College– Round Two, a Review

Hey guys! I know, I know, it’s been quite a while since I last hit ya up with anything, and I apologize– been stressful, putting up with studying for finals, presentations, Humanities outlines, papers, and so on… Many of you high schoolers have it easy! (LOL– take my word for it!)

Anyways, for those not in the know, I’m wrapping up my sophomore year at a small Christian college, but previously completed my freshman year at my local secular community college, to get most of my gen eds knocked off faster and cheaper (though, in hindsight, I wish I’d take MORE classes there, for credit reasons…). I transferred because I wanted a better education in a Christ-centered environment– not that I didn’t get the occasional possible Christian professor at the community college, but in all honesty, it felt too much like a public school, and I really wanted to build both my education AND my faith. I visited a good many Christian colleges, before settling on two, which for privacy purposes I won’t name. One offered just about everything: lots of activities, multiple majors, an on-campus movie theater, great educators, great facilities and study abroad programs, BUT… it lacked one thing. I felt, despite its older reputation, that it was seriously faltering in the faith department. And above ALL else, my two top criteria for picking a GOOD Christian school were:

  1. To grow academically, and
  2. To grow spiritually.

Number 1 certainly promised the first, but I felt, in all sincerity, it didn’t live up to the second, something that sorely disappointed me. I ended up going with the second school, only to discover that they too had an alright study abroad program system called CrossRoads. So, satisfied, I signed up.

The first semester as a sophomore at my selected college was a little rough, namely because, well, as I’ve said, one of my goals was to GROW academically. But the teachers not only helped me reach greater potentials, they also supported and encouraged me, not by babying, but by helpful constructive criticism. They integrated their faith into their curriculum pretty thoroughly, which I loved. I actually found myself calling out to God more my first semester, because I needed help in getting through all the business and stress (was doing 16 creds, plus three work shifts on the weekends at our school cafeteria as a dishwasher/pots washer… not a fun job, but hey, it’s a job.), this helped a good bit in my faith’s growth. And the job also forced me to be better at time-budgeting.

Since coming here, along with one of my kids brothers (who is one year my junior– a freshman), we did some Church shopping until we found a sister Church we really liked. What made it seem more at home was that the Pastor, Pastor Dennis, knew my home Pastor, and was incredibly warm and welcoming to us. I love how passionately and wonderfully he preaches, he even often starts out with a joke or two (not to mention props!); he is NOT the type of Pastor to make you fall asleep on a Sunday morning service! I genuinely love how the service incorporates both the older styles of worship (i.e., hand-shaking, hymns) with newer styles (contemporary Christian music, praise band); being used to only hymns at my home Church (but loving K-LOVE and Air1 radio stations), this was a dream come true for me. Literally, after the first time coming, Pastor Dennis was kind enough to give us the grand tour, and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day. It’s that great.

Second semester’s (spring semester) been a little rougher, namely due to personal probs, emotional and spiritual struggles, combined with lots of homework and prepping for finals (although, I will say, it could be much, much worse.). I still work at the cafeteria, but only one shift (got smart and realized that way I’d still be making a bit of money BUT could hang out with friends more and do more homework.). I’ve continued going to counseling to help sort some emotional and spiritual things out and help me to leave some things in my freshman year, things I’m not necessarily proud of, in the past. The counseling has even helped with me in body image and self-esteem.

Throughout my adventures at my “quaint” little Christian colleges, I’ve met and befriended several very wonderful people (who, also for privacy purposes, I will leave their last names out), most who I will list here but there are also quite a few good acquaintances of mine (the ones I don’t see as often), you know who you are ( 😉 ). I thank God for each and every one of them; they’re all blessings in my life. One thing I love about this college is, no matter what your denomination, at the end of the day we’re all just good Christian friends (I’m friends with people who’re RP, Lutheran, Calvinist, Catholic…..):

Hannah: I freaking love this girl; she’s a pure gem. Upbeat, sassy, and extroverted, Hannah even has her own table at our cafeteria (or it seems that way, at least); everyone seems to flock to her, and it gets crowded pretty quick. Has a “mild” obsession with “Pride and Prejudice”. Is an English Education Major.

Chelsea: The happy-go-lucky sweetheart hugger of our little group. Feeling down and need platonic cuddles and a rom com? Chelsea’s game! (with friends, at least.)She is a fellow Writing Major friend of mine, and is seriously such a dear girl. She and Hannah are partners in crime. 😉

Mary: (I almost put her last name, since I’ve a best friend by the same name back home, but anywhooooo) Small but mighty, this young woman is not to be underestimated. Armed with powers and mad skills of quirkiness,some sweetness, lovability, and writing, she is not to be trifled with. She often mishears things said in our group convos, usually with funny outcomes (we love you, Mary), and is going to Scotland in a specialty study abroad program with a mutual friend, Louisa, next semester.

Louisa: Louisa hails from a homeschooling farm family (YES– another former homeschooler), and is a Communications Major, with a concentration in Writing (she writes. Like me. A lot.). If I could list one special skill of hears, it would be that she is the Queen of Accents. She can expertly imitate any accent after hearing it for a long period of time (I can’t WAIT to hear what she’ll sound like after coming back from Scotland!). Like Abbey, she is very good at Spanish, although I think that having a sister in Columbia and being the Queen of Accents also helped with that. 😉 She is a lovely young woman and is usually one of the mediators when things get a bit heated between friends.

Macy: One of my good commuter friends, who is a straight-A student and an English Education Major. She is a sophomore, just like me; we met in ENG 112, but actually became good friends through occasional walks for our Aerobics class. She is a MAJOR bookworm (has two bedrooms in her house for her, one’s basically her library– I’ll put it that way), and we’d often fangirl together. Recently, I got her re-addicted to Pokemon, as well. 🙂 I would describe her as being studious but fun-loving, sweet and generous, usually hardworking, and very bright.

Abbey: If I could sum up this girl in a few words, it’d be “the optimistic go-getter”. No joke, usually she’s very cheerful; it’s fairly uncommon to see her without a sunny smile on her face. She is literally one of those people that if you ask her how she is, instead of getting the stereotypical, “fine,” you’d get a, “I’m fantastic! How are you?!” Whenever I’d get down on myself about something, no matter what it was, Abbey would help me to put it all in perspective. Her hobby is photography, and she has her own little logo and everything. She is also super good at Spanish (you should see all the Spanish notes she brought here with her, along from high school!), and is currently an Elementary Education Major with a double Minor in both Spanish and Hebrew. Gotta love this girl.

Rebecca: She may not seem like much at first glance, but don’t let that quiet, pretty, unassuming face fool you– she’s actually quite adventurous. She is always up for new risks and fun challenges, and often encourages others to do the same. She is an English Literature Major.

Jarrett: Jarrett is a fellow transfer student… from Malaysia (seriously, how cool is that?!). Foreign cultures have always fascinated me, so naturally I asked all about it. He is normally pretty introverted, but get him onto a topic he knows well, and he’s on a roll! (although, I’ll admit I’m the same) He fit in pretty easily here, and if you didn’t know any better you’d say he was American by birth. 🙂 He’s a wonderful brother in Christ, a good-humored History Major, with either a Minor or double Major in Teaching English as a Second Language. He plans to go back as a History teacher and teach in Malaysia, which I think is awesome.

Hunter: Hunter is another good guy friend of mine; our friendship is living proof that those in the liberal arts departments and those in the Engineering departments can get along great. He’s also quite good natured, caring, quick-witted, a bit on the mischievous side, and is also a Pokemon fan and fellow gamer.

Some awesome teachers that have made it into the Friend Area:

Dr. Mrs. Shidemantle: My awesome Espanol Profesora. She always prays in Spanish before class, and often gives additional aid to those who’re struggling. Lovely woman, muy inteligente.

Dr. Watt: Great Bible professor, generous, kind, and smart as a whip. Love his quick-witted sense of humor, his outlook on life, his caring attitude towards all his students (especially during/before finals, when we’re about to go home for break, etc…. he always tells us to be careful, drive safely, get plenty of rest, etc.). He has given me spiritual guidance and reassurance several times throughout the semester, took my friend Mary and I to see “Risen” this past February (and insisted on paying for all our tickets…!), AND he ALSO KNEW MY HOME PASTOR BACK IN PRE-SEMINARY!!! 😀

Dr. Szabo: Love her as a teacher, friend, and fellow believer. Lovely lady, also, very bright, knows her stuff. Very generous too; invited us over for a feast at her place after the semester was over (even the science majors in her class came..!!).She teaches English, her specialty being Women’s Literature and American Lit, and even though she’s a tough grader, I wouldn’t have traded her for the world. She pushes you just enough, so that if you’re smart you’ll go and seek out help (which was a humbling experience in and of itself for me), and is the type of teacher who gets really genuinely excited about what she’s teaching– in such a way that it rubs off on you (hey, excitement’s contagious!). Let me put it this way– I’ve never been much into poetry until I took ENG 112 with her!

Dr. Williams: Love, love, love this guy. When you first meet him, his appearance alone almost tells all: Star Wars/ English nerd tee (he’s a Writing Professor. And my adviser.), black pants, brown professor’s jacket, crocs, and a floppy black hat, accompanied sometimes by a black backpack, as opposed to a briefcase. He is DEFINITELY an unorthodox professor, and we all love him DEARLY for it!! 🙂 He is the rare type of professor who scans through the syllabus, half the time doesn’t give a crap what it says and goes at his own pace when it comes to assignments and readings, which is often quite nice. But I really like his teaching style– laid back, funny, attention-grabbing, but still pushes you to do your best and gets you to think. On another note, he is also responsible for our special Reading Series (called the GRS– YouTube it to see him in action). He is like a big kid, a wonderful big kid, playful, sharp, and witty. And a fellow Star Wars nut. (“Lightsabers are always welcome in class!”– Dr. Dan Williams, as I showed off my purple lightsaber to him fall semester. He handles it gently, with elated expression.)

Another note before I close out: It was Dr. Williams who encouraged me to start on my blogging adventure. I’ve always wanted to, but as said in my very first post, never knew how.

Thank you, professors, for all making a powerful impact on my life.

Thank you, dear friends, for being there for me. I love you all dearly.

Thank You, most of all, Lord, for being there for me. So many times I’ve wanted to throw in that towel, wave that white flag, but You… You gave me strength and comfort. Thank You so much for the promise of Hebrews 11:1, which is my current faith-builder.

(And, as always, a big shout-out to my readers. You guys are awesome, too!! 🙂 )

 

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