Monday, May 26, 2014

Goodbyes Aren't My Thing

I'm not good with endings. I never have been. In fact, I am so terrible with them, that most times I don't allow myself to fully enjoy an event because I know it will soon be over. 

Yeah, I'm that ridiculous. So you can imagine just how terribly sad I am that my life as a college student has come to an end. 

When I was a student, I complained about my seemingly impossible workload (19 credit semester? was I attempting to kill myself?). Looking back now, I see just how easy I had it. College is such a special time. It's like a safe bubble; a four year (or five in my case) break from reality. Yes, it can be challenging, but in comparison to the "real world"? It's a joyous walk through a whimsical forest (analogies also aren't my thing). And one that I am insanely blessed and grateful to have experienced. 

I'd like to say this, Salisbury University is never where I thought I'd end up. Never in a million years did I think I would attend a "party" school and major in Communications of all things. But I am so glad I did. I needed to be shaken up. I needed to be driven out of my comfort zone. And most of all, I desperately needed to get over myself. 

I've experienced so much here that it's almost overwhelming. I don't feel that my words can do it justice. But, I am determined. So in an entirely cliched and cheesy way, I'd like to share a few lessons that I've learned and taken to heart:

1. Girl Friendships are Great

This one seems silly, but let me explain. Before this year, I always prided myself on the fact that I got along "better" with guys. To me, girls meant drama, gossip and thinly veiled barbs. Funnily enough, though, I've realized the majority of my close friendships this year have been with girls. I think, often times, we girls can intimidate one another. And that intimidation can lead to false judgement and jealousy of one another. I know this is true in my case. Many of the girls that I now love dearly, I was terrified of first. Now they've become my closest confidants, the people I run to when I need help. They have encouraged me, loved me, offered such wise advice and made my relationship with God so much stronger.

2. Do Things Alone
Before coming to college, I used to think I was independent. However, it wasn't until I lived on my own that I realized just how dependent I actually was on others. I am not, by nature, an introvert. I love people. Being around them is energizing to me. So the thought of doing things by myself terrified me. I wish I could say it was bravery that finally got me going, but in all honesty it was boredom. I was bored and tired of waiting on people to do things with me. So I started doing them by myself. I took long drives and explored the many beautiful places that the Eastern Shore has to offer. I tried out different local coffee shops and spent time thinking, writing, and spending time with God. And before I knew it, I fell in love with those moments. If you haven't taken to doing things on your own yet, I deeply encourage you to do so. There is so much value in them. 

3. Be Pleasing to God, Not People
This is a tough one. And one that I am still continuing to learn. Basically it's this, people don't matter. Well they do, but their opinions don't. You can't please everyone and not everyone is going to like you. This is hard for me. I have this compulsive need to please everyone and to make sure everyone is happy. This is wrong for many reasons, one being that I need to allow people to feel the things they do. If they're sad, they should be sad. It's not that I can't comfort them, but it's not fair for me to tell them how to feel. And most importantly, my goal on this earth is not to please others. I am not meant to be here for other people's desires. My purpose is to live for God and live a life that is pleasing to Him. People come and go, but God is forever loving and constant.

4. Be Open//Be Vulnerable
This is another difficult one. I've mentioned this in previous posts, but vulnerability is not my strong suit. To me, being open means being more susceptible to pain. And like any human, I try to avoid pain as much as possible. But if this past year has taught me anything, it's that vulnerability is a wonderful thing. Yes, it can lead to pain. And that pain will hurt. Quite a bit. But it can also lead to humility and compassion. Pushing people away and living with a jaded, cynical heart results in nothing good. Maybe you avoid pain, but you also lose the chance of connecting with and loving others in the way that God calls us to. And when you let others see you, that's when the real beauty begins.

5. Walk in Love
The media always portrays the extreme side of things, especially in regards to Christianity. On one side, we have preachers and politicians spouting off ridiculous, hateful things. And on the other side, we have people preaching total acceptance and tolerance of all things. Both sides presume to speak for the majority of Christians. However, I refuse to let the beliefs of others become my own. All I know is that I will strive to love others as God has loved me. He looks at me with new grace and mercy every morning and it's my goal to view others in the same way.

And that's it. Like I said above, there are so many things I could talk about, that it's overwhelming. Though this is long, it only grazes the surface of the past three years. I cherish these lessons and the memories I've made here. It sounds dramatic, but it's with a heavy heart that I leave this place. Salisbury has been my home, my place of safety and escape for the past years and I can't imagine leaving it. But I also know that I have to.

Salisbury will always be my home. I've made roots here. And I'll always look back at it with a fondness and love that may seem ridiculous to others. However, this is not my only place to grow roots in. The world is huge. The opportunities? Endless. I know it won't be easy. In fact, I'm told the transition after college is extremely difficult and I can already feel myself struggling to find my identity. It will be hard. I'll have times of sadness, joy, extreme nostalgia and the desire to go back to the "good ole' days". But I'm hopeful and I'm excited. Because I know that I still have so many things to learn and do. And God's going to be there every step of the way.

So thanks, Salisbury. You've been amazing and I'll miss you very much.