at all times lately, I feel equal parts overworked, overemotional, overstimulated, and over it. on the other hand (but the hands don’t switch off. I feel both at all times), I feel under-qualified, under-adequate (I know that should say inadequate, but for the sake of literature), and under a big weight.
as I type across this page, sitting a kitchen table that is not mine in a house that is not mine and feeling like maybe this life is not totally mine, I am a mere 181 hours from taking a stroll across a stage to shake hands with a President and grab a diploma.
I have, for my whole life, known that college would come after high school. it was never a question or even a thought. I just knew that college is what I would do. and yet, I had no clue at all that college would do to me.
I couldn’t sum it up (believe me – I’ve tried). I couldn’t make it fit in only some words. I could talk about my undergrad all day and all night if you let me. but I did learn a thing or two.
community. college, without a doubt, taught me community and what it was designed to look like. I’ve seen community work, I’ve seen it really not work, I’ve seen it need lots of work. I’ve been in it, excluded from it, and I’ve created it. I’ve breathed it and I have, oh my goodness, loved it. perhaps this is my favorite memory of college – creating a tribe such as this one. I cannot imagine the day when this community ceases, I dread it more than anything.
discipline. I thought I was a good student until I came to college. but I learned that my definition of good was only good enough because I could pass high school without ever studying, mainly because it was a joke. college jerked me around a bit to say the least. I learned to wake up on a schedule, seek the Lord as I rise, open a textbook, read all the words, arrange time for friends, schedule time for naps and walks and enoing. I learned to make the most of each day. and while I am still a work in progress when it comes to this, I feel as if maybe just maybe I’m not wasting so many of my days.
grace. I could ramble here for hours and hours. I thought I knew grace before. but grace came to me like cinnamon roll church and tears pouring and “that’s not true” (in the best of ways – thanks for speaking life, Ashley). it came through difficult roommates and choosing to extend that which Christ extended. it came through a sweet hug and a “you know I’m praying for you.” I saw grace come to life in college. I cannot describe it, but I hope, someday, you feel it and know exactly what I mean.
declare. I learned this one from a friend. she would make me stand on the couch and shout things to the Lord. at first, it seemed so weird and rolled my eyes because I thought it was so stupid. but as I stepped down from the couch and back into the proverbial “real world”, I felt the power pumping in my veins. I could stand on the couch and say, “I say you are a good God and I eagerly expect Your goodness today” and then walk in that goodness. I learned to speak things into existence – not things that were untrue, but truths and promises and declarations about the Lord that were true, even when my heart didn’t believe them.
team. I was on a few teams during my undergrad – residence life ones, ministry ones, friend ones, “we have to pass biology” ones, sand volleyball on a Saturday night ones. in all of these, I got to be a part of a group that was working towards something. my kids will play sports – not for the skill of playing, but for the understanding of a team. I watched my teams rise together, fall together, hurt together, pray together, and stand back up together.
rallying. I was a cheerleader for 10ish years. I am the biggest fan of cheering someone on. but college showed me in a whole new way what it looked like to really cheer someone on. to rally together for the greater Good. to believe, so fiercely, that this is what the Lord has and to become hell-bent on bringing it to life. I had people rally for me and I rallied for people. and it is always worth my time.
worship. since I came to know the Lord, I have loved worship. I don’t sing well, but oh, I will sing a joyful song to the Lord. yet, college taught me worship in a really new way. I learned how to sing words that I didn’t feel, to believe in promises that I did not have fruit around me to believe in. I learned to speak life, into myself and into others.
party. I learned to celebrate in a way that I had never known I should. I celebrated birthdays and breakups. I celebrated job interviews and staff meetings. I learned to soak up every little thing because life would not be life without each of those things. I celebrated the big and the small – it made all the difference.
treat. I cannot tell you the number of times where I thought, “you know what? that was a really hard thing, but I/we made it through it. we deserve a treat.” some of those treats were a bit of a stretch (“I failed that test, I need a treat”, “I made it through the day without a nap, I deserve a treat”), but regardless, I learned to reward myself for being a person. that might sound silly, but try it and I don’t think you’ll have regrets. sometimes you need to pat yourself on the back.
try. I was such a wimp in high school. I tried nothing. since coming to college, I’ve tried sushi, running, mission work, graphic design, roommates, calligraphy, wine, meeting people, and so much more. the Lord has stretched me in a lot of hard ways, but I have also been able to witness just how incredible the world we live in is because I was forced to try some things.
love. surely this is the best one. I learned how to love my body, my quirks, my awkwardness. I learned to love the way others dance, dream, and play. I learned to love learning and communication. I learned to love strangers and worship leaders and kids. I learned to love freshmen and ice cream in the caf and the booths in Java. I fell in love, everyday, ten times over. I have loved these four years.
I am certain that if I revisited this list in a year, I would consider different aspects to be the most valuable pieces of college. but nonetheless, these years have been sweet. I have seen life and life abundantly; I didn’t know life could be so good. thanks, AU.