“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” That is one of my favorite quotes from The Office said in the series finale. Before college, I had never really “ended up” anywhere on my own. But, when I moved to San Diego for school, I was completely and utterly alone. Of course, I knew that going into it and was fine with it. When my parents moved me in, I did not shed a tear and waved goodbye with a smile, ready for the adventure that was about to begin. You never really know what to expect when you go into a place where you know absolutely no one or anything about the area. I was completely unaware of the experiences God had planned for me, but nonetheless, I was never worried. It took a lot of trust, faith, and unconditional love to get through the past year, and I could not be more grateful for the best year of my life.
Let’s start with my roommate. I know I have talked about her in previous posts, but wow– I really did luck out with the best roommate. It is amazing how she was my 100% match on just a 5 question survey; it truly was a God thing. She was there for me all the time and I could always rely on her in times of need. I am so thankful for all the laughs, tears, and memories we shared, but most of all, I am so thankful I had a best friend to come home to every night and talk for hours. It did not matter that we didn’t have the same close friends or classes, but we lived so well together and cared so much for each other. It may just be a room, but we made a home out of it. We got to be ourselves in there, made so many memories, and were able to be vulnerable. At the end of the year, Katie kept saying the Winnie the Pooh quote, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” We were so lucky to have gotten matched together by “chance” and will forever cherish our time together. Next year, we won’t be living together, but I know we will hang out as often as possible and our friendship will last a lifetime.
Also, how lucky am I that I have a friend at school from the same home state as me? She is not just a friend, but a best friend and another friend for a lifetime. Next year, I am living with her and we are also traveling to Florence, Italy together in January (along with a bunch of other USD students)! I know God had a plan for me to find someone who I was able to relate with and feel “close to home” with. She is my year-round friend, my go-to in any situation, and someone I could not have gotten through freshman year without. Luckily, she is just a quick drive away this summer and I cannot wait to make more memories living together next year.
One place that I unexpectedly made friends and found a home in is my sorority. That may not seem surprising to you, but I am just really not the sorority girl type. I was on edge about going through rush because I thought it was a demeaning process and would make me feel bad about myself. However, I found that once I was myself and got into some good conversations, I was able to find people that made me feel valued and people I looked up to. In the end, I did not get my first choice for a sorority, but my second choice was a pretty dang good one. At first, I was very upset and confused as to why that specific chapter did not want me as much as I wanted them. But, I did not know many girls in my sorority and have met so many more people because of it. After all, I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I made one of my best friends through this sorority and I honestly do not know what I would have done without her second semester. Our relationship deepened with more one-on-one time we spent together and she told me about her faith journey. We both share the same values and goals as wanting to grow in Christ, so I know that is going to be a goal of ours next year. I am so grateful to have found a trusting best friend in one of my sisters.
During second semester, I also started going to a Christian church off campus with my friend, Ina. She had some struggles during the semester and I tried multiple ways to encourage her, but the only way I knew best was through the Word. We went to church each Sunday morning by the beach and it was the best way to start the day/ week. She thanked me for getting her more involved in her faith again and we found joy singing together in the little church in Ocean Beach. We brought our friend, Jimmy, towards the end of the semester too and he loved it so much that he invited another one of our guy friends to come next year. It will be our little Sunday tradition next year (followed by a yummy brunch in San Diego of course). The more I am able to find people who are seeking the same things I am, the more comfortable I am knowing that I am in this place for a reason.
All in all, San Diego has been overwhelmingly good to me. I could not picture myself at any other school. Although I have had my share of mess-ups and lows, I do not regret a single thing. I learned so much from being on my own and holding myself accountable for my actions. I know I did not wind up here by mistake; it is more proof that God is working for me all the time and has perfect plans for me. Whenever I felt lost or confused, I reminded myself of John 13:7, “Jesus replied, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.'” In my life, I have experienced hardships and struggles that I thought were completely undeserving, but I realized later that God was teaching me a lesson through each one of them. I continue to delight myself in my weaknesses for when I am weak, I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Each time I prayed for help and guidance or a friend, God brought me that. He listened to each one of my prayers, even though I already have way more than I could have ever asked or imagined. My friends and family were always there for me at home when I needed them too, and the short amounts of time spent at home made it that much sweeter. It baffles me that I am already finished with year one of college when I feel like I just moved in yesterday. I cannot even put into words how grateful for the people that I got to make a home out of San Diego with. It is a place that holds my whole heart, that makes me take pleasure in the smallest of things, and that opens my eyes to the world around me as well as God’s constant loving presence. I offer myself up to him each day, knowing that he will use me as a light for those who need it and trusting him to guide me through it all.
I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.