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Senior Year Recap
May 9, 2018
Man. I graduated from college.
People kept telling me it would go by quickly...and let me tell you something.
But it also did.
It's a weird paradox...but it's true.
There were times it felt like I would NEVER finish...especially this last semester. But, there were also times I was begging God to slow down time because everything was happening too quickly.
College is weird.
But I loved it.
I genuinely loved being at college and learning and meeting lots of fun people.
But college was also hard. It was mentally, physically, and emotionally draining at times. There were days I sobbed because I didn't feel like I did well enough or that I was meant to be in college. There were definitely days I doubted my abilities and even wondered why I was pursuing my degree.
But it was worth it.
Senior year was similar to my other three years of undergrad--amazing, challenging, and full of growth.
It was different than the past three years in several aspects, though...for one...I'M MARRIED.
We started our life together in a two bedroom apartment on campus. It's a sanctuary--restful, quiet, and safe. Compared to my past three years, I felt more comfortable living on campus--not as anxious...I felt at home.
This was also the year of breaking down several fears.
I became even more confident in my body and have begun to throw away a lot of my fears of food.
Like ice cream, pizza, and bread.
Honestly, being married has helped so much in my struggles with food/exercise. YESS.
This year I faced one of my biggest fears in college--my senior recital.
DUN DUN DUNNNNN
I actually felt SO at peace with the performance...and I think it was partly because I went into the recital knowing what I was playing was ultimately to glorify God. He has given my my abilities and it would be selfish of me not to share them with others. I prayed A TON about it and just wanted those that attended to go away feeling rested and joyful.
Also, my dress had pockets and was blue, so it was basically perfect.
Seriously. Taking a Sabbath is a game-changer in college. Yes...it is hard, but it is SO worth it. God gave us this gift of rest...take it!
I realized that grades are simply an indication of how one spends their time.
Grades are NOT an indicator of how smart or how dumb you are.
Grades are NOT a means of determining your worth.
Grades are NOT the end-all-be-all of your college career.
If I decide to prioritize time with friends over a test, that is MY decision. If I don't have time to study because my family or friends need me, it is my decision to place them over studying. If I just decide I need some mental space and it would be unhealthy for me to study more...it's my decision to take a break.
I realized that if I went into a test with this mindset when it comes to grades, I was less stressed--especially if I felt I had used my time wisely and to the best of my ability.
It's so freeing to know a letter grade does not determine my value.
I realized I'd much rather spend my time with others than getting an A+ in my classes.
People are eternal, grades are forgotten.
Alright, so as many of you know (if you've read my blog for the past four or so years) you know I usually do a Q&A in my recap posts...this year is a bit different as I didn't get a whole lot of questions, but I will answer the one question I did receive.
Looking back, what was the best year of college, and which was the hardest?
The best year of college was probably my junior year...mostly because I loved all my classes and I developed some really great relationships!
The hardest year of college is a tie between freshman and senior year for different reasons. Freshman year was tough because I didn't have a lot of community on campus and I just didn't know what I was doing. I also questioned myself a lot. My senior year (ESPECIALLY THE SECOND SEMESTER OH MY WORD) was tough because I could see the end...and I wanted it. It was also just more difficult academically. I probably had about three sobfests this past semester alone...luckily, Andrew is the best and held me.
What are your plans after college?
Andrew and I are moving closer to my parents!! YAY. Andrew has a two year residency at a local church and will be in that position for two years. I will be teaching private piano lessons and doing other part-time work. (:
What are some things about college in general that were different than your perception of how it would be?
As someone who was homeschooled almost her entire life, I didn't know what to expect when I came to college. I was honestly most worried about being able to take notes well. My perception was that I wouldn't write down the right stuff or the professor would go so quickly through the slides that I wouldn't be able to write down what I wanted to. With the exception of a couple professors, that is NOT the case. Professors SHOULD want you to learn and you can always ask them questions after class if you didn't understand something. Another misconception I had was that to be successful I needed to have lots of friends. It always seemed like I saw people on Instagram or Facebook hanging out with new groups of people every week and I was scared because I'm not a huge friend group person. I like my small group of friends (like...two or three) and I'm set. I was worried people would label me as a loner or not fun because I didn't have a lot of people to hang out with. TOTALLY NOT TRUE. If you get out of college with one, two or even three life-long friends count yourself BLESSED. To all you introverts, you DO NOT need to have large groups of friends to be successful or a loved person. If you're one of those people that can keep track of lots of friends that is amazing! Just do you!
Is there anything about college that you would do differently given the chance?
I would have double majored or at least minored in something else besides music. I love music, but I also have other passions and interests. I probably would have majored or minored in something health/fitness related because I love it.
What is something (or things) you wish you would have learned or learned how to do in college that are helpful post-grad? (Or even things you did learn that you think everyone should learn before they graduate!)
Several things I wish I would have learned in college was budgeting or even what it would look like realistically to pay off loans/debt. I know IWU offers a finance class, but it is not required for every major. I kinda wish it was required...especially now that Andrew and I are having to figure financial things out. One thing that I did in college was make a resume...best thing ever. Even if you plan on being a stay-at-home mom or dad or plan on being self-employed I think it's important to at least know how to build a resume. Call me weird but it was fun to build one!
Another thing I learned in college was how to make friends. I honestly could not remember the last time I made a serious friend when I came to college. It was a little scary trying to navigate those waters again. I know there isn't a class for building friendships, but I do think it is important to try and relearn (if you need to) how to get along and grow relationships with others. That is something I think is SO important for every college student to learn.
What was one of the most unexpected/weirdest/hardest adjustment you had to make in the way you "do college" after you got married?
A couple adjustments I had to make this past year were: checking in with Andrew about everything, moving to an apartment, and shifting priorities. I had to make a mental shift from "me" to "we". When I decide to do something, I need to check in with Andrew....even if I know what he will say. There is CONSTANT communication between the two of us--we fill each other in on all we are doing throughout the day. That was totally different than years past. Before this year, no one really knew what the heck I was up to all day. Moving into an apartment with Andrew was also an adjustment because the space was so much bigger than a dorm! I kept on reminding myself that this space was more permanent than a dorm and was our own space! SO FUN! I think the hardest adjustment for me personally was shifting priorities. Before I got married, my top priority was family, then friends, then school. When I got married things shuffled around a bit and the order became, Andrew, family, friends, school. School all of a sudden was lower on the priority list and that was a little difficult...primarily because I am type A (yayyy), a recovering perfectionist, and I tend to place my value on how well or how poorly I do...I also care about what others think about me. Soo..when I began to realize school just wasn't that high on my priority list I realized a lot of my type A, perfectionistic, and need for affirmation had to go. I had to LET STUFF GO. AH. You all should be proud of me...I purposefully didn't turn in an assignment this semester...for the first time EVER...because I didn't have time to complete it...and I didn't feel bad about it. That's a win in my book.
I thought it was be appropriate to also include a section with advice from other upperclassmen/college graduates to freshman.
"There are always people who love you, and a Father who always has your back (even when you should be facing him with your front). Sometimes we lose track of those people that keep reminding us of the joy and excitement of each new day; there are people who make each day a blessing, and people who make each day a curse. So identify that family as soon as you can, cherish them, and keep them close."--Matthew Medley.
"NO NOT LOSE YOUR SYLLABUS." --Caroline Farrar
"Make sure you balance school and fun. Yes, it's important to go to class and do your best to get good grades, but you're only in college once! Don't miss out on late-night Steak and Shake hand outs or campus golf games. Those are the things you'll remember most!"--Alyssa Benson
Thank you to all of you who have followed along with my life these past four years. Your encouragement, love, and support means the world to me!