“Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.”
30 days. Assuming everything goes right and God-willing, I will graduate from college in exactly 30 days. The feeling is surreal. Seeing where I stand now cannot compare to the 18-year-old I was in August of 2012, pulling up to South Russell Hall on move-in day. I thought I knew what would happen in my college experience. I thought I knew where I would end up after graduation. I never realized how necessary the next seven semesters would be in transforming my life completely.
Throughout my college experience, I have seen joy and I have seen pain. I have been through utter darkness but I have also seen the faint flicker of the stars at night light up my entire world. I reached the lowest point I had ever been in my life, but I’ve also stood on the highest mountains of my life (literally). Most importantly, throughout college I have experienced God in ways I had yet felt him in my life. I have felt God’s overwhelming peace and presence. I have heard his voice unlike any other moments in my life. A fire awoke so deeply within my soul that no circumstance has yet been able to extinguish. I became filled with life.
In honor of this crazy yet beautiful journey coming to an end in 30 days, I have decided to list 30 experiences that I feel defined my time at Baylor. Some are funny, some are painful, but all are real.
- Move-in day. I arrived at South Russell Hall and began the next chapter of my life. I said “goodbye” to my parents and my at-the-time boyfriend, even though I still went home every weekend. I was off for this new chapter in my life.
- I was the weirdo that decided to take Latin, four semesters of it too. The stress was unreal. I now have a love/hate relationship with Caesar, Cicero, and Cato. Carthago defenda est, always.
- Baylor Baseball Diamond Girls. As a baseball lover, there was nothing I wanted more during my time at Baylor than to be a Diamond Girl. My two years on the team definitely had their ups and downs, but it was still a dream come true.
- South Russell vs. the lobby microwave. I will never forget the night I had to evacuate my dorm at 1:30 a.m. because someone set their popcorn on fire. Who knew 245 college girls would need guidelines on how to use a microwave.
- My grandmother being diagnosed with breast cancer. This shook me so much harder than I ever wished to admit. But as she got her treatment I was constantly reminded how strong my grandma is. She truly does fight like a girl.
- While watching Pitch Perfect with my at-the-time boyfriend on a February night, I learned of the death of CPO Chris Kyle. Kyle, being his hero, had impacted both of our lives. This day was sad and the death was on hard on him, yet this was also a strong bonding time for the two of us.
- The ladies of SoRo making a birthday video for our dorm hall director. I crawled in a dryer and we all danced through the halls displaying our obvious lack of rhythm. She loved it.
- The birth of my niece. This adorable little girl has brought so much joy to my life. I cannot imagine there was a time in my life I wasn’t Aunt Abby.
- The West explosion. Undoubtedly, this would reshape our community tremendously. The night was terrible for me. I wanted nothing more to help. West rebuilt. West became stronger. And it has been incredible to watch.
- Meeting Taya Kyle. This was an experience I will never forget. I’d read her story in American Sniper, but meeting her person and feeling her strength was indescribable. I felt truly honored.
- Moving apartments. After enough roommate drama to last a lifetime (and then some), one month into my sophomore year, Baylor and I both agreed my living situation needed to change. I’m forever thankful that it did.
- The Baylor vs. OU game and the first blackout game. Even though we lost the game this year, winning two years ago was huge. Baylor proved we are a team to watch. I’ll never forget leaving the game with 1% battery on my phone and tweeting “It’s 11:15 and OU still sucks.”
- Having the Texas Rangers follow me on Twitter. While this might seem minuscule to most people, getting that follow notification in class made my day (more like my life). I was officially noticed by my favorite baseball team.
- Hawaii. The perfect vacation. The vacation I had been dreaming about since I started college. Although there would be a few things I would do differently (like not having such high winds at Pearl Harbor so I can go to the USS Arizona) I would give anything to go back.
- My breakup. There is no denying this became the pinnacle of change in my college career. I could write a book about this journey this took me on. The pain experienced this night can still haunt me. Sometimes I still find myself wondering why everything fell apart. My whole world was transformed. BUT the outcome has been nothing but positive. The change was necessary and even though I may not always understand, I think that’s the beauty of God’s plan. I’ve walked forward in faith, and only faith, because I’ve had to and I became a better person because of it.
- Working the Crowne Plaza Tournament at Colonial. I love golf and this was such a rewarding experience. This was certainly an event that had it’s ups and downs, but I was right there when Adam Scott won. (Plus I got to see Jordan Spieth, aka my celebrity golf crush)
- Roadtripping to Colorado randomly with some friends. I got to get away from Texas for a little bit and hike a 14,000 foot mountain, which became very symbolic of the journey I was on. To quote Third Day – I traveled through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God.
- A mission trip to Guatemala. The trip was hard all around. I found difficulty staying focused because I was distracted by own personal issues. However, on the plane ride home I think I met my guardian angel. Everything ounce of support I needed to hear at the time, she provided to me. The experience was overwhelming.
- Joining Columbus Avenue Baptist Church. Changing my church membership from my home church with my family was a huge leap of faith. Yet God has truly blessed me with an amazing church family located in Waco.
- Baylor beating TCU. 61-58. As a forever Baylor Bear, this will be a game I will never forget. I may have lost some years off my life due to the stress, but the win was worth it. And now there’s a new number one rivalry between Texas schools. See you in Fort Worth on November 27, TCU.
- New York. Again, the trip of a lifetime. My dad ran the NYC marathon, I got to go to the Top of the Rock, and of course enjoy some time in Tiffany’s. On a more serious note, I also experienced Ground Zero. Easily the most emotional place I’ve ever been to. As 9/11 was a pinnacle in my life, this was an indescribable experience. Oh and I also went to some place called Broadway and saw a show called Phantom of the Opera? Yeah, I cried. (Phantom is my favorite musical)
- Getting my job at the gym. This was a so-so experience, and I was honestly just thankful to be employed. But the job led me to Kaelan and by extension, the best group of friends I could wish for. I am extremely blessed by the crazy yet lovable (in their own way) people I’m surrounded with and I would not trade them for anything.
- Running the Bearathon. Running my first half-marathon, dubbed as the toughest half in Texas, was difficult no doubt. I was dying as I crossed the finish line, but the important thing was I finished. Plus I got a nice, big medal to go with the experience.
- Getting my internship at Allen Samuels DCJ. This was such an answered prayer. I would not be the employee I am today, I would not have the skills and experience I have today, if it weren’t for the Baylor journalism department and this internship. This job also led me to Haley, my God-given, Gilmore Girls and pizza obsessed best friend.
- Roadtripping to San Antonio. For a short, three-day trip, it was awesome and just the getaway I needed. Fedora’s, the Riverwalk, and some Casa Rio were all much needed therapy. Plus, a Texan must always remember the Alamo.
- Climbing on top of a roof in Waco. Slightly weird, but I had never done anything like this before and the view was beautiful. If ever there was a moment I fell in love with Waco (which I never thought would happen), this was it.
- Getting mono. Unfortunately, I feel like this set the stage for my last semester of college. I was slowed down and thrown off my usual organized self. Everything felt wrong and overcoming mono became more than just overcoming an illness. I had to constantly remind myself to stop being a perfectionist.
- Starting this blog. Starting this blog was a huge leap of faith. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was scared to share my thoughts. I was scared to make myself vulnerable. Like most things, however, the experience has been nothing but rewarding.
- Staying up until 4 a.m. talking to one of my friends. I cannot remember the last time I did this, but sometimes thunderstorms and heart-to-hearts are so cathartic and absolutely necessary.
- The day I realized how truly incredible my college experience has been. I saw how far I had come and all the things I had overcome. I became proud of the person I had become. I realized I was 21, single (I don’t even own a dog), and I literally have the world at my feet when I graduate. All I wanted throughout college was freedom and I felt like I finally had it. I found myself in Christ and I was happy.