The song I Lived by OneRepublic has been playing on repeat for me… It was stuck in my head tonight, as I kept singing it at dinner. Sure enough, my dear friend Emily started joining me. The song, which speaks on nostalgia and accomplishment, has become my personal anthem for my current stage of transition.

On May 1st I graduated from college.

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Even as I type this I still can’t believe it.

Life has gone in the same rhythm for a long time. Start school in August, go on break around Christmas. You start a new semester after New Year’s and go until the horrific chaos that is final exams. Then there’s Summer Vacation. That’s the cycle.

Every single class, every week, and every year has happened with eyes focused on the next step… that next class, that next test, that next grade. It’s like I’ve always been working towards the inevitable: graduation. And then, well, it happened. It really did.

I am a college graduate. Wow. It’s true. I’m a college graduate. I’m a college graduate.

I’m a sentimental person in case it wasn’t already obvious.

So May 1st was a busy day and it went by so quickly, the only part that was still and very clear was the commencement ceremony. I got to sit with my cap and gown at the USF Sundome, just like how my mom, sister, and cousins had done before me. I got to sit there in awe of everything. I was relieved of two things. The first, was that it was actually happening and I wasn’t dreaming… and the second was that I graduated debt-free, owing absolutely nothing else to this university.

 

Don’t Suffer But Take the Pain

Like the song goes…

And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say
I did it all

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late night study dates

I think of my time at the University of South Florida, both at the Tampa and St. Petersburg campus. I think of every stressful and panicky memory. I think back to always fast-walking through the hallways in order to make it to class, or quickly run an errand, or try to get to my car so I can get to work on time. I think of every all-nighter (there were many) of either studying for an exam or finishing a paper. I think of trying to master my inner technician by fidgeting with my printer to get something printed on my way to class. I think of every nap (more for survival and less for personal pleasure). I think of every overpriced iced coffee drink purchased on campus, then juggling the cup in one hand and laptop/papers/binder in the other. I think of that one time my group stayed at the library until 4 a.m. working on our Advanced PR final book. I think of many nights coming home after a long night of working at a part time job and choosing to work on an essay or assignment instead of sleeping. I think of every worry and every episode of anxiety.

 

The Things That I Did

I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived

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fearless summer missionaries

Well that’s a fun one to sit back and ponder on. I think of sitting in the USFSP library and taking out my stress by watching Tangled on my laptop and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. I remember stumbling across a blog that Jackie Francois posted and being so wooed by how God’s joy was so present in her life. I think of how I sat in that library craving a deep virtuous life. I think of having the freedom to spend 6 weeks in Tiger, Georgia with other holy college aged kids. I think of that summer spent in mud and God wrecking my heart in the most beautiful way possible. I think of falling in love with the New Evangelization. I think of witnessing God’s grace flowing everywhere for the greater glory of His Kingdom. I think of finally getting it: I am more than my GPA. I think of the many people I met that beautiful summer  between the mountains. I think of the community that welcomed me home in Wesley Chapel. I think of the many adventures since then. I think of slap-happy giggles at Walmart after a football game. I think of taking out my stress by exercising my ability to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians with my roommate. I think of two amazing (and completely different) internships that brought skills into fruition. I think of exploring human behavior and open discussions in my core classes. I think
of so many people that I have met and their stories that I have learned. I think of the many joyful souls who have continually motivated me to be the person I was made to be. I think of where I’ve been, everything I’ve done, and where I am.

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With every broken bone, I swear I lived.

The finale of Glee, with old and new faces and the journeys they had.

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