massage everyone’s feet and get rid of their headaches. You may be the last one to shower. Your food may not fit in the fridge. Your roommate may turn on the lights when you’re trying to nap. The room next door may keep you up an extra hour when they blast music at 1:00 AM. You may need to take care of the hairball resting on the floor of the shower. You may be the one to vacuum your room every. single. week. You may buy all the soap and cleaning supplies. You may need to listen to people. Patience. People deserve to be loved, and living with strangers is going to be challenging at first. If you need a rant, call someone back home. Love patiently.
  6. Community. I am so blessed to go to a school which values faith and openly advertises bible studies, chapels, and worship nights. Go. Get involved. Find a small group to meet with every week. Get to know the people on your floor. Don’t sit next to your roommate if you have classes together. Meet new people. Be bold. If you don’t, someday you’re going to come to the realization that everyone around you has already made their circles. It’s going to hit you hard. Everyone stresses getting involved. It’s so cliché. But it’s true. Start from the beginning, because it’s a whole lot harder to work up the courage halfway through second semester. Embrace community, and learn to be authentic and vulnerable with people. They may just become your lifelong friends.
  7. Love. Some people go to college and find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Some don’t. Some do during their senior year. Find peace with where you fall. If you do fall in love, yay. If you don’t, yay.
  8. Home. Your home will soon become your dorm room. Your dorm room will become your safe house, but you other days you will avoid it at all costs. Your family will miss you. Some friendships from home will last, others won’t. It happens. And it’s sad. But, you can be incredibly intentional about maintaining them. I love to ask how I can pray for my friends back home. It allows me to be in communication with them and remind them I care. When you come home for breaks, spend many moments with people you love. Also, when you come home for breaks, you’re going to want to go back to school immediately. When you come back to school after break, you’re going to want to go home. Some days, you won’t want to be in either place. That’s normal.
  9. Class. Go. To. Class. It’s important. You’re paying big money for this. Give your professor a reason to like you. Get those participation points. Appreciate the opportunity you have to learn. 8:00 AM’s aren’t cool. Neither are three hour long night classes. Either way, you need to go. Learning is neat, and often, your professors are actually really interesting people. Maybe the topic isn’t, but some profs will tell you about their personal life. Go to their office hours if you have questions. Try to get to know them as a person. My anatomy and phys prof used to be a Latvian Rhythmic Gymnast. Who knew.
  10. Faith. Your faith becomes up to you in college. It is up to you to make time for Jesus. It is up to you to find a church. It is up to you to watch sermons. It is up to you to find time to pray. It is up to you to find a community who will help you foster your faith. Take initiative. Run towards God. Go on prayer walks. Ask how you can pray for your roommates and friends. Find a few people you can have really deep theological conversations about. Keep a prayer journal. Jesus is the best thing you can run to in college. It’s also never to late for redemption. You will go through dry seasons, but run back to Him. He wants you and awaits you with open arms. Make goals of areas you want to grow in your faith. Set high expectations.
  11. Time. Time goes by so fast. I remember the day I moved in. I remember my first audition, my first class, my first chapel. Cherish these moments. Write down something happy each day. These years are going to fly by. Be present, and enjoy your crazy stay.

To all my anxious seniors, breathe. Whatever you end up choosing is going to enable you to learn. You will discover new things about yourself, and you will experience new things each day. Pray, but also know God will use you wherever you go. You’re allowed to be bold and ask for confirmation. Even after you get to school, it’s important to ask for God’s reaffirmation. Sometimes, His plans change. If there’s something on your heart, run towards it. It’s going to work out. So breathe, resist senioritis, enjoy your last days of gym class and bell schedules, take those AP tests, go to senior prom, and trust that it’s going to be okay.

xo.

 

 

College Mems S1 E6: Things I’m Learning

College Mems S.1 E.5: Control

I like order. I like having organized drawers and folded laundry. I like when all my socks have a pair. I like when all my pencils are facing the same way. I like when all my shirts are hanging the same way. I like when all my dishes are clean at the same time. I like when my binders don’t have mess of papers stashed in the front pocket. I like when my trash can is empty. I like when the color of my notebook matches the color of my binder.

These preferences don’t result from OCD. I don’t think I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think it’s a little more like Obsessive Control Disorder. I don’t necessarily feel overwhelmed because messes are present. Rather, I like to rid of disorder because I am overwhelmed in other areas of life. Cleaning and organizing are things I can control. I can control when I do my laundry, vacuum my room, sanitize my desk, make my bed, organize my drawers, etc. I like order, but I like order because I can control it. I like being in charge and feeling responsible. I like feeling accomplished and seeing the work of my hands. I like walking into an organized environment which I have created.

We all like control. When life gets out of control, we tend to wear a mask until it gets torn off our faces, revealing fear, sorrow, pain, anger, addictions, and insecurities beneath. I’m extremely guilty of this. I’m guilty of wearing a mask which tells the world “I’ve got it all together, look at me!” I’m guilty of typing “I’m okay,” feeling torn between wanting the recipient to believe me, but also wanting to be seen. I think some of it comes from not wanting to be a burden to others. Most of it, though, comes from a desire to be seen as strong, capable, and enough.

So right now, I’m going to be honest and tell you I’m just getting by. I’m physically exhausted. I’m emotionally drained. I’m spiritually fatigued. I’m mentally overwhelmed. Tuesday was one of the longest days I’ve had in a long time. I had two exams, two quizzes, and two papers due, a flute lesson, rehearsal, and a large load of work due for Wednesday. I also spent thirty minutes crying on the phone with a friend because of some news I received. I didn’t find time to pray or spend time reading my bible yesterday, and I haven’t in quite a while. I’m overwhelmed. Right now, my desk is sanitized, my laundry is all hanging the same way, the rest of my laundry is all folded (missing two socks), my dishes are done, my trash can is near empty, my floor is vacuumed, and every single drawer is organized. Even my mail drawer. After cleaning and organizing everything, I am yet again reminded I still have no control over life. Cleaning didn’t fix any of my circumstances. It just made everything appear in order.

Isn’t it crazy how fast God can intervene and remind us of our impotence? My friends, we are not in control this life. We do not tell the sun to rise or command the sea to be calm. And sometimes, it’s really hard to accept. It’s hard to accept we are weak, incapable, and living in chaos. In times of confusion, heavy burdens, and long days, it is crucial for us to give our concerns to the one who is in control. It helps to know that God is good (ps. 136:1). He is always good. It also helps to know He promises us His plans are the best plans. He intends to give us a hope and a future (jer. 29:11). Lastly, it helps to know you don’t have to walk alone. You are a child of a God who loves you and promises to go with you through deep waters (isa. 43:2). It’s easier said than done, but we don’t need to be overwhelmed, to fight for control, or to do it all by ourselves. Let go. His arms are open, and He is more than capable of carrying it all. Unlike humans and coping tactics, He doesn’t disappoint. He also loves you. A lot.

In all my years, I’ve never participated in Lent. Last year, I did a devotional each day during the forty days, but I didn’t give up anything aside from time. This year, I’m giving up instagram and snacking, and I’d love for you to keep me accountable for it. I also want to remind you that Lent isn’t a second opportunity for New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a time to create space for God to show up. By giving up things which are of great importance to us, we create room for Him and remind ourselves that He is more deserving than anything else. This year, I’m giving up and expecting to encounter God in new ways. I’m giving Him control over my circumstances and desires. I’m ready to let go.

xo.

College Mems S.1 E.5: Control

College Mems S1 E4: the cadaver

 

**warning. description of a cadaver set up. viewer discretion advised.**

To walk into a room and see human bodies on a table is absolutely humbling. It’s unforgettable; it’s a little appalling. It is human. My eyes wandered to the paper lying superior to his skull. “Thomas, 81, Vice President, Stroke Victim.” A recognizable mass of muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue was halfway covered by a thin, yellowed sheet. We looked at the nerves and identified the muscles. Then she took off the minimal washcloth, exposing his face. Only then did I feel nauseous. It set in. This was a man, laying out on the table. These bones represented a life. His skull was cut so the brain was easily accessible. We passed it around, noting its irregular consistency. Here originated all of his thoughts, dreams, aspirations. His personality, all his stored memories, the sights, smells, and tastes he experienced – all of it – lay sitting in our hands. Next was a woman. She was 74 and died of lung cancer. We passed around her lungs, which were far from firm and covered in black spots. A tumor of some sort lay in her liver, and globules of fat attached to many of her visceral organs. She had only one kidney and was a transplant recipient. Her hair was curly and brown. Another man had a knee replacement surgery, and we were able to see the metal parts inserted by lifting up his flesh. All three of these humans lay on separate tables, skin removed,  just bodies.

Physically, they were all incredibly unattractive. Tendons were stringy and muscles were brown. In some cases, fat particles covered many parts of the body. In each case, the bodies had no skin. From a first year student’s perspective, races were undistinguishable. There was no white, no black, no yellow, no red, no olive, no freckles, no pale, no tan, no burns, no scars. None was better than the other. None seemed superior. The woman who had lipids attached to her organs? She was no better than the other ones. The man who seemed physically fit? He was just as human as the other bodies in the room. They were bodies. Height, race, eye color, weight, abilities, etc., were not accounted for. Simply, they were human.

Today, I didn’t learn new muscles or nerves. I didn’t learn how to overcome the smell or how to prepare for a lab. I didn’t learn those things. Instead, I relearned the value of a human life. Each body represented a life. Their lives contained identities like brother, sister, mom, dad, aunt, friend, grandfather, etc. Maybe other titles too, like musician or athlete. These humans had dreams and lived lives. They had jobs, and they grew up somewhere. Maybe they had kids. Maybe they changed their major three times. Maybe they went on a mission trip. Maybe they spent many days feeling worthless or alone. Maybe they were the person to make everyone else laugh. Maybe they were really good at physics. Everyone has a story of some sort. The papers above their heads gave their name, age, occupation, and reason for passing. These were once humans.

Sometimes, I think we forget we are all human. We are all made of the same things deep down. We are all broken; we are all sinful. We’re not better than anyone because of the color of our skin or the number staring back up at us from the scale. You are not better than anyone else. You are not less than anyone else. You are you. You are a human. Everyone around you is a human. Love these humans. When it comes down to it, we are solely intricate creations of muscles and bones and tendons and neurons and nerves and organs in desperate need of a Savior. Love the humans around you and adapt a perspective of humility and awe as you watch life progress.

xo.

College Mems S1 E4: the cadaver

College Mems S1 E3.

This is another one of those posts – where I don’t want to just be complaining all the time, but I’m going to do a small rant and then end on a better note. Overall, the college life has been going pretty great. I got to talk to my brothers over the phone last night for the first time since I left in August. I officially made the worship band here. I’ve seen some really cool clouds and sunrises. I’ve made many friends. I’ve been more normal about eating. I have some friends coming up this weekend. I’ve received a package. I attended a worship service. I’ve been reading my psalms on a daily basis. I haven’t overslept or forgotten about any assignments. Like, honestly, college has been really good to me. I love my school.

However, I am personally feeling a bit like Eyore. I don’t really know why. Inside, my mind is exhausted, and I really struggled to see my purpose today. I woke up feeling nauseous and fatigued, even though I had gotten almost eight hours of sleep. I woke up feeling just dreary and inadequate. I attended my first class, at 8:05 in the morning, and I just sat there and went through the motions. All of today, I haven’t been present. I haven’t felt joy. I haven’t felt good about my work. I haven’t felt engaged in lectures. I haven’t retained anything I’ve learned. I cried today. I went and sat in the chapel on campus, in the back row, and just essentially yelled at/cried out to God. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know why there was pain. I wanted to know what would come of it. I wanted to know why. And even now, typing this out, it seems illogical of me to even question God’s works in someone else’s life. It just didn’t seem fair. I rested my head on the pew in front of me, and just sat there, fatigued, angry, sad, conflicted, overwhelmed, lonely. After a few minutes, my phone vibrated. Almost annoyed, I went to go check it, and it ended up being a friend affirming God’s work through me. I remembered for a short minute as to why I am here. However, as I stood back up, I put on my mask over everything running through my mind. I went upstairs and decided to go outside for a few minutes to look at the lake. The sun was shining, breaking through the clouds and reflecting off the blue, crashing waves below. There were marks from airplanes visible in the sky, and clouds covered the horizon and atmosphere. It was absolutely the most beautiful view of the lake I have seen during my time here. These few minutes were perhaps one of the few moments I felt joy today. He creates beautiful things out of the dust, and He is sovereign, even when hurt, loss, and pain seem to prevail. All my feelings of anger, resentment, disappeared. I was in awe. I just stood there, looking like a fool, and breathed in the fresh air and concentrated on the art looking back at me. I’ve included a picture of the sky, just because it’s absolutely lovely. No filter needed.img_20160915_091932992

I can’t say this awe and joy lasted for the rest of the day. After I returned to my dorm, stress and and slight desolation ensued. I read some Psalms, and it’s kinda funny how it’s been working out. I received a letter from my mom around two weeks ago, but didn’t open in until a few days ago. In one of her paragraphs, a three letter sentence stood out from all the others. Read the Psalms, it said. Today, I read Psalm 39, where David cries out to God, asking Him to hear him as his anguish increases and his soul looks for hope. On days I’ve been filled with joy, the majority of the chapters have reflected God’s goodness and mercy. On good days, there have been blue skies and clouds over the lake. On bad days, I’ve woken up to fog and dreary storms. I love storms (however). Do you ever realize how close the clouds are to the earth during foggy days? I imagine God draws near on days when I feel like I have come to the end of myself. Anyways, the Psalms and the clouds have really been extremely relevant to my life and ever changing moods these past few weeks, and I’m kinda liking loving it.

Perhaps one of only other moments I felt true joy today occurred while I was with my special friends. Extra chromosomes are irrelevant, disabilities are overlooked, appearances are discarded. Abilities are cherished, souls are loved, people are poured into until they feel like they matter. I sat at the end of the table next to her. She was a quiet one, but she kept stealing glances across the room. Jeremy, she said, was his name. Sometimes, I admire these kids. Their joy over the simplest things is absolutely admirable and often times contagious. To watch a girl my age fantasize over the perfect boy in her eyes brought me joy. The joy in her eyes traveled to her dimples when he came over and gave her a hug. She doesn’t see his disabilities. She sees his heart, his caring spirit, his authenticity. Then, someone else came over, and he politely shook my hand and asked me to dance with him to the pop music playing in the background. He explained how he’s been doing the salsa since he was eight, the tango since age nine, the cha-cha he never even had to learn, and could do the worm effortlessly and flawlessly. And most definitely he could. As he flopped on the floor, spun a girl around in circles, jumped as high as his hand could reach, my heart got just a glimpse of his joy. He doesn’t care what other people around him think of when they see him dancing. He dances because he is happy, even if he’s the only one doing it in a room of 50 people. Next, yet another unique human came to the volleyball game with us. He cheered for both teams, yelling out numbers, commenting on plays, constantly smiling and paying attention to forty girls who will probably never do the same for him. Yet, he doesn’t care about it. He lives in the moment. He doesn’t care about people’s responses or what they’ll do in return. He lives to live and love.

What if we tried to follow their example? Loving relentlessly, smiling at only each others’ presence, cheering each other on in their talents? What kind of world would we live in? I love my buddies. I love their joy. I love their spirit. I love their kind, empathetic hearts. I love their smiles. I love their appreciation for life. I love their bravery, commitment, but most of all their love. Their joy too. These young adults inspire me to be filled with the love and joy and passion they have for life. They look for abilities, they find joy in simplicity, they treasure you. I wish our world contained more people like this.

Today’s appreciation post goes to a lovely mother I know. She has her hands completely full, but it never stops her from giving all she has left. She makes killer tea, gives satisfying hugs, and takes time to listen to whatever you need to say. She is strong, strong in the Lord, strong when you’re not. She is patient, she is beauty, she is grace. She is as loving, as empathetic, as caring as a mother can get. She is a committed wife, one who puts her husband above herself whenever she has the opportunity. She is a servant, devoting as many hours as she can to the people around her. She doesn’t let her disabilities stop her, only uses them to spread the gospel to additional groups of people. She is hospitable and gracious. Above all, her dedication and love for God is contagious. She makes you want what she has. She inspires you to rest in Him during any and every circumstance. She puts young students above her. She devotes her weekends to being with them. She trusts them with her messy. She invests in them without ceasing, always a phone call away. She is lovely in every way, and I’ve been so blessed by her presence in my life. She continues to rest in God even though, this past week especially, life has thrown some pretty real stuff. Prayers always appreciated.

xo.

College Mems S1 E3.

College Mems S1 E2.

Its Friday, and I have successfully completed one full week of classes, haven’t missed any homework assignments, and only cried once this week. I’ve also eaten ramen twice, made new friends, and read a few chapters of psalms since we last talked. I am absolutely exhausted, proud, and overwhelmed. I can’t say I’m filled with joy, but I have a certain peace of mind. However, I didn’t this morning. Or last night. So as usual, I’ll just write about it.

So earlier this week, I attended a job fair for on-campus jobs, and I was incredibly disappointed. Most of the organizations were only hiring upperclassmen (or just anyone who wasn’t a freshman aka not me), some were off campus (still questioning why they were there), and yet others weren’t even hiring at the time (again why even show up). However, after walking around, I found a guy who was hiring, who wanted my resume, and who scheduled an interview with me based on my availability. Turns out his conception of my availability and mine were completely different, and he kinda just shut me down right after the interview this morning. In all honesty, I don’t want a job first semester of college as I am adjusting to a new way of life; I’d rather start second semester and be able to manage all aspects of everything. However, as per my parent’s request, I applied for a few different jobs. Initially, I was relieved it didn’t work out. I realized I would have more time for my school work and making friends and managing independence. As I went back to my room, I realized I would have to tell my parents it didn’t work out, and I honestly felt like I would disappoint them. They both had congratulated me and told some family and friends.

I hate being disappointed. I hate people telling me one thing and doing another. I hate when trust is lost, and I hate moving on from disappointments. Probably one of my biggest problems with humanity is the fact that we disappoint each other really easily, really well, and half the time, we don’t give it a second thought. They could be big things, like breaking a relationship or not attending important events or something as small as a missed phone call during rough days. I hate being disappointed. Something I despise more than people disappointing me? Knowing I disappointed someone else. As I typed out the message I was sending to my parents telling them about my dilemma, I was overcome with anxiety and genuine fear I would disappoint them. Especially after sending the message, lies began to fill my head. Ones like why would they want to hire you anyway and they’re so disappointed and you really messed up this time. It was weird because I totally knew they were lies and had no authority. It was also weird because I didn’t even want the job in the first place. I knew they weren’t from God. I knew they weren’t true. For some reason, however, they consumed me. At that point, I decided to just go apply for another job, because maybe they’ll hire me and then my parents won’t be as disappointed. I scanned my desk, looking for anything to do.

I realized I hadn’t opened my jar yet today. My pals back home (who are absolutely amazing in so many ways) had given me a jar labeled 100 reasons why we love you. My fingers reached in, and I prayed in the moment, something like God make this one good. I need to feel better. I pulled out one, small, orange slip, and the word on it read deserving. The word alone really hit me. Some days, I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel good enough. I don’t always feel like I even deserve to have the life I do and the friends I do. Somedays, I feel like I can’t engage in certain activities due to past events. It was then and there I realized two things. A, everything going on in my head was a lie, and I don’t need to give into lies because God’s words speak power. Secondly, I realized my friends are great only because they point me to God, and God is really the only one I need to be depending on. My friends can give me God’s truth and a safe community, but my joy and peace need to be coming from God. God is the only one who can calm the chaos inside of me and replace my depression with joy. After going to my classes, I came back to my dorm and told my roommates the news. Instead of pity, one of them enlightened me about a job opportunity she knew about. Rather than your typical office job, this job allowed you to be working with special needs children regarding areas like homework, dorm assistance, and their responsibilities on campus. It’s not official yet by any means, but my heart is totally there already.

Isn’t it funny how God sometimes uses pain to increase our joy and dependence on Him? If the first job had turned out, I wouldn’t have had a potential opportunity to work with beautiful humans. If the first job had turned out, I wouldn’t be as grateful for the second possibility. If the first job had worked out, I wouldn’t have had to depend on God this morning. Upon returning, I opened my email, and an additional employer had contacted me and asked me for an interview later next week. Since the job with the sneeds kids isn’t official, I’m scheduled and set, but I’m totally prepared to decline the offer and spend the rest of the year hanging out with my favorite kinds of humans.

He knows what you need. He knows what you want. He knows your heart’s desires. He wants you to cry out to Him and tell Him what you want. He’s an Abba Father, or a Daddy God. He doesn’t disappoint. He gives you grace when you disappoint, though calls you to a higher place and expects you to adhere to his commands for you.

Today in my Bible course, we talked about some really cool stuff, and I’m so content knowing I’ll be learning even more about God’s goodness and creation and everything. And to think Christianity is illegal in some countries gives me even more appreciation to have the ability to take this course in a college classroom setting.

I’ve also been reading a chapter or two of Psalms each morning and night, and I’m extremely content, but my joy is not quite effusive. However, today is Friday, classes are done until Tuesday, I’ve vacuumed my room, I’m cozy, I ate grilled cheese for dinner, and I get to sleep lots tonight. It’s a pretty good day overall. I also wore overalls today, so of course it was a great day.

Okay fam, this is all I’ve got for today. I’m predicting I’ll be pretty busy these next few months, so I’ll apologize in advance for my perceived absence. However, I will update you on my employment status because I’m sure you’re dying to hear the results.

much love.

College Mems S1 E2.

College Mems S1.E1.

I’ve been here a week, so you think I would probably have a set opinion, some friends and no homework, right? Well, yeah, of course you’re wrong. Or sort of wrong. I indeed have lots of homework. I indeed have some opinions, and I’ve made a few friends. I’ve had some revelations, some tears, some laughs, some late night calls, some early mornings. Due to my lack of time and your lack of patience (@glw333), this post will probably be jumbled, a wee bit short, and not completely reflective of my time here.

I’ll start with move-in day, which wasn’t as rough as perceived. All of my belongings fit, my Christmas lights got put up, none of my roommates were in my room as I unpacked, I felt organized. Later that day, however, the reality of not being home set in. Saying goodbye or see you later to people was essentially meaningless beforehand. It didn’t actually seem like I was going away, and I feel like the gravity of the situation wasn’t real or attainable at the time. Goodbyes were said, but as I sat in my bed the first afternoon, I realized they were real. I realized I wasn’t yet supported here. I didn’t have friends. I didn’t have a place where I could be vulnerable yet. To all my pals back in the good ole g-lake, I miss you bunches. I really do. A special shoutout to those of you who have called me and talked me through assimilation and just let me tell you everything I felt wasn’t going right and then made me laugh.

I forgot to mention I have a view of Lake Michigan from my dorm! It is absolutely beautiful, and tomorrow morning, I am waking up extremely early to go watch the sunset. 6:00 AM probably seems early, but when you have somewhere to be at 7:55 AM, it’s all just relative. I love morning classes. No, but really, I do. I love my classes. For the most part, all my professors are kind and interesting and understandable. Except for my Anatomy and Physiology professor, who is from Latvia, God bless her heart. If I had to be anxious about one thing, it’d be not understanding her, failing to comprehend the expectations, getting below an A, and therefore being dropped out of the Master’s program I’m currently enrolled in. A lot rests on this class, but I’m just trying to keep saying I’m prepared. Yeah, I’m really not, but I’m excited to learn. Rumor has it her class is death and extremely hard. Her teacher reviews are also extremely amusing, but I’m not going to say any more. Besides this exception, all of my other professors have already captured my attention and made classes interesting. I especially like my Bible teacher (how cool is it I get to take religion classes again in school), who is full of many stories and reminds me of Bob Goff. Unlike the general freshman population, I’m extremely excited to have this course in my schedule and further deepen my knowledge of the Bible and Hebrew and all things lovely and pure. I’m also taking a course called Freshman Seminar, in which a large population of the class is students with special needs. It just turned out this way, but I’m so blessed to be around them and begin to build relationships with them. Have I mentioned I love special needs kids?

Yikes, what next. Golly, I’ll tell you about my roommates. So I got pulled into a nine person suite, and let me tell you, it’s a party. Every day. Every morning. Every night. There is always music playing, guests, late night outings, and games. Me being me, I haven’t been too involved in some of the activities and outings, but it’s been pretty fun to get to know some of the girls. We all share one shower, which has been a minor challenge, but in all, it’s worked out okay. Or at least, it’s worked out almost as expected, which isn’t awful. There’s already been a wee bit of drama and complications, but it’s bound to happen, and I think at least my sub room is all content, so that’s fine with me.

I also mentioned many months ago about my receiving of a music scholarship, which requires me to take lessons, participate in a concert band, and be an avid member of the pep band. I auditioned on Thursday of last week, and I ended up getting a chair in the top band, which means I get to tour Hawaii with the band during Winter Break!! YAY for pineapples, luaus, tropical feels, and new adventures. I’ve also already found three people to room with, and they’re really sweet. Two of them, I know pretty well already. One is a camp counselor, who wears chacos and who also is really proficient in making me laugh and singing camp songs with me when no one else will. The other encourages me in the finsta world, laughs at my mom with me, and happens to know my high school best friend. I really like these people, and Hawaii’s gunna be dope. So, basically, band rocks and I’m feeling great about it.

Yesterday, after my final class, I was feeling pretty defeated. I couldn’t understand my A&P professor, I had lots of homework, I still don’t really have many friends, and there was just an overall feeling of angst, isolation, and loss of motivation. I turned on my phone, and I had received a message from a friend back home, asking the question “do you ever feel like satan takes away your joy?” And my answer, especially in the moment, was absolutely. This whole summer, especially at camp, there was no room for anxiety or overwhelming depression, and they were replaced by constant energy and reliance on God for guidance through yet another day. I was surrounded by a community who almost forced me to dive into God’s word every single morning and additionally on various nights throughout the week. I was constantly reading scripture and learning what God was doing in my camper’s lives and hearing about children accepting Jesus. I think realizing lives were being changed brought me great joy, but I also really depended on certain co-workers and people back home to restore my joy. I’m still processing this all, but as far as I can tell, leaving my community back home and from the summer has really hit me hard, and God is using it as a method to force me to find my joy in Him and Him alone. After I responded “yes” to his question, my friend asked if I could think of any tangible ways to start accepting God’s joy. He told me this was not God’s plan for me. He affirmed God wanted me to rest in His joy and wanted me to feel loved by Him through it. He told me God is waiting for me. Even as I write this right now, I don’t feel joyful. I’m already apathetic to many parts of college. I’m exhausted. I feel useless like I’m failing at what I’m doing. But why should I? God is calling me to joy, and His joy is stronger than all of these other feelings. I’ve decided the first tangible step I’ll be taking to begin to find true joy in God will be reading through the Psalms these next four or five months. I’ve never read all the way through, but I know for a fact David has so much joy and praise to offer up to God, despite what may be happening in his life. I haven’t read much from my Bible since camp counselor life ended. I’d love for you to keep me accountable, so please ask me how its going.

Additionally, I will yet again encourage you to leave something on my Prayer Request page. It’s been up for the past four months, and so far no one has left anything on there – anonymous or not – so you could be the first!

Today’s appreciation post goes to my tall buddy who calls me cactus. You’re really good at volleyball and boys and inspiring others around you. I see you sometimes, and I think to myself I want what she has. You have so much joy and love, and it just pours out of you like the oil in the Bible – never ending. Thanks for listening to my endless rants about college and making me laugh and telling me about your romantic life and justifying my anger and laughing when all my pillows end up on the ground in the morning and later asking what was wrong. Thank you for skipping questionable activities and for pushing me to pray and talking about boys with me and for serving me and letting me eat your oreos. Thank you for reminding me of Isaiah 42:14 and for never forgetting what went down in East Troy. Thank you for reaching out to everyone in our dorm and being you even when it gets tough. I hope you’re having fun in Texas and your preamble memorization has gone well. You actually rock my world, and I’m so blessed to spend 4.5 more years with you. Love ya, kleetis.

xo fam. 

College Mems S1.E1.