That’s where I am my college career. 13.1, June, six slices of the pie—You can look at it however you’d like. I’m looking at it in wonder. In disbelief. With pride, for sure. With a couple of slightly misty eyes and a gallon-sized bucket of hope and excitement for what’s to come. And honestly, I just can’t really believe it. I mean, look at her—that was day one, with her mama.
The past two years have been nothing I was ever bright enough to dream up on my own. They put my hopes to shame. They taught me all about what means to trust and to laugh and to love and to believe. (Those are a bunch of cheesy words that belong on a decorative wall hanging, and still, I can’t take it back because it’s true!) They’ve taught me how to step up and be myself—a friend, a scholar, a writer. Most importantly, a give-it-all-I’ve-got Christ-follower.
And with all of the joy and love and peace and hope, all of the laughing and giggling and chuckling and chortling and the late night talking and eating and cooking and game-playing and movie-watching, the early-morning yoga and running and working and shuffling to class and driving somewhere wonderful, the mid-afternoon coffee dates and football games and quad-sitting and library-hanging-out and napping, amidst all of that—there was pain. There was struggling and wrestling and anxiety. But then, there was growth. And it was all beautiful. Well, alright…some of it was ugly. But that’s life, right?
The most shocking part about it is how well my memory serves me. When I stop to think about the past two years, the memories flash as if I’m paging a flip book: there are the constants, the back-thens, the just-recentlys. And still, all I have to do is stop and suddenly, I’m there on that first day. I’m hanging clothes up in my dorm room, I’m arranging pictures of the people I had kissed good-bye, I’m praying 4:00— my parents’ departure time— would come faster and never arrive all the same. My hands are shaking as I dress to go to the first Coca-Cola First Generation Scholar meeting. I’m sweating because of the August 9 sun and August 9 nerves. I’m crying because I’m watching my world drive away and they left me here. I’m sucking it up. I’m introducing myself again and again and again. I’m making memories and friends and I don’t even know it. I’m there in an instant. That first night, that first week, that first semester—it all comes back so easily.
But then I’m here. I’m different and I’m the same. I’ve learned and relearned and unlearned. I’m proud and humble. It’s been so much— it’s gone so fast. I can believe it. I can’t. See what I mean? It’s hard.
I thought it was going to be difficult to show you who I’ve become then, but I know now that it’s not at all. It’s all here—read for yourself. You’re only a click away.
It’s been so much. It’s been everything. It’s been perfect. I can’t imagine that there could be more in store—but then again, I never imagined any of this, did I?