Along with countless other bloggers, here I am reflecting on the year, amazed that 2011 is coming to an end. For many people, this was "just another year," whereas for me, it was the final year in a 4 year season. On December 15th, I walked out of a local elementary school having just completed my final day of student teaching, my final day of undergraduate college. It will all become official on January 8th.
As my final day of college approached, I spent many moments reflecting on the past four years of my life. I feel like I can say these were the best four years of my life. It sounds so cliche to say I found myself, or that I changed so much, in college, but that truly is what happened by the grace of God. Entering community college in August of 2007, I was still a child, scared of what the world would bring. Now, in December of 2011, I am an adult, excited for what God will bring.
I recount the many times God was faithful in sustaining me through a day followed by sleepless nights. I think about the many car rides I shared with friends to school, the many children I got to teach, the many relationships I formed that I didn't deserve.
While I didn't "do college" the way many do, where you sleep through alarms, skip classes, get drunk on the weekends, and sleep with the guy of the week, I am able to look back on college with no regrets. The Lord was so gracious to me spiritually and academically. I believe in academic integrity, so even when it meant a possibility in lost points, I was able to be honest in all assignments, and only by God's goodness were my grades never affected even when there was certainly reason for points to be taken off (such as the time my brother deleted a video I needed and I had to re-record and turn it in late). I don't say this to brag on myself; of my own will, I could not write this testimony today. There were times I was so tempted to tweak my wording so that I was "technically telling the truth" or write an answer that someone said aloud during a test that I shouldn't have heard. But, God always prompted me to be honest, convincing me no grade was worth my integrity. I will graduate with a satisfying GPA, but more importantly, I will graduate with a testimony of God's faithfulness.
During my college years, I met friends that have become the closest and dearest to me. Friends I don't deserve, but have been blessed abundantly by. Friends who have helped me academically and spiritually, who have encouraged me when I was weak, made me laugh when I was stressed, let me cry when I was in the valleys. Friends who didn't give up on me when I was too busy to spend time with them, or when all I did was "take" because I was already "spent" by the time I got together with them.
And above the support of my friends, the support of my family, particularly my parents, was what made college possible. My parents paid for my tuition and let me live at home free of charge, so that my costs were low. Particularly during student teaching, when I was only making 45 dollars a week, they would often float me money to keep me from over-drafting and to make sure I had gas in my tank. They supported me academically. Although I'm an adult, it meant so much to me that they took interest in my academic life and expressed how proud they were of me, and they made sure I always knew that their love was unconditional and not dependent on my school performance.
To everyone who had a part in my college years, whether that means praying for me, being a friend, providing babysitting/housesitting jobs for income, encouraging me, etc., know that I am so thankful for you! I couldn't have looked on these years with the same fondness if it weren't for you.
I wish I had the words to express all my thoughts and gratitude to God for these years. But, since I don't, let me end by saying I look forward to the years ahead living out my calling as a teacher. I look at God's faithfulness to me these past four years, knowing that I will continue to be blessed throughout the job searching process and my years as a teacher. Whenever I'm tempted to doubt God's goodness, faithfulness, or love, I can look back on these years and be reminded of these things.