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0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University/ Point Loma Nazarene University Reflection

I Graduated

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I knew it was coming. We all knew it was coming. Mel spent months randomly bursting out in tears over it. It was inevitable. Graduation would be on May 7th, 2016 at 4 P.M. in the Greek Amphitheatre, and there was nothing we could do to change it or stall it from happening.

It was a day that flew by in the blink of an eye. Most of the morning was spent being overly excited and having multiple ‘We’re graduating today!!!’ moments. Then the day became even more real when we put on our caps and gowns and met up with friends who had already received their diploma. Now it was my turn: to line up in alphabetical order, march down the steps into the Greek, and sit as I wait to receive my diploma.

The moment was an exciting blur. I remember my dad running down to give me more leis and then how complicated it was to get hooded when my hair and flowers were everywhere. Then I took a few steps, handed my name card to the lady reading out names, and time seemed to freeze for just a moment. I had forgotten about the hundreds of people standing in the crowds and could just barely remember how to walk. If ever I smiled from ear to ear it would have been in that moment.

Four years of college built up to this day. Four years of finishing my projects the night before it was due, four years of staying up late laughing with friends when we should have been asleep, four years of having the most indescribable ocean view. I always knew that the day would come where I would trade in my status as a college student for a diploma, but what no one warned me about was what would happen after graduation.

In the span of 24 hours you go from sharing an apartment with your closest friends to saying goodbye and not knowing the next time you’ll ever be in the same place at the same time. And even if I were to stay in San Diego longer it would never be the same. There would never be the same people or the same experiences. So I’m stuck in this place of missing Loma and wanting to be back but knowing that even if I was back it wouldn’t feel quite right. There will be moments where I am so incredibly proud of my accomplishments, but there will also be moments where I can’t fathom what it means to not be at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Mel described it perfectly. It’s like sadness is touching all of our core memories. The thought that I’ll never get to watch the sun set and hide below the ocean’s horizon from the balcony of 45 E. The thought that my wonderful chi dev ladies and I will never again get to goof off in one of our classes. The thought that I’ll never be in a community of people who seek to live like Christ and having the opportunity to worship alongside them. The thought of not knowing the next time I’ll get to see Clara or Sarah or Jasmine or Emma or Ruth or Becca or Caleb or Mel or any of the individuals who have made my four years in college so incredibly wonderful. These are the thoughts that have been breaking my heart lately. They’re the sad reminders I’m trying to navigate through as I transition into a new season of life.

But it’s going to be ok, and I’m going to be ok. At the end of Inside Out all the emotions realize that in order for Riley to feel better she has to experience sadness. There are going to be more feelings of missing Loma, but there are so many more delightful memories that I’m going to hold onto. I may never get to do this or that again, but I’m infinitely grateful for all the things I have done while at PLNU.

So even as I struggle to accept this new season of life, I’m reminded that God is always faithful. He has been faithful in the past and there is no reason He’s going to stop now. He was there for me when I left home and started college in San Diego, and He’ll be there for me as I leave home again and start a new season of life in Hawaii. It is going to be scary and difficult and sad, but God is pulling me into a beautiful new adventure.

0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University

Completely Ridiculous

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Bladding. Ever heard of it? Well neither did we our freshmen year. Apparently it’s this top secret activity where you can’t find any information about it online, and if you’ve done it you’re not supposed to tell others about it. Four years later and I’m positive our RA made it up.

She told us to wear all black and meet at 9 PM in the first floor lounge. That’s all she told us. She didn’t give us any insight into where we were going or what we would be doing, and as ‘down-for-anything’ ‘stoked-on-life’ freshmen we agreed no questions asked. I remember meeting in the lounge with 30+ other freshmen wearing all black and thinking we were the coolest kids on the block. What I would give to forever have the confidence of a freshman in college.

So we meet in the lounge, and the two RAs tell us we’re going to walk somewhere. We leave Nease, walk off campus, go down Lomaland, get onto Catalina, turn right at Cañon, and stop at the Westminster Park. We’re huddled there in the cold, dark excited about what on earth we would be doing. Our RAs begin to tell us this story of a construction worker whose wife would always make him a pie to take to work. He loved these pies. But one day he dropped his pie on the floor and a car ran over it. Since he loved these pies so much, he ate it anyways. And that’s what we were supposed to do too.

We each got a $2 dollar mini pie our RAs had bought from the gas station, unwrapped them, crossed the street, placed our pies on the floor, then hid in the bushes. We waited and waited until a car drove by and ran over our pies. When it did we ran out from the bushes, kneeled over and ate apple pies with a blend of rocks off the floor- no hands.

Completely ridiculous right? Well freshmen year that thought didn’t even cross my mind. I willingly ate food off the floor that the off-campus freshmen shuttle had ran over- rocks and all- and I walked away with a smile. I had so much fun, and I’ll probably tell my kids that story one day.

Bladding taught me something about attending college that I’m glad I learned early on. It taught me that genuine, ridiculous fun is possible without alcohol or drugs or crazy college parties. My most outrageous college stories are often the ones where my friends and I were down for anything no questions asked. Those are the stories I’m going to hold onto. They’re the memories that will make me smile from ear to ear at just the thought.

I am infinitely a better person because of Point Loma Nazarene University. I am going to miss being in a community of Christ-loving people who were completely ridiculous all on their own. But I am so grateful for four years being surrounded by people who never pressured me to do anything I didn’t want to do. Loma gave me a glimpse of what living freely in Christ, not for society, looks like.

0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University/ Uncategorized

Life As I Know It

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On May 7th my world is going to flip upside down. For months I’ve had bittersweet feelings about this day. Some days I’m in denial and others I can’t wait. It’s going to be a flurry of emotions and thoughts all because of one life event- graduation.

Life as I know it is going to change. The friends that I see around campus I may never talk to again. The professors who have filled me with immense knowledge and given me grace through all the rocky patches will no longer be an office away. The community of people who seek to live like Christ won’t be worshipping alongside me in chapel. The breathtaking sunsets that I’ve grown so accustomed to won’t be there for me to take a photo of. My best friend who has helped me navigate my emotions and makes sure I wake up on time for class will be an ocean and three states away. I’m not ready for things to change.

For 17 years I’ve been going to school. Monday to Friday, waking up ten minutes before class starts, that has been my life for the past 17 years. School is all I’ve ever known how to do- even if some days I feel like I’ve just learned how to effectively study for a test. I complain about it pretty often and God knows I procrastinate just as much, but I enjoy learning.

These past couple months have been a tricky season of life. I’m in 17 units, I work 8 hours a week, I volunteer at church, and I try to maintain some sense of a social life. I have second semester senior year on my plate, and I can’t forget about the side of ‘post grad’ looming over my shoulder. Top it off with my best friend moving away after graduation and my Disneyland pass expiring and I have myself a whole lot of sadness and confusion.

My biggest doubt about graduation has been that I’m not ready to be an adult. I am filled with anxiety when I have to think about paying bills, working a full-time job, and not getting to live in San Diego anymore. I don’t know what that looks like, and it scares me. I worry about who my friends will be or how I’ll survive a 9 to 5 job without a two hour nap in between. Then of course everyone asks the dreaded question “what are you doing after graduation” when I don’t even know what I’ll be eating for dinner. There is so much uncertainty and pressure and decision making that comes along with graduation. I wish someone would have warned me.

Something that has been keeping me afloat throughout this whole mess is knowing that God already has it figured out. God knows exactly where I’ll be after May 7th and how I’ll get there. He knows that my life is going to be something I could have never dreamed of. So I hold onto that. I remind myself of all the times I’ve been face to face with the fear of the unknown, and how God has always taken me on an incredible journey.

So I’m hoping that time slows down between now and May 7th. Let me enjoy a few more sunsets, a few more late nights watching Boy Meets World, and plenty more laughs with friends. But when May 7th rolls around I’ll be ready. From now until then things will start to piece together, and God’s plan for my life will slowly start to be revealed. I trust that God is going to lead me into a beautiful new season of life.

 

0 In Daily Life/ Point Loma Nazarene University/ Uncategorized

Remember When

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Lynnie thinks it’s strange and creepy, but sometimes I’ll look through old photos and remember the moment when the camera clicked and I said ‘cheese.’ It’s weird, but I love it. I love looking back at old pictures and thinking about how time has just flown by since that short minute. So as the year is ending and I look back at last year’s photo of fireworks shooting off behind the Bay Bridge, I can’t help but remember when..

Remember when we were just kids and had our whole lives ahead of us. Now we’re ‘adults’ and our lives are right smack in front of us. Remember when we claimed to be studying for AP Gov but were really just taking in the vitamin D on the Patino’s back porch. Now 4/5ths of us are graduating college. Remember when Point Loma Nazarene University sent me that giant card and as soon as I opened it, it shouted at me “Congratulations you’ve been accepted to PLNU!” Now they’re sending me graduation fees, and I can’t believe four years has passed. Remember when I dreamed about traveling to Europe and studying abroad. Now I have passport stamps from all over Europe. Remember when I wanted to experience what it was like to serve internationally in third world countries. Now I have a piece of my heart that belongs to Africa. Remember when Hawaii sounded like a cool idea. Now Hawaii sounds like home. Remember when everyone thought the world would end in 2012. Now it’s 2016.

Each year I see my dreams become realities and my goals become achievements. Life rushes on by without any warning. So it’s these moments of looking back at old photos that make me stop and appreciate all that I’ve accomplished. All the amazing- and sometimes not so amazing- events I’ve been apart of, things I’ve been able to see, people I’ve been able to meet, lessons I’ve learned… Old photos are old memories, and old memories are reminders of how I’ve become this person I’m immensely proud of.

2015 in one phrase has been a messy balance. It was a year of confusion and doubt, fear and anxiety, uncertainty and stagnation. But it has also been a year of confidence and hope, feeling at home, and feeling just right. It’s been a teeter-totter year going back and forth between I’m not ready but then again I couldn’t be more ready. A year that started and continued to solidify my call to ministry while also leaving me with fear of the future. So as the year wraps up, I’m left with uncertain confidence.

My hope for 2016- as with all the years to come- is that I leave it all up to God. God, you have full control of my future- where I live and what I do. So that when the time comes for me to write about how 2016 went I’ll remember when I didn’t know. Remember when I was afraid of graduating and entering the real world… Remember when I didn’t know whether I wanted to go to grad school or move to Hawaii… Oh the places I’ll go, the things I’ll see, the people I’ll meet, and the lessons I’ll learn…

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Surfing and Jesus

In order to fulfill my physical fitness GE requirement I signed up for PLNU’s surf class. I love the ocean, I’ve surfed before- not well- but how hard could it be? The class was only a quad, and it was twice a week. Though I had no friends in the class and it made me really nervous to think about, I decided to take the class anyways.

After just a month and a half of surfing I have a newfound respect for surfers. Carrying the board alone is difficult. Then paddling out only to get pounded back to shore is no fun. And standing up is basically like trying to walk on water. Nothing about surf class was easy. It was a whole lot of fun, and I definitely made a few friends jealous telling them how cool my school is for offering a surf class, but it was not the walk in the park I was expecting.

Today, after a month of being in the water, I finally was able to stand up and catch a wave. After weeks and weeks of beating myself up for not being good enough or being embarrassed that I was the only one in the class not standing up, I finally did it. As I rode the wave a smile formed on my face from ear to ear. I hopped off my board and looked around to see if my coach or if any of my friends had seen me. They didn’t. No one was around. No one noticed. Yet still I was so excited and stoked and pleased with myself.

Then I thought about what it would look like if I could serve God in that way. To be able to do something for God and receive no recognition. What would my life look like if I could serve God without any expectation of receiving a pat on the back or a ‘Good Job Meg!’ How would it feel to passionately serve God each time and know that the only person watching is God. Would I still do the things I do? Would I still hold the door open for a friend or give money to the homeless? How much of what I’m doing is so that others can praise me instead of praising God?

As I’ve grown in my walk with God I’ve practiced what it means to give God all the glory. Serving in children’s ministry and interning at churches is not something I do because I want people to think highly of me. I do it because I love it and it brings me immeasurable joy. It deepens my relationship with God and draws me closer to where I think He wants me to be. I pray that I can continue to serve God and glorify His name. Surfing today reminded me that not all my achievements need to be rewarded, because God sees me and He recognizes what I’ve done even if no one else has.