Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What It Looks Like When I'm Leaving

This is what it looks like when I'm leaving.

 Luggage on the floor.

 Empty drawers.

 Piles of blankets on my bed.

 Chaos. Confusion.

 And inside I feel the same way. Excited to go back, sad to leave. Optimistic for all that may happen, fearful of all that won't.

 It's time to turn my bookshelves over to straighten them again.

 It's time to gather my special books that go everywhere with me.

 It's time to pack all of my things and lug it back to Michigan one last time. Or will my things stay there? Is this the last time I have to pack up my life like this? Will I live in Michigan after I graduate?

 I don't know. And it's hard not knowing.

 But it's mostly hard because I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want to happen. I don't know where I want be.

 Actually, I know what I want. I want both.

 I want both Michigan and Vermont. I want the mountains and the vast, open sky. I want family and my childhood friends, but also my new family and friends.

 But they can only coexist for one more year. One last year of college.

 So I pack.

 I wonder at the year ahead of me, the life I will have after graduation.

 As I squeeze clothes into every little space in my luggage, I pray for blessings, contentment, strength, and the wisdom to trust God no matter what does or doesn't happen this year, or wherever He takes me after graduation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Open Letter to My Sister Starting College

  My dear sister,

   As you are about to start college, I wanted to share some thoughts and advice about roommates as someone who has lived through it for three years now. May you learn and not make the same mistakes I did.

 Don’t judge your roommates the first day. No one is themselves 
with all of the chaos, unpacking, and goodbyes. But know some of their weaknesses may be revealed. Though they may show it in different ways, they are as nervous as you. Be kind to them even if they are not kind to you. Communicate. Learn to be okay with silence. Learn how to break it. Learn how to meet their needs. Learn how to tell them yours. Don’t be the roommate that disappears. Don’t be the roommate that won’t leave the room. You may not become best friends. I know you want to, but you may not. But you will learn to love them. And for the first time you will realize what love is. It is loving them even when they don’t love you. It is treating them well even though they don’t treat you the way you want. It is putting them first. It is the way Christ loves us. And you will more fully understand His love and how undeserving you truly are. Your roommates will misunderstand you. They will comfort you when you are hurting. You may have fights. You may have tears. You will all need to forgive. Live the year with the mindset that all of this truly matters. Live the year like none of it matters. Because both are true. You are only a freshman once, and you may only get to love them this special way once. Because it is special. You are two or three strangers sharing one small room for a year. They may have better and closer friends, but you live with them, and love them and despise them in a way no one else at that time can understand. But if you zoom out and think of the tiny speck on the earth that you are, know you are not defined by your roommates. You are defined by God who looks at you, sees Christ, and has welcomed you into His arms.
  You may live with them again. You may not. No matter what, you will not forget them, whether you were best friends or enemies. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

3 Ways I Got Through Summer Classes


 129 credits for a Bachelor of Arts degree is hard to pack into a four year college degree. That is how I found myself taking two classes at my community college this summer. I was excited until I realized how quickly after finishing finals I would have to start all over again. While everyone was having fun at the beach I would be working on an assignment. And weekly quizzes. And long chapters of a geography text book that has a little too much science for my taste.

 But this is my last week, so to celebrate being almost done with my summer classes, here are some of the ways I got through my summer classes.

 1. I took one fun class.

   My fun class this summer is Intro to Photography. It helps to balance out my frustrating, boring, and I'll admit what sometimes feels pointless online geography class. Because in- between learning about climate, geographical terms, and biased lessons on religion, I can take a walk and shoot pictures of flowers.

2. Though I never want to do my homework, I have to admit it is keeping me more grounded.

   Summer is when I feel lazy. Even if I have a job and go on vacation and work on un-cluttering my room, it is a time when I try to rest. And that is good. But sometimes I can rest too much. Taking summer classes helps with that.

 3. I think about my classmates whose lives make it harder to take summer classes.

  My photography class mostly consists of older adults. Adults who have full time jobs and children. When I am tempted to complain, I think of them maybe coming straight from work to class, leaving their kids with their spouse or a babysitter, trying to do decide whether they should clean up from dinner, get some quality time with their spouse, go to bed early, or do their homework.

 Unlike them I don't have to worry about those things.