Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sudden Changes

Well it seems as though I've been caught up in the hectic spirit of life again.  This time I believe I have reason to justify my lack of blogging.  I successfully (and surprisingly smoothly!) moved into college at the University of Pittsburgh three weeks ago! As many people probably understand from prior experience, college is a huge time of change in every area imaginable and unimaginable.  A whole wave of emotions has flooded my life over the past weeks and I felt the need to pour everything out.  So here we go...

Firstly, before leaving the comforts of home I expected to not be homesick whatsoever.  I've been away from home plenty of times before and experienced being responsible of myself in many aspects.  However, almost instantly after my parents left, I felt completely empty.  I never knew the comfort of being able to just be in a normal place was so powerful.  As the week went on, I was still in the mindset that I was just away at "camp" and would be going home soon.  But I was strongly mistaken.  I was completely thrown into a whirlwind when I experienced my first weekend in college.  I realized this would be my new "home" and I would have to adapt.  Luckily, after three weeks I am now adapted to my new room, neighbors, and amenities.  Surprisingly, I'm headed home this weekend but am feeling as if I'll miss this beautiful city.  

First lesson learned:  You never realize how much you love your family until you can't be in their presence every day.  I am truly blessed with wonderful parents and fantastic siblings.

Second change; after a busy summer of life-changing experiences including two amazing mission trips, a week of worship at Creation, and reconnecting with amazing friends, I did a lot of thinking.  On my Brockton mission trip, I did a lot of thinking about who I am as a person.  During one of the programs, we were asked to carve our biggest flaws into a piece of wood.  We were then given a strip of sand paper and encouraged to smooth out all of our roughness.  I began by writing negative attitude on one side.  I quickly sanded the side away but then sat and thought about what God was trying to put on my heart.  After reflection, I wrote the word "myself" on the other side of the wood.  I was so frustrated with the person I was.  A person who gave up too easily, complained about everything, couldn't keep her ground, and didn't serve every person with complete compassion.  I broke down into tears and ended up not sanding away the word.  After talking with some inspirational people, I now realize that I can start over whenever I want to.  And I realized that now was the perfect time.  I was entering into an environment where no one knew who I was.  I could be the person that I wanted to be for so long.

So I worked at the goal when arriving here in August.  I was going to be a more compassionate, loving person to everyone I met.  However, I unfortunately got distracted by trying to impress people from home.  I wanted them to know that I 'm different - different in the fact that I'm more "fun", more "carefree".  After an eventful, emotional weekend, I realized that I'm really not that type of person.  I hurt others and personally hurt myself in the process.  

Second lesson learned: Changing yourself to win people over is never effective.  You end up losing to them and yourself.

So after all of my ramblings, I hope to provide a slight bit of inspiration or warning to always stay true to yourself.  Losing an identity that you have worked so hard to create is truly an unpleasant experience.  I'm glad I caught myself before I went off the deep-end.  But I plan on keeping the following quote close to me so that I don't fall under the pressures of college again.  I hope I can eventually sand off those rough words from my piece of wood and begin to be made new in Christ's spirit.

"Identity is the essential core of who we are as individuals, the conscious experience of the self inside." - Gershen Kaufman

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