Here’s to Freshman Year

I’m writing this early, as I still have dead week and finals left. I’m about to get (a little too) stressed, but I am overwhelmed with the last 10 months of my life, and couldn’t wait until after finals to reflect. I knew I wanted to write something at the end of my freshman year, something to document a whirlwind of months, but I didn’t know how I wanted to do it. I enjoyed the list concept that I concluded my first semester with, but BuzzFeed has now made lists extremely mainstream. Since I’m refraining from a list and massively lacking creativity, I’m just going to start typing.

One last preface: I actually do not understand how it is almost over. I feel like I’ve been here for a couple months, maybe one semester tops. I cannot believe that I have to move out in two weeks (I will always love you, Ridgecrest East), so here’s to the best year I could never imagine and some well worthy thanks.

Here’s to a freshman year too good to possibly write, but my stubbornness will try. Here’s to the late nights and early mornings; to being too nerdy to skip class, but too exhausted to concentrate, and therefore catching up on last night’s events via Instagram. Here’s to studying harder than you ever knew possible to still only get a B; to being exasperated and stressed, frazzled and on your knees looking up, to having beautiful, gracious friends swoop in and save you. To the girls who have become better than any Prince Charming, and instead of whisking me away to a ball, they whisk me to Sonic (the true way to my heart) at any hour of the night. Here’s to the friends who drop everything to help you, to my Pi Beta Phi girls, to the friends who have become family, to the ones that you are sure you’ve known longer than a year, and to the ones who speak to you, but more importantly to your heart.

Here’s to the friends who come to the emergency room, dry your tears, hold your clammy hand as you scream, and relay it all in a totally calm fashion to your parents. And on that note . . . (if you know anything about me, you can probably guess what’s coming) . . . here’s to tripping and falling, face-planting and dislocating joints, only to realize you really really need to slow down sometimes; to learning that busy doesn’t always mean better, and breathing is not optional. Here’s to penmanship like a 6th grade boy, explaining a story 500 times, and reassuring _________ that you really were not intoxicated when it happened, that you’re truly just not blessed with coordination. Here’s to walking by that curb every day wondering what went wrong, and to still not being over it. (I’m working on moving on, I promise.)

Here’s to appeasing, but not people-pleasing; to learning when to stand up and when to sit down. Here’s to saying no to chances you used to dream of, because you know God is better than any opportunity the world can offer you. Here’s to the strength that can look like weakness and running to the arms of your Savior, when it looks like you’re really just running. Here’s to realizing that positions won’t love you back, titles are simply surface-level, and passions penetrate deeper than anything else; to slowly learning that my plan may not be THE plan, but Jesus humors me sometimes and let’s me think otherwise.

Here’s to waking up to your roommate walking down the hall at the crack of dawn sloshing in rain boots, for you to realize your bedroom has become the Mississippi River; to clinging to your bed and refusing to move, because it’s early in the morning and you think an inch of water puts you in critical danger. (Okay, not really, but my beloved RCE did flood.) Here’s to the resulting slumber parties, the countless times you promise you are going to study but end up talking; to all of your friends living within 20 minutes of you.

Here’s to crashing date parties and swaps, swinging from fraternity’s rafters, eating ice cream for dinner (multiple nights in a row) and screaming “Sweet Home Alabama” with everything you have; to the game days, to being told that pom-poms are called shakers, and to telling someone for the thousandth time that you are not a Yankee. Here’s to eating disturbing amounts of biscuits, to knowing that if your mom saw your room should would cringe, to wondering how the washer takes all of your socks, and to realizing that you’re the only college kid that still flosses their teeth every night (you’re welcome, Dr. Koren).

Here’s to the opportunities you couldn’t dream up, people you don’t know how you’ve lived without, and a loving Lord you’ve seen move in unfathomable ways; to the seniors who touched my life in more ways than they’ll know, to being inspired and in awe to be in your peers’ presence. Here’s to being late to award ceremonies . . . like really late . . . and to being flat-out honored to be in the same vicinity as your role models. Here’s to giving advice that you’re probably ( . . . definitely) not qualified to give, but trying anyways; to praying so much that you feel like you’ve done a full cardio work-out.

Here’s to a loving, beautiful family, and to missing the 513 more than you knew possible; to knowing that everything in your past was purposeful and planned. Here’s to knowing that my true title is Daughter of the King, and everything after that is stupendous, but also secondary. To feeling so undeserving and thankful beyond words.

So thank you to everyone who made the last 10 months of my life impossible to even dream up. To the friends for the unfiltered advice, raw heart-to-hearts, undeserved respect, and uncanny faith–for the encouragement, car rides, food, and support that I will never be able to repay. Thank you to my friends back home. Thank you for staying in touch, for letting me call you when I’m struggling, for prayers, stories, genuine interest, and love: you all will always be my rocks. Thank you to Presidents, Advisors, Execs and Deans–who have taken a chance on me, an interest in my life, and have shown me grace in 100 ways. Thank you to the sibs, Zach and Soph, who keep me grounded, make me laugh, and make me unbelievably proud to have the last name of Boden. Thank you to parents who send flowers and cards, who care about me more than I can wrap my head around, and who know that a resume does not encompass who you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me, believing in me, and loving me better than I deserve.

Thank you to a Lord who provides. To Jesus, who I see everywhere I turn. To the man who rescued me, reassured me, and restored me. To The Lord, who qualifies the called, and doesn’t call the qualified. Thank you Jesus for Good Friday and for a cross that heals everything broken. For a suffering so gruesome and painful, that I am brought to my knees quivering. Jesus, thank you for life and fulfillment like I never imagined. You are better than my greatest dreams, and greater than my best days.

And if you made it to here, thank you! The fact that you spent your time reading this means so much to me.

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