Wow! It’s hard for me to even imagine that I’m actually here! I just finished my first semester of freshman year at Azusa Pacific University (APU), and my oh my it has been a whirlwind! These past four months have equally been some of the best months of my life and some of the most overwhelming months of my life! The Lord has definitely gone above and beyond all my expectations, and I have been blown away by His kindness! But don’t get me wrong! This does not mean that my first semester has been a walk in the park!
Back in August when I was preparing to go to school, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I was terrified of it! I was getting ready to move out of state to a place where I would know no one. Not only was I moving away from everything familiar, I also realized that I would have to start over with friendships and mentors, and the thought of this simply terrified me.
That first month consisted of a lot of introductions and first impressions. I met SO many people during Welcome Weekend! My head was just spinning with names and random facts about other APU students. It seemed like I was hanging out with different people every night! I got closer to the girls living on my hall, the girls from my dance team, and all the people I met through APU events. It honestly felt like summer camp for those first couple of weeks!
About a month into the school year, I began to settle down with a friend group, and I am learning that this is extremely rare! I had been told that most people don’t find their close friends until about sophomore year, but by God’s grace, I met and befriended the most incredible people! Throughout this semester we have had deep conversations while hammocking at 3am. We’ve gone to the beach for bonfires, driven into LA at the crazy hours of the night, had many dinners at in-n-out, chick-fil-a, & raising canes. We’ve studied/done homework together (yes, mom, I promise I actually do homework!). We drive around town with no destination in mind, watch so many movies & shows, play random games together, and simply do life with one another.
These people have stepped in for me when my family could not. Within the first few weeks of school, my car battery died, and goodness knows I had no idea what to do about it! My family couldn’t help me (because that’s a little hard to do from a state away haha), so my sweet friends were kind enough to step in when they couldn’t. They have supported me at all my dance performances and have been there through all of life’s celebrations and all of life’s difficulties.
My friends and I have also found a great church close by! Every Sunday my car is filled with several students, and we all go to church together! This church is one that speaks gospel truth and engages in meaningful ministry. I’m so excited to have already found a church family to be involved with!
Having this established friend group is a huge part of what has made my college experience so great, but as I said earlier this does not take away from the difficulties of living so far from home. Adjusting to life outside of my family has been hard! I totally miss my deep conversations with my dad (& I really miss his hugs!!). I miss being able to recap every day with my mom as soon as I get home and going on the most random adventures with my sister.
It’s been difficult in ways I would not have thought. For example, being sick in college was more difficult than I would have imagined. My mom was not there to remind me to take medicines/vitamins. She couldn’t make me soup (or my favorite… a grilled cheese :)) My birthday, while super fun and exciting, was also difficult. I didn’t wake up to hugs from my family or a candle in whatever I was eating for breakfast that day, and I didn’t get to have a birthday dinner with them that night.
Adjusting to this newness has been difficult for sure, but there’s still reason to celebrate God’s goodness. I certainly miss my “normal”, but I’m also loving my new normal. Everyday I wake up and get ready with my roommate, go to classes that I find really interesting, practice with my dance team later in the day, and hang out with my friends all night!
This newness has been a good thing. Difficult, but oh so good. Overall, my college experience has been the absolute best! Even in the hard things, God has been so faithful. My friends are better than I could have ever imagined, I was introduced to my so sweet & so thoughtful boyfriend, my professors and other leaders at APU have been intentional to take care of me, I love my major (psychology- with a minor in christian ministries), I have found a wonderful church, and I am learning so much about who God has created me to be and what He is calling me to do.
The biggest takeaway from this semester has been to trust that the Lord’s plan is always best. This semester is not at all what I imagined. If you asked me a few years ago about my college plans, I probably would have told you I’m staying close to home. But alas the Lord had bigger and better plans for me. My faith has been stretched as I ventured into this new season. The Lord has gone above and beyond all my expectations! I just needed to trust Him (;