End of College Musings (Things I’ve Learned in Four and a Half Years)|| Grateful Days 312-324

IMG_5358the last day of classes this semester means my last day as an undergraduate student.

Today marked the last day of classes for University of Arizona students for the fall semester, and for me and many others it marked the end of our careers as undergraduate students. I know I’ve written many a post about how crazy it is to be graduating, but with graduation only 10 days away the realness of it is finally hitting me. The reality of it all should have sunk in when I got a job (woo hoo oh yeah thank you Jesus!!), but it didn’t. The reality of my graduating hit when I realized that I didn’t have to register for classes for next semester. When I realized when other students are enjoying their 3-4 week long Christmas break I’ll be starting work. When I realized that next semester I will no longer be a student of Chi Alpha instead I’ll be on staff. I’ve learned a lot over the past four and a half years and trying to write it all out just becomes a huge rambling so here are a few things I’ve learned in my years at University.

1) Your parents transition with you:
I realized that as I was transitioning from being a teenager to becoming an adult, my parents were becoming parents of a college student and now they are going to become parents of a college graduate.

2) Friends are blessings when you move out at the ripe age of 18:
I was fortunate enough to gain a group of friends who helped my become an adult and who helped me become the woman I am today. Having a group of friends who can help you transition and who are able and willing to listen to you complain about life or help you figure out what to do with your life makes being in college a lot easier.

3) Talking to people about your worries/problems is important:
I came to college not really wanting to let people know when things were truly bothering me because I got through high school without having to tell people what was really going on in my life. Going through most of my Freshman year of college like that was pretty exhausting and I realized I needed to tell people when I was stressed out because if I didn’t I usually ended up crying somewhere. Telling people also gave my family and friends the opportunity to pray for me and give me encouragement through it all.

4) Talking to people about the good things in life is also important:
It’s a lot easier to tell people what’s bothering you but it’s equally important to let people know when good things happen in your life because it’s way more fun to celebrate good things with other people than celebrating alone! I used to think telling people about something good happening in my life meant I was rubbing something in their face, but telling people about exciting things means there are more people who can celebrate the good things in your life.

5) You learn a lot about yourself during college:
In the past four and a half years I have learned more about myself than I could have ever known four years ago. In nine semesters I have learned what annoys me, what makes me angry, and what makes me happy. I have learned what I want in friendships and my future husband. I have learned what kind of daughter, sister, aunty and friend I want to be. I have learned who I am as a woman of God and who I am as a leader. I am still learning more about myself, but college has helped me learn things about myself I couldn’t have known had I not gone through four and a half years of studying, crying, talking, laughing and praying.

6) God doesn’t stop working in your life just because you’re going to graduate from college:
This semester was a lot of preparation and a lot of praying about what to do for the next year of my life. In Chi Alpha each student is encouraged to give a year and pray about a lifetime and basically that means we are all encouraged to give a year to missions and pray about whether or not that would be for a season or for our lifetime. I knew I wanted to give a year for the past couple of years and with graduation slowly approaching I began praying about where to go and what I was going to do before I left. I decided I would get a job and support raise for wherever I was going to go. After praying for a job my supervisor from my internship emailed a few of us telling us of a job opening where I was an intern and I applied. Then I got to take a test. Then I went to an interview. Then another. Then I got the job! The crazy thing about all this is that I prayed God would give me a sign of whether I should stay and give my year with Chi Alpha here or if I should go because I didn’t want to get the job then leave because the job is in my field and it’s one that I wanted. Then I prayed if I got the job it would be God’s way of telling me to stay, but if I didn’t I would find somewhere to give my year then support raise and by getting the job God answered a prayer and answered a question. That’s when I realized God doesn’t just let people go once they have graduated from college, if anything He prepares them more for what He has in store for them. God helped prepare me for what He would have in store for me as I work and give my year with Chi Alpha because what He has in store is better than what I had originally planned.

7) Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness:
I always had this strange idea that asking people for help meant I was being weak, but it isn’t. I’ve realized asking people for help is a sign of strength because it’s a persons acknowledgement of the fact that they can’t do it alone; they need help. There have been many a time when I needed people’s help, whether it was homework or life, asking people for help is beneficial.

8) Seasons of life come and go:
In four and a half years I went from a teenager to an adult. Now as I transition from college student to a full functioning adult, and as I go from student to staff I am realizing more now than I did before that seasons come and go. In the time it took for the weather to go from hot to warm, from warm to cool and for the leaves to begin changing colour I became an adult. In the time it will take for the leaves to fall and for the air to grow colder I will be a college graduate. By the time Christmas lights are going to be taken down and calendars change from 2014 to 2015 I will be a working adult. Seasons come and go and there will be days when it feels like you should have taken a picture of a specific moment so you could have a memento of that day, but the truth is the best memories cannot be captured in a photo. Nor can you put a filter on it and share it with the world. The best memories are those that you can take with you in your memory for eternity. Enjoying each season is difficult at the time, but with each season comes new lessons and new opportunities of growth so enjoy each season as it comes because who knows how long you’ll be in that moment. Even though there were times when I wished it would be over quicker, I am glad for my years at University. I have learned so much and I have become a different person than who I was all those years ago when I first set foot on campus.

College has been the most difficult four and a half years of my life, but at the same time these have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. All the things I have learned while I’ve been a student will be with me for years to come. The friends I have made will be in my heart for many more years. The past nine semesters have had many challenges, but they have all prepared me for what God is calling me to do and they are all shaping me into the woman I will be tomorrow. As I say goodbye to the past four and a half years I say hello to a new season of life and await the new lessons I will soon be learning.

goodbye college. hello world.

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Goodbye Summer, Hello School || Grateful Days 196-224

IMG_4952Alas, another summer has passed and another semester of school has started.

I walked on campus this week knowing that the end of my school days is soon coming to an end. One day I may find myself back in school, but my undergrad years are soon coming to an end and honestly I don’t really know how to feel.Of course I’m happy that I’ll finally be done with school, but I’m also sad to be saying goodbye to this season of my life soon.

For the past four and a half years I have been at the U of A I have learned and grown so much. I’m happy to be leaving behind school and walking in to a new season because it means more growth and more experiences. But I’m sad to leave behind this season because this season of my life saw much growth.

I came to the U as a Freshman who had a lot to learn and in the past 4 years I have learned more than I could imagine. Obviously I learned a lot academically, but more than that I learned a lot personally. I shed many tears on campus and I can point out every place I’ve cried. In my 4 years as a university student I have felt anxious, sad, happy, scared and a plethora of other emotions. But I wouldn’t take back a single tear or a single moment as a student.

I wouldn’t take back any moment of doubt or anxiety because through all of those experiences I learned to trust God. In 4 years I have been challenged and in the moments when I was challenged most I learned to trust people, I learned to trust Jesus and I learned a lot about myself.

It’s crazy to think that my years at the U are almost over and now in my last semester I’m determined to end this season in the best way I can. Before the semester started I met with a friend for coffee to talk about life and the semester and she said “Steffanie, this is your semester” and I couldn’t help but smile at this thought. Now, I don’t think this is going to be my semester in an ‘Oh yeah I’m so going to own this semester’ way, but in a ‘Lets make this semester the best one yet’ way. I don’t know what this semester holds, but I’m so thankful for the past 4 years at the U and I’ve learned and done so much in that time that I’m excited for what this semester holds.

So here’s to my last semester as an undergrad and for all that’s to come!

Grateful Day 124

20140521-210425-75865816Today my baby sister promoted from 8th grade and next year she’s going to be a Freshman in high school. Holy stinkin’ cow!!! That’s basically what I thought when I realized that my baby sister is going to be in high school. Now, I’m a very emotional person, so it made me really teary eyed to know that my baby sister is now going to walk the halls of the school I left only 4 years ago.

I realize I’ve been very reminiscent lately, but I enjoy looking back and seeing how much things have changed around me. I enjoy seeing how much people grow and how people change. My baby sister is going to be in high school come fall and my other sissy is a recent high school grad and a momma to a 7 month old. My parents are getting older and we are becoming friends. More and more people I know are getting married and having kids and others are moving to different states and countries to start new chapters in their lives. Life is changing right before my eyes and I can’t stop it, and since I can’t stop it I might as well enjoy it!

Life is full of adventures and some times adventure is in the mundane and tedious aspects of life. Some times adventure is in your face and heart pumping, while other times adventure is still and quiet. That’s what I believe anyway. I’m a believer that a lot of times our “great wide somewhere” (yes that is a line for a song from Beauty and the Beast) is our here and now; wherever that may be. We may not see adventure in the every day happenings of life, but when we look back we notice that the late night drives and the random sing songs in living rooms or on school buses were the adventures of our younger years. Some day we’ll look back and think of the times we spent wandering around town looking for something to do as all the adventure we needed for that one night.

But if you’re like me, you live in a constant state of wanderlust. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to see the world and go about in new places. I actually think it’s normal to have a desire to travel about, but I think if we live in a constant state of wanderlust we’re going to forget about where we are. Wanderlust allows us to dream of where life could take us but it can also distract us from enjoying where we are now.

I fall into the trap of desiring a new place and a new season so often, that I forget that I only get to be young, in my 20’s and at University spending time with my friends and going to classes on a beautiful campus once. Even if I end up taking classes at the U again, it won’t be the way it is now. I won’t be taking classes with my best friend or handing out otter pops on a hot summers day with Chi Alpha. The season will be different and I will not be the same person I am now.

Friend, we don’t get to be the person we are now ever again. We only get to live in the moment we’re in at this moment once because after this season, things will change. For better or for worse things will be different. So before we go off to far off places and before we have a ‘I blinked & times have changed’ moment, lets enjoy our friends and family. Lets enjoy the tediousness of the lives we lead. Lets find the joy in wandering about the city at night and going to parks alone. Let us enjoy moments of peace and quiet while we prepare for the brash and in your face ones. Friend I believe in the beauty of your life. I believe in the beauty of the adventures God has laid out for you and I believe in the beauty of enjoying where you are at this moment.

Enjoy it. Breathe it in. Live it. Love it.

Grateful Day 92

IMG_4128I have always been extremely blessed with a wonderful support system. My family supports me in every thing I do, and not just my parents and siblings, but my extended family as well. My cousin has told myself and my other cousins that we are lucky to have the support we have, not only from our parents, aunts and uncles, but from one another. My support system has always been something I am grateful for. When life gets stressful and when times get difficult I have people to turn to. They may not always understand, but they are comfort and they are support. When I have something to rejoice about, they are there to celebrate with me! Moving away from home I prayed for a support system away from home. I prayed for a family, and that is what I got.

Chi Alpha became my family away from home. They were the community that lifted me up in prayer during difficulties and they celebrated with me when I celebrated. Chi Alpha is the community I chose, and I love them all for the family they became to me. Coming from a family like mine, you learning that family is the most precious thing on this earth. I’m not blood related to the people I call family, but my parents relationships with my aunts and uncles make them family. They celebrate with one another and they lift one another in prayer. They fight for one another and they love one anther. I always had that type of support system, and I am glad that leaving home didn’t change that. I am glad I gained a family, because I honestly believe school and life would have been more difficult without my community! God knew that as well, and he so graciously blessed me with a community I can call family and a church I can call home. I’ve learned that God knows what we need and he is gracious and loving in providing us with what we need. He gives us the people we need and he provides what we need mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. He does it without condition. He does it simply because he loves us and he wants to. He’s a Father giving his children what they need, when they need it.

Grateful Day 90

IMG_4120“Don’t take yourself too seriously. Jesus meant life to be filled with joy.” – Jenn Johnson (Twitter 17 April 2014)

This! I mean, Jenn Johnson if you ever read this, I would like for you to know that this statement has made me happy!! Truly! Sometimes I get really caught up in living life and I get really caught up in serious moments that I forget to laugh! Which is no fun because I love love love to laugh! I’m like Buddy the Elf and laughing is my favourite!! Which is why when I forget to laugh I get a little sad inside, especially since Jesus means for life to be enjoyed!

Thursdays are a big day of meeting people for me. I have a prayer meeting in the morning, I meet with my best in the afternoon for one-on-one time and then at night I have a Women’s Bible Study for Chi Alpha and sometimes I get so caught up in the moment. Some days I get so caught up in the moment and sometimes I get too serious about a moment and I forget to laugh!! But when I finally remember to laugh, it’s like a breath of fresh air!!

I try my best to not take myself too seriously, but in the moments when I do, I remind myself that life is meant to be enjoyed!! Life is beautiful and life is good. Joy is meant to be felt and laughter heard! So here’s to feeling joy and hearing laughter!

Valentine’s Day (Grateful Day 39)

1836724_10100618853569558_1141964839_oFor the past three years the lovely men of Chi Alpha have hosted a Valentine’s Day dinner for the women and it is always such a great time. I love the guys in our community!! They are wonderful and they are such a great joy and blessing! I am so grateful for all the wonderful qualities they bring to our community and the friendship I have with them all!!

1622472_10100618800286338_292342007_o(Photo Taken By Robb Erickson)

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