Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Semester

I have tomorrow, a week that is sort of constituted as "dead week," and then FINALS WEEK! And then I am done with my first semester of college. No more being a first-semester freshman. No more SWAT, Freshman Orientation/Registration, having no idea what the HECK I'm doing...none of that! Obviously I am still a freshman-I still have to go to Freshman Chapel (YUCK) and park in freshman parking down the hill, and I still don't know a TON about DBU life and college in general...but I'm excited about it not being first semester anymore. I made it...I survived!

There were a lot of times in this semester when I felt like there was NO WAY I was going to make it through. Seriously. I told myself, there's no way you're going to make it through tonight, or this week, or next week, or when this test is, even while taking a test I didn't honestly believe I would make it through. HOWEVER, I serve a HUGE God, and He has sustained me, stretched my sleep, and been my Constant, my Strength, my Hope, and my Trust. I can rely on Him alone, and I am so very glad.

I wanted to simply reflect over this semester. It has been filled with extremely loud laughter, awesome people, late nights, good times, fun, new friendships, old friendships, drama, tears, meltdowns, stress, overwhelming feelings, and so many lessons learned inside the classroom and out. The good has outweighed the bad, but it was still pretty tough.

My brother has been in China since August 20th, and we are extremely close. He is one of my most very favorite people, and it has been harder than I ever would have expected. I expected to miss him at first, then grow so busy at school that I would forget that he was several THOUSAND miles away...but that's not how it worked out. Yes, I'm busy...yes, I have my own life...but it didn't stop me missing my Phillip. He gets home soon, and I survived-but it sure wasn't easy. So many times I had the urge to call him and get his advice, his perspective on my relationship issues as a male, help on homework, ideas to get me started on a paper, check in and see how HE was doing...but I couldn't. I've talked to him on the phone twice, which is such a blessing. I'm so glad he went and he's pursuing the things he's wanted to do all his life. In fact, him being away probably is preparing me for when he goes gallivanting around the world and when he gets married and all of that good stuff in his future.

I had a very strong support system at home. I only live thirty minutes away from DBU, but it was still a really difficult transition. I was in choir for six years and was very involved-all of the people in choir called me "Mama," because I was always the one with the band-aids, the extra pieces for our choir uniforms, the hugs, advice, whatever anybody needed. I would walk in the choir room and be greeted with loud choruses of "JOCEYYYY!!!" and "I love you sooooo much!!!" and "You're so pretty!" and "I love it when you sing. Sing me a song!" And all sorts of other wonderful and sweet bits of encouragement. I knew it would be hard to leave my choir family, but I sure wasn't prepared for it to be so drastically different. I then moved to a school where I knew one person-my cousin Shelby, who isn't even in my "grade," and then there was suddenly nobody knowing my heart, my passions, my dreams, my personality, my talents...anything. No more walking in a room and knowing at least one other person. No more loud exclamations of "You're pretty!" and "You're so good at singing!" That was one of the hardest parts about moving to college. I wasn't given so much affirmation.

It also was a hard transition because if you know me at all, you know I am a MAMA. I want to take care of everyone, be everything to everybody, do whatever I can to help people. I am studying sociology in hopes of becoming a family counselor, so that I can get paid to HELP PEOPLE, because it my most very favorite thing to do. It not only was hard to come to DBU because I didn't know anyone and didn't have anyone to help and nobody knew was hard because I had to leave behind all my "babies" at home. I did my best to keep up with them-that's pretty much all I did for the first four or five weeks. Check up on everyone, text them constantly, keep up with them...and right after I left seemed to be the time when everyone was having drama, which hurt me like someone was taking a cheese grater to my heart-that they were hurting and I couldn't help them. I prayed for a long time that God would give me people in Dallas to minister to, and let me tell you-He has answered that prayer a million times over! I've had four or five people tell me I'm a mom-figure. I have friends...I see people I know on campus now! It sounds so dumb, but it wasn't easy to make friends, not as easy as it was in high school.

Needless to say, one of the things I have learned is that people are people. I can't help every single person who needs it. I am not responsible for the well-being of everyone who lives at home. I help if they talk to me, come to me with struggles. But beyond that, it is not up to me to make sure they're alright. I do my best to keep up with them, but it is a two-way street...which is a hard lesson to learn, especially when I miss those people very much.

This has been a wonderful four months of my life. DBU is a godsend, a wonderful, amazing, perfect godsend. I am so thankful!!! I am looking forward to the next three and a half years (and years in the Master's program hopefully!). I can't wait to see what other people God puts in my path here and what other lessons I'm going to learn, the hard way or the easy way.

I love college :)

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