Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Things to Expect at College


 1. Expect to be nervous

     You are in a new situation with new people, a new stage of life, and maybe you are far away from home and family. But don't worry, because every other freshman will be just as nervous as you.

2. Expect to be clueless 

     Every freshman that enters a college campus for the first time has to learn the ropes. But use this to your advantage. Ask questions. Ask for help. Learn about all of your possibilities now while all of your fellow freshman are also clueless. You won't be alone.

3. Expect to make lifelong friends

    Over the next four years you will make wonderful friends. Friends that are completely different from you, friends that compliment you, friends that could be your long lost twin. You will love them all and will weep at your graduation when you all go separate ways.

4. Expect to lose friends

    College is a transitional time of life. Students leave school. Students transfer. Schedules change. One semester you will see certain people every day. The next semester you won't see them at all. It is only natural that some friendships sadly fade.

5. Expect to have fun

   This is the one time in your life you will be treated like an adult but you can still act like a kid. Marco Polo in the hallway. Dorm pranks. Sledding on whatever you can find to sit on in whatever clothes you don't mind getting ruined. Take full advantage of this.

6. Expect to work hard

  Though you will play hard, you will also work hard. Actually read those textbooks. Start those papers at least two weeks before they're due. Make the library your second home. College is a lot of money and an amazing opportunity that shouldn't be wasted. Though it gets hard and you will want to quit (especially during finals week) don't give up. Someday you will miss the luxury of academic studying, so don't miss this opportunity.

8. Expect to succeed

   College may be scary and weird at first, but you can make it and there are so many people to help you succeed. Your parents, your friends, and even your professors all want to see you succeed and are on your side as long as you do your best.

9. Expect to fail

   You may not fail a class. You may not drop out of school. But you may get a lower grade than you wanted. You may not get a second job interview, You may forget a lunch date. You may get sick and fail an exam. There will be times when you can't do it and fail. But you will get back up.

10. Expect to be nervous, clueless, make lifelong friends, lose friends, have fun, work hard, succeed, and fail over and over again throughout your college years. 

    Because college is like life. We are always learning, making mistakes, and trying again. As soon as you are a college graduate, (aka completely knowledgeable in all things of the college world), you may have to navigate the work force, become a freshman again at graduate school, or enter the foreign world of marriage. And you can expect to be nervous, clueless, make lifelong friends, lose friends, have fun, work hard, succeed, and fail over and over again for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Making Christmas


  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. For as long as I can remember, my mom has made the whole month of December special, from advent calenders, cookie baking, trips to our local Christmas store, thoughtful presents under the tree, and delicious Christmas foods that have become tradition in our household.

   But this year is different. Mom is too busy to make Christmas happen. So my sister and I are baking all of the cookies, putting the lights on the tree, planning the Christmas menu. Making Christmas happen. And part of me just wants to be a little kid again where my only struggle was waiting for Christmas morning.

  So I can do two things; I can wish to be a little girl again full of the wonder of Christmas, or I can take my mom's advice and see this undesirable situation as an opportunity. I think I will take the opportunity.

 Already I see a change in my attitude. Christmas is about giving. It is about Jesus humbling Himself to the point that he was born as baby in a manger and would later die for our sins on the cross. As a believer, I want to share that gospel message, and right now that means making Christmas.

  Another opportunity I am taking is to broaden my cooking and baking skills. As a person that has never been one to volunteer in the kitchen unless absolutely necessary, I admit that I really don't know what I am doing in the kitchen. But this Christmas, that will change.

   Making Christmas is only a small difficulty in my life right now. Not that I think that all of those years my mom has made Christmas happen is easy, but in the big picture of all of our lives it is not a big hardship. So if I can get through this by seeing it as an opportunity, focusing on the blessings, how much closer will I be to doing the same for every struggle in my life?

 How can I find an opportunity and blessing while living with roommates chosen for me?

 How can God use me during this time of unwanted singleness?

 What opportunity awaits me during my hardest semester academically?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Not Ready

   I am not ready to leave yet.

   I am not ready to say goodbye to my family.

   I am not ready to leave the mountains and hills.

   I am not ready to say goodbye to my friend that is moving.

   I am not ready to kiss goodbye the newborn in my church I only just met.

   I am not ready to start school again.

   About a week and a half ago, I was filling out my planner. I didn't notice it at first, but then I saw that on Friday I wrote, "Fly home." And on Monday, a week and three days later I wrote, "Fly home."

   When I am at school, I am never ready to leave for breaks.

   I am not ready to say goodbye to my friends.

   I am not ready to leave the vast Michigan sky.

   I am not ready for my writing classes to end.

   Instead, I will trust that though I am not ready, God is ready. In Michigan I will enjoy the people and sky before me until it is time to go to Vermont. And in Vermont I will look at my mountains and spend time with those I love until it is time to return to school.

   I am not ready to leave, Monday. But God is, and He will help me.

   And I will trust in His timing for when to stay and when to depart from my different homes.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Twilight Fairytale Happy Ending

      This past summer I read “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer for the first time, and I couldn’t put it down. I can see why so many teen girls have fallen in love with the series. It’s a fast paced plot with mystery, romance, and danger that features an intriguing and original vampire culture and one super cute vampire who falls in love with a human and they defy everything to be with each other. Of course everyone is obsessed. And honestly, while I was reading it I was too.

      But as I was reading it, there were negative things I could not ignore. I thought the writing was horrible. Bella never “says” anything. She exclaims yells, states, and replies. Those words only bring attention to themselves and bog down the reader. Many of the descriptions are boring and cliché. Also, the main character, Bella, is flat. After reading the entire book this is what I can tell you about Bella: She is a high school girl who reluctantly just moved to a new town to live with her dad. She is an introvert. She is lonely and cynical. She loves to read. And she is obsessed with Edward Cullen.

      I was also appalled at Bella’s obsession with Edward from the very beginning. He becomes her life. Her very existence. She hardly knows anything about this guy and she falls in love with him. She goes behind her dad’s back to spend time with him. And whether or not he turned out to be an amazing guy or a jerk, Edward becomes Bella’s idol.

      So why did I finish reading the book? I think what happened is that Stephanie Meyer had a brilliant idea. A girl and vampire fall in love but he thirsts for her blood? Pure genius. I think she had images in her head, but when she tried to put those pictures into words, it failed. But for me as the reader, though I stumbled over the words, I could see the author’s intent, and that’s what kept me going. And like every other girl obsessed with Twilight, I kept reading because I loved the fairytale happy ending.

      This has been said before, but I’m going to say it again. Edward is the guy that every girl dreams of. He chooses Bella-  the new, shy girl- out of all of the other girls at school He loves her, saves her twice, tells her she’s beautiful, makes her feel special, and has this tantalizing, mysterious air. He has the strength to crush her and the overwhelming desire to drink her blood, but he does neither. What a guy. Oh, and did I mention that he’s super attractive?

      Every girl, including me, dreams of a Prince Charming to carry her off to his castle and live happily ever after. But unlike most people, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to have a fairytale life in this world.

      Like Bella, we are all nobodies. We are invisible and unworthy of attention because of our sin. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the most amazing guy in the world, noticed us and loved us. He loved us so much He died for our sins. “Not because of the righteous things we’ve done, but because of His mercy” (Titus 3:5). If we confess our sins and believe in Him and give our life to Him, we will have eternal life.

      Someday, when I die, I will join my savior in Heaven for eternity. And we will live happily ever after.