Spring semester is so far away that I can hardly believe it happened only this year. I took Writing of Fiction, Writer's Style, History of the Christian Church, Epic Literature, and a host of other classes, including a course about the history and geography of Israel to prepare for the spring break study trip to Israel that I went on!
In the spring, I continued working as a Teacher's Assistant and as the Social Media Intern for the English Department. When my roommate Sarah and I decided we needed a break from sitting on the couch doing homework, we sat on the couch and watched sitcoms or Monk. One of the highlights of spring semester was attending my school's annual film festival with some of my closest friends. The lowlight of the semester was contracting some horrible plague, spending a day in the emergency room, and missing a week and a half of school because of it.
School ended on Thursday, and over the weekend, my roommate and I moved into summer housing. On Monday, I started my first full-time job, cleaning the main dorm building with facility services. The work was hard (we moved desks, dressers, and mattresses; de-bunked bunk beds and put them back together again; vacuumed; vacuumed some more; washed walls, tables, and light fixtures; swept stairwells; mopped floors... If it was dirty, we cleaned it) but the company was great and made the job so much fun!
Summer wasn't all work, though... Sarah and I went to two weddings; Abby, Andrea, and I explored parts of the city; summer housing shenanigans abounded; I got to go home for two weeks to see my parents, bestie, and extended family; and I went kayaking for the first time and LOVED it.
School began again, and this was the most exhausting semester yet. I'm no longer the Social Media Intern for the English Department, but I run the Instagram account for a student group, so I attended many of their events throughout the semester. I also continued to be involved in the English Department as both a TA and a member of Sigma Tau Delta. To keep a stiff upper lip as I faced such classes as Literary Theory (LACAAAAAAAAAAN), Structure of English Grammar, and Christianity and Writing, I dyed my hair blue and purple and, depending on my mood, felt either like a unicorn or an oil spill.
Here on the blog, I participated in the Silmaril Awards and hosted The Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril. I wasn't able to post much else on here due to one of my classes where each student had to research a historical topic and build a website presenting their research in a user-friendly and interesting way. I did mine on the symphonies of three Soviet composers under the reign of Stalin.
|Check out my website by clicking this link.|
One of my goals for this past semester was to be more focused on academics than on social life, but 2018 has turned out to be a year of relationships, and I'm glad. People are so much more important than grades. Sarah's family and Andrea's family have adopted me since my own parents live over a thousand miles away from school. Amidst the craziness of academics and obligations, my friends and I made time for wandering around a golf course, watching movies and playing foosball and Dutch Blitz in the basement, attending rad Halloween and Christmas parties (don't worry, most of the attendees were English Department people, so the craziest thing to happen was misplacing a modifier), playing board games and video games, attending school theater productions, and dressing up all fancy to go to the orchestra.
Now, I am home on Christmas break, reflecting on 2018 from the comfort of my bed, even though it is 2:00 in the afternoon. I did a lot last year. I did well in school and at work. I made new and wonderful friends. We did and saw a lot of great things together. But what the pictures don't show is the emotional exhaustion and mental strain of trying to balance school, friendships, and self-care. They don't show the anxiety and self-image issues. They don't show the hard decisions and heartache. 2018 was rough (I know that because I only managed to read fifteen books the entire year!). I didn't achieve in full any of the goals I set for myself last year.
Being at home for break—or, rather, being away from the pressures and responsibilities of being on campus—has been so so so good for me. I've been able to rest and recover from the total exhaustion of last semester, and 2019 doesn't look so dark as a result. I've felt the most myself that I have since Thanksgiving.
As some of you may know, I love lists (which is part of the reason why I started bullet journaling in 2018 and am going to continue this year). Usually, I make a list of goals for myself during the infancy of a new year, but I haven't done that yet because, frankly, I don't want another to-do list. I do, however, have a few vague ideas of things that I want to improve upon in 2019, which I shall put in a list for readability sake (also because I just love lists).
-I would like to move my blog to Wordpress and buy a domain name.
-I would like to be confident about who I am so that I can stop the niggling voices at the back of my brain telling me lies about myself.
-I would like to stop being so self-sufficient and humble myself to trust God more.
-And I suppose it would be nice to double my reading from last year and finish thirty books in 2019. (Okay, this is dangerously close to a goal. Time to stop.)
Pastors and parents talk about stages of life and how some are stages of waiting. Well, I've been walking r e a l l y slowly across that stage for over a year now. I have no idea what any serious aspect of my future looks like, and that's frustrating and scary.
I'm hesitantly optimistic that 2019 holds the answers to some of the questions I asked in 2018. I'm beginning to look forward to heading back to school next week. I've got some great classes and some great people to get back to.