Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finding the Right Words To Say

I cannot believe I have almost completed my first year of college. Last weekend, I would have been completely happy to hear that soon I will be gone. However, since then I have had some time to think about my life here and what I will miss. I do love this campus and the people. Before I know it, my time with these professors that I enjoy will be over and this campus and town that I have walked all over will be too far to just travel to by foot. I have discovered new, amazing places to take pictures on this campus and around town just by taking a nice stroll with friends--friends who have proven to be some of the best people I could ever meet. This place is like another world entirely from my home.

The tears might come or at least the moments of, "Aw, I'm going to miss you." But I really cannot wait to go home to my old friends and my family. I need to see them. I love what I have learned in my first year here through friends, professors and on my own. I appreciate everyone who has entered my life, good or bad, and taught me something new. Which is what makes this moment so bittersweet. I want anyone I have met during my stay here, who might be reading this, to understand they mean the world to me, and even if we have had our differences, this heart will still beat for them and I will still be there when they need it.

Along with those friends I expect to keep, it is particularly interesting the amount of people who have come in and out of my life so easily this year. I remember when I was younger, if a friend and I stopped speaking, I would be so hurt by it. I used to hold onto people and friendships as if I had nothing else going for me. Which was never true, I was just sensitive. Now, I have learned, in the years I have grown, how to make my days with someone last as important memories, and if they leave, learn to let them go. In the next however-many-years-it-takes-me-to-graduate, I hope that I can keep the close friends I have now, make more, and have enough pictures and memories to last me a lifetime.

I am closing this chapter of my life and welcoming the summer sun with open arms. I cannot wait to be reunited with everyone that made me who I was before I came to school, and make more memories with them this summer. It is nice to know that I never truly have to say "good-bye," to anyone. This is simply, "See you later."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Need To Compartmentalize

I wish I could say I care that it is Earth Day, or that it feels wonderful outside, or all of the pleasantly joyful things I might typically say. But this is no typical day for me. Today is the day I organize my notebooks and start an intense studying schedule for the numerous tests, quizzes and final exams I will be facing within the next couple of weeks. It is a stressful time for us all.

Which is why I asked a friend of mine to pray for me before I left home Sunday. We did not sit down and pray, but he did promise he would. That was enough to keep me smiling despite my unwillingness to come back to campus and fight these beasts. Sometimes, I wonder what I would do without him in my life. I gave him the best hug I could muster and did not want to let go. He has faith in me, and because he has faith that I will get through it all, I have to have faith that I can push through anything.

There are people in my life that believe I can do anything. While I politely disagree, it is nice to have that biased support. I am not sure where I would be without it. I probably would not even be in school if there had not been a group there telling me I could do well and it would benefit me later.

So, despite my want to just wrap myself in a blanket and sleep until my summer vacation begins, I am going to push forward, but not before I give a little thanks. I have to remember I am here and worth something because of those that give me worth. I am no one without someone beside me who thinks I am worth the cheer. To all of my blogging friends who always leave me wonderful comments, and to all of my friends and family who are always there for me: thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

I needed to take the time to remember why I am here and push aside those pathetic feelings of wanting to give up when I am so close to the end. I have a reason and a purpose for being here and people who care whether or not I make it. I will make it through this. I just need to compartmentalize: first my mind, next my notes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Signs Pointing Home

After a long night of traveling, I love nothing more than seeing the signs on the road that point to home. The exit numbers changing, getting closer to my own. And of course, my favorite sign: the sign with my hometown plastered all over it. Thursday night, Shanna came to campus and we made the three-hour journey back home. Goosebumps overwhelmed me as I read the sign for our exit. I was home. Though the house was out of clear view, I was still home and that is all that mattered.

When we entered the town square, I was reminded how much I love this place. The Square, to me, is the most beautiful place in the entire world. And I know that might seem like an exaggeration given I have not been many places, but nothing can compare to the quaint shops and the glorious court house with its amazing clock tower. Something about the square gives me joy no matter what time of year it may be. And the further I am from it, the more I long to see it. The more I wish I were walking around, enjoying the sunshine, watching children play, or grabbing a nice lunch at one of the restaurants on the corner, or getting a freshly-baked cupcake from the bakery.

I have spent so much of my life in the square with friends or by myself. It is home. Nothing else could compare. And while this town continues to grow, and trees are cut down to build pointless strip malls or gas stations, it is in the square where everything feels the same and where I am comforted after being away for too long.

Signs are a powerful thing--whether they be signs from God, Allah, or the devil; signs pointing to a hot spot where the teens like to loiter; or signs pointing to a long-awaited destination. Signs show a person where they want to go and where they are headed. I have just a couple of weeks left before my spring semester finally reaches an end, and I cannot wait to make the trip again just so I can see all the signs as I get closer to home once more for 3 months of summer vacation. I have plans this summer and personal projects I want to start. And just as where everything ends, it will all begin here: home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

To Touch

I am moving forward with a new chapter in my life. This new chapter is called "Touch."

My year as a freshman in college is swiftly reaching an end, and while I cannot remember every detail of every memory I still have within my grasp, I do remember the impact each moment had on my life. I remember all the times I was right, and most importantly, all the times I was wrong. I see the impressions I have made as well as the people who are only left with those first-time impressions. And I have discovered who I am and the person I want to be.

I have said it plenty of times: I want to be moved and move others. But I would rather talk about those who have moved me, not just what I think I have done in the face of knowing who I am. The very fact that these people continue to be present in my life proves I have left a mark on them, so to stroke my ego anymore would be a waste and too hypocritically pretentious. Just because it is my first time meeting someone does not mean they did not have a life before me. Their lives and their stories are just as important, and I want to know them.

To touch a person does not just mean to be some sort of Heavenly being that floats down to a person and changes their life. Touch is a sense to which works best when both parts can feel the change and are transformed by the experience. As much as I would love to help others, I need help, too. We all do. I want to build relationships. I want to reach out and have an extended family full of people who want to love just because love is something we all need. I want there to be assurance in everyone I meet that love is there, if they need it, much as I will from time-to-time.

If the stories are heartbreaking, I assure anyone who is to approach me, I can break their heart, too. But it is not about depressing people. Even people who have lead relatively "happy" lives still have something interesting to say. Often times, they are the ones with which I would rather surround myself. They are the ones, with optimism galore, who can lift me up when I am down. I cut myself off from most emotion before this year began. But I realized, fighting back tears is harder than letting them flow.

I would rather be a passionate person than a cold one.

I am learning, and I want to know what others have learned. What lessons do they have that they could teach me? I want to learn what it really means to touch a person and have them touch back.