Hey friends! This post is a tad later than in years past, but in between taking time off the blog for finals and being sick and other posts that were more time sensitive needing to take priority, this fourth year first semester reflection was pushed back a little. But alas, we have arrived. If you like reflecting and looking back, or in this case, looking at someone else’s reflection, then this post is for you. It may be one of my favorite posts to write, but it happens so seasonally that I never get to celebrate it in the way I want to. So much of this blog is built up on sharing my reflections on my college journey and experience, and I feel so lucky and grateful to share it with you all. Thanks for reading!
Related Post: Reflection on my third year of college
Now let’s get into my reflection on fourth year first semester!
It’s okay to have a different fourth year than most of your friends
Fourth year first semester was full to the brim. I didn’t anticipate it being this way and actually talked to a friend about this phenomenon we were both experiencing. I meandered onto my friend after walking to get lunch on a quiet Saturday and we just talked about this pervasive feeling of everyone else starting off their fourth year relaxing and having less worries in general. His schedule was super full and mine was too.
Somehow I packed a lot in, even though I had a cut back on some things. I had experienced some frustration with my roommates, who all seemingly, just had plenty of time to do things together but my days were full in advance. They wanted to do things the next day but my next day was already full. Anyway, this point is just to say it’s okay to have a different fourth year than the one you were expecting.
Have a gap of time once a week to breathe
I may want to write a whole blog post on this at some point. But seriously have at least one hour a week of no work, no scheduling time with other people to just breathe. I used this time to eat lunch and catch up on podcasts, to reflect, to dream, to pray. Only a few times did I meet with other people, but that was a rarity. The key point of this was the consistency of this time. If it’s an hour randomly every week, it doesn’t mean as much. This set aside time became one of my favorite unintentional joys of this semester.
Related Post: Reflection on my Third Year First Semester
Just showing up is 90% of the battle
Just a lesson learned. So often we think that we need to be prepared for whatever life throws at us, that a wealth of experience is required, but just showing up is 90% of the battle. This refers mainly to my faith life. I truly believe God honors our participation, but I think this rings true with friends. The practice of showing up again and again will grow something more than efforts that are few and far between.
I have really bad boundaries + I need to set them more firmly to live a life connected to my Creator
This is a recurring theme on the blog. Just read this post. There are definitely times this year when I’ve leaned into my faith a ton and others where I’ve faltered. This semester was more of a faltering semester. It was a semester of trying but also failing and trying not to judge myself for failing. The Father sees my efforts. I just know I can be better and I want to be better. I will talk more about this in my New Year’s post but I definitely want more margin in my life and consistency.
Related Post: Reflection on Second Year
Friendship is really darn sweet
I just had people show up in my life this semester that we either began friendship or got closer. And then there were unexpected friends who just emerged as time went on, and I’m grateful for my friends—they’ve listened to all my rambles, the self-deprecating thoughts, the dad humor (as my roommate calls it), they’ve given me hugs and prayers and presence—and I’m just a grateful gal. Friendship in college has been hard for me, and it is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. But it’s still been sweet. And that’s the mystery of life.
Asking the questions really matters
If you know me, I’m probably asking tons of questions. That’s kind of the reason this blog exists. It’s half reflecting and half answering questions with the knowledge I have at the moment. It was kind to have my boss’s boss’s boss Bill tell me that he sees this gift in me. Asking questions. And it’s not necessarily a wow, what a great drawing ability or that’s an awesome voice, but it is a gift that sat unrecognized by me until he said something.
Questions like what the heck is prayer? And what’s the difference between something being wrong and it being hard? And how do we prayerfully discern vocation? And how do you know God is calling you to something? And what does women in ministry look like? These questions all matter. So it matters that we ask them. I wrote the quote below in my Notes app in June. Some food for thought.
Perhaps we are the questions we don’t have answers to more than we are the answers we cling to in the mystery.– my Notes app
Related Post: Reflection on my second year first semester
Learning about money was super helpful and kind of overwhelming
Took a personal finance class and along with my kinesiology class this semester—those two were probably the most helpful classes for post-grad life. Learned a TON in personal finance. Budgeting, buying a car, a house, loans, taxes and how that works, investing in stocks, investing in bonds, investing in alternative assets. Have my money habits changed? Not yet. But 2022 is where I will begin to put some things into action!!!
Not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly
The above point is taken from 12 Monkeys, a show I finished binging earlier this year. At first it mainly applied to some dreams I had (actual dreams) and how they weren’t reality, and while I think dreams can be signs, I think these dreams were just ruminations playing out in my subconscious. But honestly, this point is bigger than that. There were weekends that I had planned that ended up being stressful and more glorious weekends that just flowed like God himself had blessed them perfectly (He probably did). Not everything you expect becomes reality. And that’s okay.
This semester brought A TON into my life. It was my last fall final day of class. I signed up to do a thesis – big yikes energy on that one. Spent a ton of time listening to Chris Renzema, Jeremy Camp and Bethany Barnard. Ate yogurt parfaits and drank matcha lattes. Had no work Fridays where I did 0 school work and hung out with dear people and my place of work. Started Sunday Summary on the ‘Gram. Learned to live with roommates in close quarters. Had a few trips and spontaneous adventures.
Related Post: Reflection on my first year of college + Tips for freshmen year
Here’s the footage!
Thanks for following along with me in this reflection – it was an absolutely wild one. If you want to hear more about what I learned in 2021, stay tuned for the next blog post, friends!
What does your reflection consist of? What has this season of life taught you?