This semester flew by. If I close my eyes I can see myself moving into my tiny room and laughing with my roommate in the kitchen about where to put all of our dishes. It’s crazy to think that next year I may not see the same people or take the same route to class. That’s when my fear of change starts to make my heart race. But gratitude always brings me back. The moment when I sit in my bed at the end of the day and write down what I’m thankful for, when I pull the covers up to my chin as I thank God for the day, or in the car when the music is blaring and I realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by my friends.
At times, college is a fast-paced and stressful place to be. Especially as the semester came to a close, I was constantly adding to my to-do list and rushing around campus. But the past few weeks I’d been pleasantly interrupted by others (or have paused to reach out to others) who reminded me to look up from my homework. They reminded me of my purpose outside of academia and student life when they asked me the unexpected questions. How have I changed? What are my goals? What have been the highlights of this year? These opportunities for reflection caught me off guard in between their answers to weekend plans and their current mood. But it taught me the value of conversation, and the opportunity we have with each conversation. A chance to learn how someone is truly feeling and to understand them better than surface level small talk.
I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve found in college. Leading Young Life this semester has been incredible. I’m so thankful God placed me where I am, and even more grateful for the people I lead alongside. They are encouraging, love the Lord, and know how to love on kids well. After the Thankquet (a banquet celebrating leaders in our area) I was struck by how perfect God’s timing is. It took me forever to build up enough courage to begin leader training, it took me longer to figure out who I wanted to lead, and is taking me a while to figure out what kind of leader I am. As I’ve said a hundred times, the people I’ve met through Young Life are awesome. Hearing about the work leaders are doing in our area alone was eye-opening to the way God is moving in the community, and with these leaders sharing His Gospel, the work is far from over.
Going from Young Life club to my bible study made Monday nights my favorite. These friends are full of laughter, love, and are wise in Catholicism. Mother Mary has taught us so much about how to live for the Lord and to have hope. Mary is a prime example of having hope, as she trusted God when He gave her Jesus, and she knew the Lord was good during Christ’s passion, even when she didn’t know what would happen next. I want to imitate her unfailing hope and trust in God and follow her virtues.
Exercise also helped me relieve stress and spend time with friends. I’m thankful for the opportunities when I was able to run and enjoy the weather. There’s nothing better than chatting with friends after a long day of class while running your favorite trail. Having trainers to help me learn new stretches was also a blessing.
This semester was new, exciting, challenging, stressful, crazy, and fun. I am so thankful for all of it.