The semester isn’t entirely over – I still have three more finals to take (Curse you, finals schedule, for making me have two finals on Friday). Yet it pretty much is done, and with the minimal time that I have not spent studying, I’ve been sitting around and thinking about how much has changed since I was an itty-bitty freshman, and even how different I am than when I arrived earlier this year in August.
[I’ve added a ton of links to this post. Most of them are links to my own prior blog posts in which I discussed something I mention here, others are links to Hope pages for more information on an organization or program!]
My semester began very positively. I was an Orientation leader, and saw it as a great opportunity to try to make our group of freshmen feel welcome and at home. I’d say that it helped me kickstart a pretty good year.
I went into classes, and have done pretty well in them. I’ve strengthened relationships with people I knew before, and have made new ones as well. I went to, most likely, every SAC event held, reunited with the beautiful women in my bible study, and went apple AND pumpkin picking, among other things.
I came into this year thinking I wanted to continue with the education program, but toward the end of the semester I decided that it wasn’t for me. I wrote a novel in November, got accepted to the Vienna study-abroad program for this May, got offered to do research in June, got a new job, and now I’m just ready to go home.
But if I were to reflect on one major change in my life, despite everything that has happened semester, it would be the change in my faith. All of my life I have gone to church and been a Christian, but I was never challenged or pushed forward in my faith. Freshman year, I attended Chapel occasionally and only went to the Gathering a couple of times the entire year. This year, I decided to be intentional with my faith, and that choice has caused me to grow a massive amount in this area of my life. I’ve kept a journal to take notes in during Chapel and the Gathering, which has really helped.
I’m not done growing in my faith, not nearly to that point (And I wonder, do we ever reach that point?), but I’m much more satisfied with my relationship with God this semester than I have been all of my life. I owe that to Hope’s lovely Campus Ministries, and the freedom to have the choice in my religious practices here at Hope. Without the ability to decide for myself that my faith was something I wanted to pursue more deeply, I don’t think I would have come as far.
A lot has happened this semester. I’m sure a lot will happen next semester as well. All I know is that we keep on keeping on here at Hope; That train, blaring it’s horn outside your window, is still going, even in the dead of the night, at two in the morning when all you want is a little bit of decent shut-eye. Next semester, and the four more semesters after that, will be the same way.
Here’s a slideshow of some photos from my semester:
I’m hoping to write more blog posts over break while I’m at home, but if things get busy or I forget, then I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and/or Happy Holidays.
Thanks for reading,