Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I'm Graduating from Community College

I feel kind of silly doing it. I mean, I just completed my first semester at the university, so why would I go back to graduate from the school where I only completed the first half of my undergraduate degree? Well, because to me, it was more than just a school.

When I remember my time at HCC, I remember how God worked in my life. I remember the fear I had of college. In high school I would dwell on and dread the fast approaching college years, wondering how a shy girl would ever survive. Yes, I even had a mini panic attack one night. I figured it was only four years of my life though, and I could trudge through it, no matter how much I hated it. However, I came to love college. I loved my classmates, my professors, my commute, my campus, my friendships, my experiences; everything. I grew so much as a person and as a Christian.

As I remember my time at HCC, I remember having my Savior attacked by a professor. I remember sitting there, too fearful to defend the One who gave His life for me.

I remember my honors Sociology class with a peculiar mix of people, where I met one of my dearest friends, Amy. I remember the first conversation we had, she asked me if I took a Mother-Daughter self-defense class (I guess I have a twin out there). I hadn't, but from that day on, the ice was broken and as we talked, we learned, pretty much from the beginning of our friendship, that we shared a love for Christ. Since then, we've become closer. She really lives out what it means to be free and forgiven in Christ. I feel I learn more about God and His love every time I'm with her. Few people I know are as real and honest as Amy. Oh, and in that class I think we shared more notes than we took, but we both ended up with A's, so it's all good. ;-)

I remember Biology, a class I shared with my friend Karen and the class where I met my friend Roger. I learned little about biology, but I did learn that God is amazing in how he works. Through Roger I got involved in a house church, and through my time at the house church, I really saw the love of Christ lived out. The church is a family, they love each other so much, yet welcome in strangers as their own kin. The 9 months or so that I went on a regular basis was one of the times in my life that I felt the most in love with God, and I believe God worked through these dear people to encourage me in my faith. I felt so loved. I've gotten busier with school and life and rarely make it to the house church, but when I can make it, I am welcomed back with open arms of love. Oddly enough, that was Roger's only semester at HCC, but I see how God had our paths crossed so that I could meet some amazing people.

I remember my Visual and Performing Arts class and my Interpersonal Communication class; the classes I dreaded the most, but ended up loving the most. I've never had so much fun with school assignments as I did working on a Hawaii culture assignment (VPA) and visiting an elderly care facility (IP Communication). I see how God worked in me through that, to show that He works out everything for my good.

I remember how God through worked college to show me I have nothing to fear. The years I prayed that God would change me and take away my fear of talking to people were answered. The girl who entered HCC in the fall of 2007 is not the same girl who will be graduating tomorrow.

I remember the conversations I had with friends-- the silly and lighthearted to the deep ones that involved tears and seeing God at work. I remember the Campus Christian Life Club meetings and events (especially the Gingerbread house decorating event and the free hot chocolate outreach). I remember the spring fling. I remember my first "school dance" (no dates, just a winter swing dance with friends that I almost didn't go to, but had an amazingly fun time). I remember my professors. I remember barely passing History, getting my first C. I remember having a class with a girl who lost one of her parents, and another class with a woman whose husband had a stroke. The classes surrounded these women with support and I knew I was in a good place if anything happened to me. I remember the "parking game" (which every college commuter should know, ha). I remember my car accidents on the way to school. I remember many late nights of studying. I remember moments of God's grace... over and over and over, never once deserved.

I'm sure I have more memories that I'm just not remembering (what else is new?) at the moment. I am excited to graduate tomorrow, no matter how silly it seems. As I hear my name called and walk across that stage to receive my diploma tomorrow, I will be reminded of all these things and more. I never thought I would come to love a school, especially a college, so much. Yet, HCC carries so many good memories for me, and I am blessed to have had it as a major part of my life for the past 5 semesters.

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