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 Days 131 & 132

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetToday I finished re-reading one of my favourite books. Truly one of my favourite YA books on my bookshelf. It’s called The Truth About Forever and I’ve read it 4 or 5 times. My favourite thing about this book is the fact that Sarah Dessen touches on the beauty of imperfections.

I wrote a blog post a while ago about flaws and after re-reading The Truth About Forever I’ve found more beauty in the fact that people are flawed and the fact that nobody can be perfect. I also love this book because it touches on the idea of forevers. One of my favourite quotes from this book says “Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. it’s like forever, always changing. for any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. you can never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count. what you have to decide is how you want your life to be. if your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you’d want to have spent it?” I realize that I’ve written a lot about making each moment count and such things, but in my life at this moment that’s what I’m trying to understand.

I like that in this book Sarah Dessen just flat out says that forever is subjective; it pertains to a certain person. I could think forever is waiting three days for something to arrive in the mail, while someone else could think one minute of waiting is forever. It’s all subjective. She says the fact that forever is subjective is its truth. In the book the main character Macy, is trying to understand what forever is to her and how she wants to live her life. Even at 21 I am trying to figure out how I want to live my life. How I want to remember this moment when I look back on it. I like the above quote about life so much because it’s true that depending on how you view life it’s either really short or really long. I don’t know how I view life in terms of length, but I do agree that it all depends on how you view it.

There have been moments when I have thought I have been living a long existence, and others when I think oh my goodness time has gone by so fast. I realize I’m only going to be 22 next week, but it’s crazy to think that in one week exactly I will be 22. I mean, holy cow!! I look back on my nearly 22 years of life and wonder where time has gone because it feels like it’s gone by so quickly and I think 22 years isn’t a long time. Then I really think about it and 22 is a long time. I know of many people who won’t be able to say they lived 22 years for one reason or another, and that’s when I realize that I’ve lived a long life. I may even know people who say they have lived a long life at 18, it just depends on how we live it; how we make the most of it.

I don’t know what life is going to look like tomorrow or the day after, but I do know that each moment is different. Each season and each second I grow up; I change. I will never be 21 again and I will never get to be an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona ever again. I am changing and I am growing. I am also living my life the way I want to remember it years down the road. I will always hold dear to my heart the late night conversations, the time I drove a friend all the way to her sisters house in Maricopa only to find out her flight didn’t leave for another two days. I won’t forget the Star Wars viewing parties, or the weddings of friends I attended and was in. I won’t forget the classes I’ve taken and the things I’ve learned as a student. These are the memories I will take with me in each season.

When I look back at my subjectively long life, it’s been good. It hurt at times and it was so wonderful in others. But it has been beautiful and it has been mine.

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 119

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetToday I watched my roommate, Nalani, graduate and my best friend, Ruth, graduate! It was so great to see them both graduate and to think of all the ways 4 years can change things. I’m so proud of how far these gals have come and I’m so excited for all the things they are going to do in their lives! I think this little quote from Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess perfectly describes the journey these two lovely ladies are now on. They are going to go places and grow so much and I truly cannot wait to see what their lives are like.

This quote just applies to every one!! We all have places to go and mountains to climb. We all have growing to do, no matter how old or young we are. We all have an adventure waiting for us, even if it isn’t doesn’t look exactly the way we think it should, our lives are an adventure and we have places to go and things to see! Also, if you have never read Oh, The Places You’ll Go  you really should. Even if you are an adult, it is inspiring and such a great book!!

So if you’re graduating from high school or college CONGRATULATIONS and I wish you the very best!!

All you non-graduates who read this, I hope your life is so wonderful and that you find the adventure in every day!!

Grateful Day 110 & 111

Grateful Days 110 & 111Eleanor Roosevelt once said “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. I love this! I believe this!! I actually write this as I sit in the library taking a break from studying for finals and writing a final paper. As I sit here I realize that thousands of dreams have made their home here. Hundreds of dreams were conceived in this library. Tons of people before me have dreamed dreams in this library and tons after me will add their dreams to the ones that have been dreamed up in the walls of this building.

I’ve added my fair share of dreams that have made their home here. Even as I sit here tonight I add dreams to the list of dreams this library has seen and holds. My dreams to one day change someone’s life have made their home on the bookshelves next to the section of the British Parliament. My dreams to see the world change in big  ways have found refuge next to the books on government policies. My dreams have made a home in the walls of this stone building I once despised. My dreams, along with the dreams of my fellow students have formed and shifted with each passing hour. I sit in this library with students who are studying for physics, law and math. I have come to this library with friends all so we could know our dreams are beautiful and worth believing in. I won’t lie and say I always knew my dreams were worth belief because honestly, there have been so many times when I’ve doubted the beauty of my dreams (cheesy I know, but it needed to be said haha).

I’ve wondered if the sleepless nights and the endless morning are going to be worth it. I’ve wondered if the pressure headaches from sitting funny and being stressed out are going to be worth the pain in the end. I’ve wondered if the tears I’ve cried because I’ve been so anxious are going to be worth falling. Even though I’m not quit at the end, I can taste it and I can see it and I can say that yes it will be worth it in the end. It’ll be worth it because I believe in my dreams. Not in an arrogant way, but because I have people who believe in them with me. These people have helped me see the beauty in the dreams I have and they have helped me see the beauty in the things I hope for. I have dreamed so big and so beyond myself that I also need to trust God and believe that he has my best at heart and he’ll be there for me every step of the way.

I believe my dreams will move with me. I believe they’ll grow with me and evolve as I make my way through life. I believe dreams are beautiful for this reason. They don’t grow comfortable in the safe haven of bookshelves and movie files. As we grow, our dreams pack their bags and move with us. They make their way in to our homes and in to our every day musings. Dreams are light packers and are ready to pick up and go when we are ready. They don’t stay the same, they grow and they give us something to strive towards! I believe dreams are beautiful and no matter how difficult the road is leading up to dreams becoming reality, it will be worth it!! Friend, whether you’re a struggling musician, a stressed out student or a professional dreamer, and you find yourself losing sight of the beauty of your wanderings, let me know and I’ll believe for you (and with you) because friend, I am in the business of believing in dreams- big and small.

Teacher Appreciation (Grateful Day 109)

IMG_4333According to the internet, and my teacher friend, today is Teacher Appreciation Day! In honour of this special day, I thought I’d share about my favourite professors of the semester! Throughout the course of my four years here at the U I haven’t had many professors who have been super influential in my life. I’ve had professors who are great and have taught me a lot, but this semester I’ve had two professors who impacted my life both academically and personally. One of my professors is actually not that much older than me and only a few years ago was in my position. She did her undergrad at the U, got her Masters at the U and just got accepted in to the Ph. D program at the U. She is one of those professors who gets it. She understood what we were going through with school and helped us understand so much about school and life in general. Before class we would all just talk to her before class and she was always real with us about what life is like after graduating with a Bachelors. She also told us so many times that we had the opportunity to change the way law and the government work. She also really believed in us and wanted us to succeed!! It’s funny because so many professors will say they want you to succeed, but it doesn’t always feel like that. Then a professor comes along and you truly believe what they are saying to you and you start to believe that success is attainable, and it is! I realize I’m 21 but I still like to know people believe in me and that there are people out there rooting for me! Another professor who made my semester much more enjoyable was my ethics professor. Today I walked out of his class for the last time and I was actually sad! This is the first time I’ve been sad about a class being over and it actually feels good because I know I enjoyed going to class! I didn’t think I would like the class very much because I had to actually ask permission to be in the class at the beginning of the semester, which is never fun. Then while talking to friends I realized I enjoyed  going to class because I learned about my own ethics and my own morals. Since I’m a thinker, I’d thought a lot beforehand about what I believe and the extent of what I believe and I’ve thought about the boundaries I’ve set for myself and this class just gave me a better understanding of what I stand for! He also taught me the importance of getting to know people’s names and getting to know a person as more than a face! These two professors have taught me so much and they have made this semester so much more enjoyable! I’m really sad to see this semester end because I’m going to miss going to these classes and talking to my professors and classmates. Even though I’m glad the semester is nearly over, I’m going to miss certain aspects of it! A professor or teacher of any sort can have such a real impact on the way we view education and life and these two professors reminded me why I enjoy school so much, and they gave me a new found passion for what I want to do with my life! I hope that soon you get to experience the joy of having great teachers and that you enjoy it every bit as much as I have!