Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 25} The Freshman Diaries

Isn't it funny how the beginning....of anything always filled with the largest learning curve?

My first semester in college felt like that...

I learned how to take notes in a lecture-driven classroom without freaking out.  I literally cassette-tape-recorded every lecture in at least three classes that first semester. I NEVER actually went back to listen to any of them...just the backup plan made me feel better. I abandoned that going into semester two.

I learned how grace was more than just a Sunday school phrase. Loving Jesus from the time you are four years old has its advantages, yet understanding grace is not often one of them. I remember when God revealed this to me, "But for the grace of God, I could be the prostitute on the streets." Romans 7 leading into the well-known Romans 8 verse 1 held revolutionary meaning to me for the first time at eighteen years old. If you have never read that chapter and the first part of chapter eight together before, do yourself a HUGE favor and do that. It's totally life-changing! No condemnation, baby....the gift is RICH and FULL.

I learned how to accept failure. I had applied for what I deemed, the coveted chaplain of a floor position. My chaplain was thrilled. She said I was a shoe-in and gave me a glowing recommendation. Fueled with this knowledge and support, I went to my first interview, confident and sure. A few months later, I got the know the one....the thin one, the pink slip, the Sorry-try-again-next-year letter. And I was crushed. MY chaplain felt terrible for her assurances. But now it was time to deal with rejection and failure. A lesson preparing me for what was to come...

I learned how to persevere. After a challenging first semester with NEW class styles, NEW friendships, NEW part of the world, NEW, well, everything!, this perfectionist came home a bit deflated, especially about grades (not to mention the whole chaplain thing). It was not as easy as it had been in high school. Shocker, right? But now I was, in many ways, on my own. No parents in the dorms with me to stop at my beck and call to teach me a missing puzzle piece in my learning. I can remember calling my dad, in Haiti no less, and crying about Biology and how hard it was to absorb all of the information. I was never a BIG science-y girl anyway so Dad talked me through some study techniques until I calmed down enough to absorb his words. Somehow I made it through with a C I believe in both Biology AND Humanities. The girl who had never received a C in her ENTIRE life for a class!  Now, I got TWO! I was devastated! I mean really and truly and desperately devastated! I cried and moaned and complained to my mom for what seemed like hours on my Christmas break. With her soothing way, she reasoned and cajoled and stroked until finally....

"I just cannot go back, Mom! It is not for me. I failed. I obviously cannot do this work....I must not belong in college!"

I blurted out these barely-understandable words, for probably the twenty-seventh time.

This time, my mom, very calmly, yet firmly, {I wish you could hear/ that voice and face is really effective!} said, "Well, Lindsey, I guess you will have to quit then."

Is she serious?
We are not quitters.
Why would she say that?
Why would I quit?
I have to finish.

And suddenly I knew in that moment with that open door to throw in the towel, that I would not.
I could not.
I actually WANTED to go back.
In spite of everything.
I would live to fight another day.
C's or not.
Popular or friendless.
Accepted or rejected.
I would go on.

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justyncreativechristianmama said... Best Blogger Tips

I can completely relate. It sounds like we are both perfectionists that are too stubborn to quit! I had a similar moment a few weeks ago with my blog (just over a year old), but when I really thought about quitting I knew that I didn't really want to. I wanted to buckle down, get through the tough part and keep fighting! :-) Great post! (By the way, I am the post after yours at Intentional.Me)

Lori McClure said... Best Blogger Tips

"Loving Jesus from the time you are four years old has its advantages, yet understanding grace is not often one of them." So true. Grace be the hardest of gifts to accept. And college is such a great learning time. Loved everything about it - even the mistakes :)

Jennifer Dougan said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Lindsey,

It's nice to stop by here again. Thanks for this glimpse into your freshman year. My oldest will be a college freshman next year ad this gives me good insight to him too. :)

Popping in from Imperfect Prose's link up,

Jennifer Dougan

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