I Am Thankful For Heartbreak and Failure

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I have seen so many “I am thankful for _______” posts in the past month that it got me thinking: What would I put on such a list?  Of course the normal things came up: my family, friends, health, home, safety, freedom, love, Jesus, faith, the World Race, America, clean shaven men, hand-holding, soft rainstorms, mountaintops, laughter, joy, hugs, kisses, smiles, frozen Greek yogurt, technology, fuzzy blankets, cold weather, bonfires, music, snuggles, accents, books, education, ASU, random acts of kindness, God-following men, letters via snail mail, and the list goes on and on.

Then, I got to really thinking and decided I was missing two important things: heartbreak and failure.  Yes, at first I argued with myself.  “Heartbreak?  Failure?  Those aren’t so pleasant.  Why should I be thankful for them?  I usually try to avoid them.  It makes no sense at all to be thankful for having had a broken heart or having failed.”  Oh, but it does!

You see, we are all naturally inclined to be thankful for the pleasant things, the things we want more of and hope to never be deprived of.  I am among the world’s worst at simply trying to avoid unpleasant or uncomfortable things/situations/people.  Someone breaks my heart?  That’s fine, I’ll just move on and try to pretend it never happened.  You know, avoid those memories like the plague.  That’s totally acceptable, right?   Unfortunately, no.

I believe a part of growing up is accepting that life is not always a series of pleasant, enjoyable moments that come together perfectly as long as you “do things right.”  Things are going to happen.  Despite perfectly executing that “next step” agenda that we are taught to strive for (college, career, marriage, kids, etc.), there will be unpleasant moments.  There will be broken hearts.  There will be failed attempts, plans, ideas, and relationships.  That’s part of the process, and really, it’s one of the best parts if you think about it.

I happen to love the metaphor that places God as an artist and we, as people, are His masterpieces.  Instead of thinking of us as paintings or sculptures, I like to think of each of us as mosaics.  Each tiny piece has been broken off from somewhere, rearranged, fitted into the whole, and is an integral part of the big picture.  Each time your heart has been broken, whether by a friend, a partner, a family member, boss, or even a stranger, those pieces are scooped up, rearranged, put back onto the canvas, and fitted into making the big picture beautiful.  Same thing goes with every failure.  Every failed test, failed relationship, failed plan, failed job, failed idea – it’s all used into making your big picture beautiful.

A song out right now by Casting Crowns that I have grown quite fond of states:

One day I’ll stand before You

And look back on the life I’ve lived

I can’t wait to enjoy the view

And see how all the pieces fit.

On that day, I do believe I will be seeing the most beautiful picture of my life – my life’s very own mosaic masterpiece crafted by God Himself.  Each heart break, each failure – it’s all working together along with all of the joy, the love, the excitement, the adventure, the pleasantness of this life.

So, nestled on my list of things to be thankful for you can find “heartbreak” and “failure” somewhere amongst the others, probably hanging out somewhere between “traveling” and “men wearing ties.”

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Why God’s Calling Is Greater Than My Plans

The day that my whole life changed...

The day that my whole life changed…

It is an honor to be accepted into a good law school.
It is an even bigger honor to be given a scholarship to law school.
I have been honored, but more so blessed.

I finished 1L Orientation week last Friday, which means a week spent at the law school 9am-4(ish) being “broken in.”  Mock classes, real classes (just Legal Research and Writing), lots of networking, case briefing, listening to speaker after speaker, being given a ton of new things (mailbox, locker, passcodes for material, class lists, etc.), and anything else you can imagine to go along with an orientation for law school.  It was a good week, sort-of like “law camp.”

I learned that law school isn’t as scary as people try to make it sound, or at least it doesn’t seem like it.  I found that going through orientation I am even more confident that I could succeed in law school.  (Please don’t mistake this confidence for arrogance.)  I learned that as pretentious as a lot of law students are, there are still the good ones in every class.  I think I found those “good ones”, too.  I now can say without a shadow of a doubt that I know I am capable to get through law school, and probably even enjoy almost all of it.

To all of the beautiful friends I made in that one week: I barely know you but I know you have a BIG future to walk into.  Each one of you is going to go on to do great things, either as a lawyer or as something else.  You hold a place in my heart and I will be praying for you all as you go through this law school journey.  You have a good community in the U of A Law School Class of 2016 – take care of one another (especially of my dear friend and roommate, “T”).  Friendships are never by chance, so know that God above put each of you in one another’s path for a reason.

I asked my Heavenly Father to let my law applications find favor.  He did.  I asked Him to provide – He did.  But then I asked for something else:  I asked for Him to give me complete and total surrender to Him and His plans for me.  I asked Him for direction.  I asked Him to use me right now where He knew I could shine brightest for Him.

It’s true what they say:  “Don’t ask for something if you don’t want it.”

I wanted God to give me what I asked for: a surrendered life, obedience, direction, guidance, which all comes down to: a calling, His calling for me.  Right now.  In this moment at this exact second in life.  Every single day.  Every minute.  Every moment.  That’s what I wanted and that’s what I continue to ask for.

The thing is, after I started asking God for that which is listed above and truly meaning it, something changed.  My carefully laid out plans didn’t seem quite as significant as they once had.  In fact, I couldn’t help but think there was something BIGGER planned for me, if only I let Him do the planning.

That’s when I realized:  law school isn’t the biggest plan for my life right now.  Read those last two words again.  Right now.  I have no doubt that God gave me a passion and capabilities for the law.  I have no doubt that God set everything up for me from my inquisitive nature and natural inclination to persuade to placing me in undergraduate classes that taught me basic skills needed for law school success like how to read court cases and brief them (thank-you, Dr. Hacker).  I sincerely do not doubt that at some point in my life I will go to law school and become a lawyer.

However, the question is when.  I have been struggling for weeks with the decision to go ahead and attend law school or not.  It’s hard when you have an amazing opportunity and confidence in yourself to fulfill the responsibilities therein, but yet you don’t feel at peace with going through with it.  It’s hard to willingly exile myself from this community of beautiful, big-hearted, wonderful people I just barely became a part of.  It’s hard to leave something I enjoy and am capable of doing.  But guess what?

Faith is hard.

If I truly have the trust and faith in my God that I claim to have, I will trust in His plans for me and confidently hand over my own.  Yes, I have a lease that I signed for a year in Fayetteville that I either have to pay or get someone to take over (if you or someone you know is interested in an awesome apartment, let me know — please!).  Yes, I have no job lined up, especially here.  Yes, my savings are getting smaller and smaller since I haven’t been employed since May.   Yes, it’s scary to give up your careful and well-made plans for uncertainty.  But that’s what faith is.  I can’t see the future, but I have faith in God to provide for me to follow the path He has laid out for me.  I don’t know what is going to come my way, but I trust that God does and I have faith He will carry me through it.

Now, let’s talk about what faith does.  Faith moves mountains.  Faith heals the sick.  Faith overcomes death.  Faith makes change.  That’s who I want to be:  a world changer, with the most literal definition possible.

I wear a ring every day that says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Pretty simple, right?  The change I wish to see is people treating one another with love and respect and genuine care for their neighbor.  I wish for people to look for justice in the right places and lavish mercy on one another.  I wish for people to know that there are second chances.  I wish for people to know that it doesn’t matter what you “can” do – it matters what you are called to do.  I wish for people to know that there is a mighty God who loves them more than anyone or anything ever can.  I wish for each person to know that they are important.  I wish for people to know how precious each one of them is, a preciousness that is not contingent upon their past, what they have or have not done.  If I embody those wishes every day and spread that to the lives I meet, I think the world would change – at least for some people.

I’ve been thinking long and hard for months now about this thing called the World Race.  Some of you, if you know me well, know about The World Race.  I mentioned it several times between last winter (or late fall) and now.  For those of you not acquainted with The World Race, it is a mission trip in which you go to 11 countries in 11 months spreading the love of Jesus.  This can be seen in a lot of different ways – prison ministry, helping build or rebuild homes/churches/schools, playing with kids who often feel unimportant and unloved, caring for and helping widows, teaching English, etc.  It’s an all-together amazing ministry.  If you have time and would like to, check out the website:  www.worldrace.org

I know that following God’s plans for our lives and living like He wants us to is not always found in mission trips.  I know that ministry is found everywhere:  in an orphanage in Romania, at a church in Turkey, in the slums in Thailand, or even somewhere like the classroom of a law school.  There are no parameters to where you can minister to people in action.  I mean, we see from the Bible that Paul even made prison a place of ministry.  I want you to be clear that I’m not saying that I could not spread the love of God in law school or that doing so there is less of a ministry than on the World Race or any other mission trip.  It’s not.

But, and that word is such a “changer” in and of itself, I believe God calls us to our ministry wherever it is and it’s high time I start listening to that calling.  To illustrate, there is a fantastic woman that I worked for all through college named Linda.  She not only became like a second mom to me, but she was (and still is) a spiritual rock for me.  I have no doubt she is for others as well.  Linda isn’t a preacher.  She isn’t in some forgotten, impoverished community sitting down with people who never heard of a man named Jesus and telling them the Gospel for the first time.  Linda works on a college campus at a science research facility.  She lives the Gospel everyday by loving those she works with, works for, and those who work for her (like me).  She prays diligently for those that intersect her life.  Her calling is there.  She knows that.  She lives that.  And trust me when I say, it’s a beautiful thing to see and be a part of.  (Thank-you, Linda!)

I want to be like that.  I want to live according to my calling.  I want to be able to act with love and patience daily to those I encounter.  I want to feel the divine calling of God with each person He places in my life and each step I take, whoever and wherever that is.  For me, I think my calling is the World Race.  Right now – not five years from now.

Now, the World Race is a process:  you have to apply and be accepted into a Route.  Then, you have to be properly vaccinated, get a passport if one is not already had, acquire the necessary gear, and the big thing – come up with the funds.  The World Race is not free.  The monetary cost is  $15,500, without figuring in travel insurance or any “spending money” during those 11 months for things like shampoo, soap, socks when what you bring wear out, and other things.  That’s a lot of money for a just-graduated-college twenty-two year old like me.  The government will give you loans to go to law school, but not to fund an 11 month mission trip.

So here we are:  I have withdrawn from law school to pursue my calling to go on the World Race.  I have no job (I’ve applied places, I promise), I live 4+ hours away from my family and all the people who love me, and I am stuck with this lease until July 31, 2014.   I want to leave on a World Race route in this upcoming year – 2014.  I’m going to try to be that change I wish for in 12 countries – starting with this beautiful place I call home, the United States of America.  But until I embark on the World Race, you will find me not in law school.

Ending note:  I sincerely apologize to all of you who may feel disappointed in my choice.  To every classmate, friend, family member, and past professor – I can only hope that you can support my calling as you have my plans that I had made for myself.  I can only pray that each of you who may feel some sense of betrayal (trust me, I almost feel like I’m betraying myself) can realize that God has bigger plans for me than either you or I could dream up – and I want those bigger plans.  Also, don’t give up on me being a member of the law community.  Just because I am not starting my law career (which begins as a 1L, per the words of orientation speakers) this year does NOT mean I won’t in a future year.  I hope as much as many of you do that my future will include law school.  If any of you want to hear a more detailed account of things, just let me know and we can discuss it all.  For all of you who have been generously supportive of law school, thank-you.  It means a lot to have so many people believe in you.  Truly, it does.

There will be more to come…

This Person: Advice to Myself

Don't stand at the horizon and look back -- look forward.

Don’t stand at the horizon and look back — look forward.

There’s comes a time when you realize you aren’t sure what happened to your old habits, old characteristics — and you miss them.  The good ones, anyway.
You miss…YOU.

I used to think everyone was inherently good.  I used to never tell secrets because I grew up realizing that people are never as trustworthy was you want them to be.  I used to want to help people no matter if they were rude to me, nice to me, or seemingly worthless individuals.  I used to guard my heart so well that I could never get broken — but that came with a price.  I used to say what I thought because I had innocent, naïve, loving thoughts.  I used to welcome anyone and everyone as a new friend.  I used to go after whatever I loved, whether I was good at it or not.  I used to chase joy instead of reputation.

When did I become someone who forgot these things?  Someone who lives differently, and loves selectively.
I’ve become vulnerable, but for the wrong reasons and to the wrong people.  I forgot how much I know that trusting someone wholeheartedly is a great risk, reserved only for ones I know are worth the risk.  I became someone who doesn’t always use words kindly.  I have become a person who is no longer all inclusive to others; someone who runs from others as soon as they offend or hurt me.  I’ve become someone who chases a “good reputation” and lives in fear of doing anything that might “look bad,” rather than chasing joy and delighting in my freedom.

My advice to myself?
Love inclusively.
Trust carefully.
Search for the good in someone until you find it.
Forgive always.
Help whenever you see a need.
Use your words kindly.
Never fear.
Chase after joy.
Be bold enough to embrace failure.
Be true to God.
Dream big.  And bigger.
Be free.
Pray harder.
Never give up hope.

The truth is, sometimes I just don’t know what kind of person I’m becoming.  The person my parents are proud of?  The person my friends are entertained by?  The person chasing after success?  The person afraid of truly going after her dreams?  The person who looks good on paper?  Or the person doing all she can to become who she wants to be — not who her world and the people in it are trying to make her into?
For now, I’m going to take my own advice and see what happens.  After all, the one person you know you can trust is yourself.

My Red Wolf Experience: Howling ‘Til I Die

Oh, so I graduated earlier this month.   College days?  Officially in my past.
Whoooooa!   Suddenly, I’m feeling a lot older than 22 should feel.
Oh, but I just wanted to take a moment and tell you about my university experience…

In August 2009, I moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas to live in the Honors Living and Learning Community dorms on the campus of Arkansas State University.  It was the first time I lived upstairs, the first time I shared a bathroom with people I didn’t know, and the first time I shared a bedroom with someone.  As I look back, I can only be thankful that I was placed in the HLLC.  It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by both upperclassmen and fellow freshmen who were Honors students and enjoyed a healthy blend of fun and studying just as much as I did.

Freshman year was the year I met more people than I can remember fully.  Everyone and everything was new.  ASU did a great job of providing ample opportunities to enjoy the college experience.  I went to more sporting events I would’ve ever imagined enjoying.  I fell in love with the constant sense of having somewhere to be and someone to meet — all the time.

Jana, me, and Anna at a football game.

Jana, me, and Anna at a football game.

It was that Fall of 2009 that I met my “Freshman Family Group” at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) and got really close, really connected to a small group of people.  As the years wore on, I only stayed close to a few of them, but oh what a blessing they are!  Anna and Jana — truly my college “sisters.”  Two beautiful, God-fearing, intelligent ladies who will change this world with their passion to love and help others.

Tom and I at my graduation.

Tom and I at my graduation.

It was that Fall of 2009 that I also met my Tom.  Truth be told, I never thought we’d become good friends.  He was more country and wild than I could ever even think about pretending to be.  Funny thing happened, though:   He became my best friend.  This upperclassman who lived down the hall from me with his blue eyes and Southern drawl, his big heart and affection for rowdiness became the truest friend I never knew I would have throughout the following 4 years.
It’s a funny thing who ends up being in your life and who ends up being a part of it.

CBC Bible Study group!

CBC Bible Study group!

Fall of 2009 was also when I started going to Central Baptist Church.  I went the first Sunday after I moved into my dorm room and consistently attended (shifting to the CBC Journey Campus eventually) all 4 years of college.  That church showed me what it’s like to fall in love with being a part of a church family.  Central grew my relationship with God more than I can aptly thank them for.  I encourage any and all persons who live in or around Jonesboro to get connected there if they are looking for a church home to grow in.  Those people are fueled by a love for God and His Will.  They will grab you by the hand and lift your heart up closer to God.  They will teach you His Word and equip you do teach others.  They will love you and give you the opportunity to show His love on others.  They will help change your life.

Fall of 2010 I had  changed my major at least three times until I found the one I stuck with: Economics with a Pre-law Emphasis.   I found a passion in law, and business isn’t bad either.  I found a professor who both loves the Lord and his students.  He just wants people to learn, and enjoy learning.  Dr. Lewis is the most fantastic professor I have ever had.  I would, actually, call him more of a mentor (if I ever had one).  I took Legal Environment of Business, Employment Law, and Criminal Law and the Constitution with him and never regretted a single class.  A good professor and interesting topics are all you need to enjoy learning.  Trust me.

Fall of 2010 I became part of a rather interesting group of friends.  Although I loved them (who am I kidding, I still love them despite everything), I will say:  we were probably the most dysfunctional group of “friends” that I have ever been a part of.  There were so many fights, awkward spats, crossed feelings; however, there was so many laughs, so many adventures, funny text messages, sweet celebrations, support, and despite everything — just so much love.  I’m not going to call them out by name, but if they read this:  just know, I still love you all.  Our group is in no way still together and we all barely and rarely speak, but I can still remember you by the smiles and good memories.  I don’t have time or the motivation to choose to remember the rest.

Arielle, me, and Sam -- Jr. Year Roomies.

Arielle, me, and Sam — Jr. Year Roomies.

Fall of 2011 came and I moved out of the HLLC and into the best apartments on campus: Red Wolf Den.  Our 3 bedroom-1 bathroom apartment consisted of myself, Arielle, and Sam.  I must say, that was probably the best living arrangement I ever had.  Arielle and I were best friends, so we had virtually the same schedule.  It’s just fun to live with your best friend in the room right next door.  Sam had been my suitemate the year before and she’s the perfect person to share a living space with: clean, quiet, easy to talk to, creative, and cooperative.  We were all very different in personality, but we were all friends and got along wonderfully.

Fall of 2011 – Spring of 2012 showed me a lot.  I saw a lot of heartbreak (not my own).  I saw betrayal.  I was lied to by some of the people I loved most.  I was pushed to some academic limits, which turns out were imaginary limits.  I figured out who was going to be forever friends vs. college friends — well, at least I thought I had.  That still changed the next year and probably is still changing.  I went to at least one of every athletic event (excluding bowling and track), including golf.

Our Economics Family: Dylan, myself, and TW.

Our Economics Family: Dylan, myself, and TW.

Fall of 2011 was when I really found my economics “family.”   We’re an odd family, two boys and a girl, but we work.  Dylan and TW and I ended up becoming great friends, both in and outside the classroom.  We had nearly every class together, ate lunch together every day, and I knew I could depend on them when I needed to.  I love those two men.  They are both wonderfully smart with big hearts and infectious smiles.  Seriously, if they can make me understand economics and cause me to smile within the same 10 minutes, you can be sure that they’re something special.  And now we are all headed to law school — go figure.  🙂

TW and I

TW and I

TW gets an extra mention for simply putting up with me for the past two years, constantly.  (Though I will say, he gets rather shady in the summers — *cough*cough*)  That man can make bad days better and better days good.  He’s undoubtedly one of the smartest people I have had the joy of knowing.  Something extra unique about him:  He’s humble.  Most smart people are not humble.  If you can’t think of anyone fitting that bill, just ask.  I can name plenty.   But TW, he’s mastered the art of humility.  I attribute that to his big heart.  He’s a true Southern gentleman who would do anything for anyone who asks.  He’s one of my best friends, no doubt about that.  I can’t imagine a world without TW.

Me and Jana: College Sisters

Me and Jana: College Sisters

Fall of 2012 – Spring of 2013:  Senior year.  I got to live with one of my college sisters, Jana!  However, we also lived with another girl who neither of us knew.  It was a bit odd sharing an apartment with someone you never really got to know well, but it was okay.  Jana was a joy to share an apartment with.  Did I mention she was wedding planning all year for her wedding this week?  It was so fun getting to hear all the wedding buzz and see her excitement as things continually fell into place for her and Tyler!  She’s definitely taken care of by the mighty hands of the Lord, whom I know hand-picked Tyler for her.  They are perfect examples of love in young adults.  I cannot aptly express the joy I have that those two will soon be saying “I do” to futures together.  They deserve it. 🙂

Friendship With Bear

Friendship With Bear

Okay, so back to Fall of 2012:  my prior best friend joined a sorority and our lives quickly went in different directions.  I went from being used to seeing her all the time to barely getting an hour of hangout time in a week.  I’m not saying that was her fault and I’m not saying it was my fault.  It’s the way life goes.  Anyway, the person who stepped up to fill her absence was Bear.  Now if you know me, you probably also know Bear.  From August to November we were usually together, either eating somewhere in Jonesboro, watching movies, going to football games, going to the fair, the park, church, etc.  I wouldn’t trade those 4 months for anything, despite the fact that he sort-of broke my heart a bit when he decided that once he had a girlfriend, I was no longer needed in his life.  Let me just clarify:  we were always ONLY friends.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But we were good friends, maybe even the best of — for a while.  But when he started dating someone I didn’t necessarily approve of (let’s face it, we’re more protective of the people we love) and I refused to give my blessing, he decided that she was more important to him than I was.  For all of the heartbreak that caused, I can now consider it a blessing.  I ran faster to God than I can remember running and hid there for a long time.  For all the tears God dried from eyes and all the questions He answered for me, there is no way I can deny how much of a growing period that was for me.  It may have took me a while, but I still wish Bear only the best in life.  He has the potential to be someone great, truly great.  I pray he lives out life to his full potential.  If he does, there is simply no limit to what he can do.

So when Bear left my life (visiting once in a while, but basically gone), I went a little people-shy.  It’s hard to want to trust someone again when you’re trust has been abused.  BUT, I love people way too much and college just isn’t any fun without people.  Plus, I just so happened to have wonderful people in my life who wouldn’t let me be less than my usual self, despite whatever the circumstances seemed to be.

Tom and I -- Always Smiling

Tom and I — Always Smiling

Tom, without knowing it, picked up those heartbroken pieces.  I can’t have an adventure with him without loving life.  I just can’t.  I can’t watch Tosh.0 with him and not find my laughter again.  I just can’t.  And I can’t be sad around him — he calls me out and makes me tell him what’s up, then makes it better.  Again I say, he’s my best friend.

December – January was full of holidays, applying to law schools, and birthday celebrations.  I will say, the ASU Pre-law advisors are always ready to help with law school applications, in addition to Dr. Lewis and Dr. Robertson from the College of Business.  We have enough J.D. recipients at ASU to merit an easier law school application process.  It’s not as scary when people tell you what to expect and how you should approach things.

February through April was just surviving the rest of classes to maintain my GPA (with all A’s, of course), enjoying my last weeks with my Journey Group girls (Bible Study), and trying to do all of the rest of my “lasts” at ASU — like, last ASU basketball game as a student, last TNT at BCM, last Pre-law meeting, etc.  To be honest, it was a bit sad.  Realizing you only have a few months left in your home of the past 4 years will cause a little sadness.  On the same token, those few months were full of a lot of thanksgiving.  I was blessed beyond measure at ASU.  I had a lot of praise to give God, and a lot of thanks to give my people blessings.

Senior Honors Banquet at ASU

Senior Honors Banquet at ASU

Early May put everything into perspective.  First week of May I completed my last Finals of undergrad at ASU.  I finished my degree.  I said goodbye to the very people who had captured pieces of my heart since August 2009.  I packed up my apartment and moved stuff over an hour away.  I said goodbye to my Journey Group, a group of ladies whose hearts for the Lord had taught my own so much over the past year.  I planned the last birthday dinner for Tom in Arkansas (he moves to FL for dental school this summer).  It was terribly sad for me.  It forced me to realize that he’s really moving, and so am I.  I still haven’t quite digested that fact.  One of the hardest things in May?  Leaving my job and my work family.

Only Part of My Work Family

Only Part of My Work Family

Yes, I said work FAMILY.  That’s exactly what we were, a family.  We were family first, co-workers and employers/employees second.  I had the absolute pleasure to work in the main office at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute all through my college career.  In fact, I even worked there the summer  before my senior year of high school, then came back when I started as a Freshman at ASU.  I loved those people.  They say it’s the people that make a place somewhere you call home.  Those people made ASU my home just as much as my classmates, roommates, and friends.

Linda and I

Linda and I

My direct boss, Linda, took care of me more than I could’ve ever imagined.  She was like my college Mom.  Linda is, perhaps, the sweetest, kindest soul I have ever had the pleasure to call friend.  In addition to taking care of me in the office, if I ever had a problem with classes or an apartment problem she was quick to offer help.  She also always looked out for my health.  For example, Junior year I was sick one day but when to class anyways (I hate missing class).  After being told to leave Spanish class by the professor because I was too sick to be there, I took my temperature and had over 103 F.   So, I called the office and told them I couldn’t come into work because I was sick and that I was really sorry.  To be honest, I was miserable.  It’s a wonder how I walked the mile back to my room.  Linda took off work that afternoon (not paid leave, mind you) to pick me up from my dorm and take me to the hospital.  She waited at the hospital (something NOONE likes doing) while I was poked and prodded by the doctor/nurses, and then took me to get my antibiotics before taking me back to my dorm with instructions to call or text if I needed anything or got hungry.  (Sidenote: I had the flu.)  How many bosses would do all that for their part-time worker?  Hardly any.  Linda is special.  She’s a blessing.

Anyway, saying goodbye to ABI was probably one of the saddest things I had to do in May.  I cried as I left on my last day.  Have you ever cried when you voluntarily left a job?  Probably not.  If you find a job that you love, one where you love the people so it never feels like work — that’s when you’ll be sad to leave.  I know I was.

Graduating.

Graduating.

Graduation day was May 11th.  I sat between my two favorite classmates — TW and Dylan as speakers told us congratulations, to do something wonderful with our lives, and that we had done it, we were really graduates.  I followed Dylan in getting my diploma with TW right behind me.  It wasn’t at all sad.  It was a good day.   We are DONE with economics!

Mom and Stepdad With Their Graduate

Mom and Stepdad With Their Graduate

My family was all smiles, proud of their youngest (youngest grandchild, youngest child, youngest sibling).  There was a lot of clapping and photo-taking and hugging.  (I’m a hugger, for sure.)

Rachel, Myself, and Shana: Sisters Photo After Graduation

Rachel, Myself, and Shana: Sisters Photo After Graduation

Graduation ended around 4:30, I think.  After photos, finding one another, and braving busy streets, my family, Tom, and I made our way to a conference room just a few minutes before the catering arrived.  It was a nice meal with the people I love most:  my family and my best friend.  Then the family all left and I went back to my apartment.  It was over.

The following morning I checked out of my apartment in Red Wolf Den, and simultaneously said goodbye to my university home.  My experience as a Red Wolf isn’t over, though.  I’ll be howling ’til I die.  I’m a Red Wolf at heart, no matter what.

As you can see, my college experience isn’t remembered by economics graphs, Supreme Court cases, market predictions, papers, tests, or really even classes.  Don’t get me wrong, I remember all of those.  Trust me, it’s imprinted in my brain.  But I remember my college experience by the people — they’re the ones who made it home.  It’s always the people who make a place.  Always.  ASU has/had some extraordinary people.

Howl yes, I’ve been blessed!

Is There A Pause Button To Growing Up?

A Long Journey Awaits

A Long Journey Awaits

I never knew growing up would be so…..hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot of growing up in my 22 years of life — many of it at a young age.
I guess I always imagined that it would get easier as I got older.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It gets harder. And harder.

In less than two weeks I graduate college and leave all of the friends I have come to love as family, co-workers and employers I don’t know how I’ll live without, and the place I’ve called home for the last four years — ASU.
In less than four months I start law school, officially become in debt for the first time in my life (student loans to pay for law school, of course), and move away from my family.

Growing up sure can be sad.
But it’s necessary. There’s no point in life if we never change or grow.

Growing up sure is scary.
I’m terrified to have debt, to commit to law school, to move on from people I love and who love me.
It scares me to know that at 22, I am really choosing my entire future’s path. At 22 years old.
But it’s motivating. Fear is a powerful force, after all.

Ah, I tip my metaphoric hat at the “grown up” world.
It’s a whole new scene out there.