It’s been a hot second since I’ve posted on the blog. Currently, I’m sitting on my cousin’s balcony in Montreal after a 10 day trip to Israel right after graduation. Wild!?!!! I know! I won’t be returning to the States until mid June, so here’s to a summer of travel! (at least at the start)
It’s been a hot second, but it’s time to end the college reflection series I started four years ago with my fourth year reflection. Which is iNsAne, but that’s another topic.
Fourth year was nothing like I thought it’d be. I’m still learning that that’s okay. When life doesn’t match your expectations, it isn’t always a bad thing. There is room for new possibilities to thrive in the death of our expectations.
This Fourth year reflection isn’t necessarily full of lessons throughout my four years–I specifically just looked at this semester, so if you want to get the breadth of what I’ve learned, I’ll link each past semester’s reflection below!
Here are my fourth year lessons:
Recognize that there are seasons and this is one of them
Fourth year is a weird time because you know things are ending. There are signs everywhere: people asking you what are you doing next, preparing for moving, preparing for travel, saying goodbye, etc. It was just more evident to me that this chapter was closing, and that awareness allowed me to be really intentional about who I wanted to spend time with and who I wanted to have conversations with. While I didn’t get to everyone on my list, the point was to be aware enough to make the moves towards spending intentional time together instead of thinking of it in my head with no action.
Some of us have to make resolutions to say NO
I recently finished Shauna Niequist’s book Present not Perfect and she talks about how we really don’t like the word no. In a society that is about production and capitalism, if we’re not producing, we’re not seen as worthy. But in order for me to begin to live a life that reflects my internal values, I’ve got to start saying no. I’ve got to be wiser in my choices and slower to say yes. There are going to be so many opportunities to say yes and we have to be willing to say no to good things in order to say yes to the better thing.
The ironic thing is I’m in Canada RIGHT AFTER being in Israel. If I’m looking for a life of stability, then travel from one place to the next isn’t it. But I did carefully weigh this decision, and I said no before I said yes. Because I do believe in saying no for the better thing (not to be confused with this hopeless journey of always looking for the BEST THING EVER).
If someone doesn’t want you, there is nothing you can do to convince them otherwise
I went through a bit of a heartbreak at the end of May. It taught me A LOT. But the lesson above is the major one. For a long time, I thought I needed to convince people to choose me. Well, it turns out—that’s not how it works and frankly, why would you want someone who has to be convinced to choose you??? Not being chosen by someone isn’t a measure of our worth. We shouldn’t be placing our worth in other people’s hands. Note to self: to be brave in love is a beautiful thing no matter the outcome.
Stop watering dead plants–only God has the power to resurrect
In relation to the above lesson, this one is related. Why do I believe that I’m the one who needs to revive relationships and friendships? Where did that lie stem from? Shauna Niequist’s latest book I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet talks about this, realizing that clinging onto dead things is only restricting the growth of new life. We can let go of old ways of being because we know that there is good around the corner. And we don’t need to conjure up that good. It’s available to us in the small graces of life.
Timing is so darn key
I’ve said this forever and I’ve said it more than ever this semester. Timing is key. The amount of times I’ve run into people that I wouldn’t have if the timing didn’t add is wild. When I was getting out of Lauren’s car and bumping into Lauren (another one). When I missed the bus and walked to work bumping into Mason. When I walked over to 1515 with Karen over a moment that lowkey wrecked me and ran into my friend Mary leaving. The *timing* is astounding. Can’t wait to see all the ways the timing lines up for whatever comes next.
Decisions don’t need to be confirmed for you to make them
I used to think I needed confirmation that my decisions were correct in order to make them, and while confirmation is lovely and feeling peace is so great, it’s even greater to make a decision because you trust it’s going to work itself out anyway. My past self would be glad there’s a teensy bit of growth in the decisionmaking area.
I’m falling more in love with the idea of staying rooted
I probably will write a whole blog post on how this theme has popped up over my lifetime, but in reading Daniel Grothe’s The Power of Place (man, graduating college feels synonymous with reading for pleasure again *chef’s kiss*), he talked about staying in a place for a long time is yielding stability that our society no longer has because of #wanderlust and this desire to move and be where the action is. Anyway, after four year of moving around UVA and feeling how temporary living there is, I’m reading to sink my roots somewhere for a little while longer. I definitely have a big dream of moving abroad in my 20s, so I won’t stay rooted forever, but it’s nice to look forward to the stability that’s coming (when I have a full time job and a desire to be somewhere specific).
Noticing the premature blooms means the story isn’t over yet
This is easier to do when it comes to flowers than it comes to our lives. In fact, I’m a clinger. I’m a stayer. I need way more convincing that the story IS over. That said, it’s nice to take note of all the things blooming around you, even if at first they bloom in short bursts. The real bloom is just getting started.
Letting go is a practice
A dear friend sent me this Morgan Harper Nichols quote and it brought me to a tweet I wrote about the heartbreak situation that was yet to come in December.
I tend to dwell on what is not (and what is no longer) for me. But there are bigger and better things coming, and when we believe that, we can relinquish what is not ours to hold and allow space to receive what is.
Wowza, that is the last reflection. Fourth year reflection finished! I’m shocked! I have LOVED this reflection series. And maybe I’ll recreate it in my next season of life, or maybe I’ll go back to school to continue it, who knows?
If first year me saw into the future what college had for me all along, I’d would have been utterly shocked. It’s been the most surprising journey—literally nothing went how I expected it too. And that’s okay. Sometimes the best things come in surprising packages.
Dear friends, thanks for following along! I always say readers, but you really are friends, joining me in the journey that is life. I love studying it with you! Till next time!