Category Archives: Senior Year

Reformatting!

I’ve finally made pages for the different categories! Not all of them, because I didn’t care to revisit some of the older ones, but some of the highlights (I might make a page for ‘To Be Determined’ since a lot of interesting stuff happened in those posts).

I also made a new page, entitled “Spiritual Friendship”. This one doesn’t have any stuff from previous posts on friendship but instead will feature some new thoughts on the topic. Anyway, hopefully this makes my blog easier to consume and more visually appealing. It also makes it easier for me to read things from different times in my life, which is very fun/enlightening.

Senior Year

I realize now that I don’t have much to say about senior year. That’s not because nothing has happened – that’s certainly not true – it’s just because almost everything that has happened has been chronicled on this blog. So I don’t need to reminisce, I’ll just reread old blog posts.

I was just thinking about something that really frustrated me about most of senior year, something I won’t share here because I don’t know how to put it into words. I guess it wasn’t really a senior year frustration though. More like a life frustration. In any case, senior year had its highs and lows with way more highs at the end than lows. Reunions and commencement capped off a generally OK year, as did some final college chill sessions with JMac and Faith, people I wish I’d gotten to know better during my time at Princeton.

So I’ll end this post, this chapter/era of my life, with some things that have been really encouraging to me recently.

A word of advice from a 100-year old woman: “You will never cease to be amazed at how quickly life passes you.”

A verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:24: He who called you is faithful, he will surely do it.

A song from Laura Story: Blessings

I guess I’ll have to figure out a new category for my next posts :P.

Junior Year

Oh junior year, what should I say about you? You brought me my first encounter with independent work, my first separation from my freshman/sophomore year friends, and my first falling out with a friend. Oh the memories!

Junior year was probably the most different for me because it was unexpected. Unlike freshman year which was expectedly different, junior year proved unfamiliar in ways that I couldn’t have guessed. For whatever reason, I saw my friends from freshman/sophomore year less and I saw the friends I had made the year before much more. It wasn’t bad at all to hang out with my new friends more, I just didn’t know I’d be hanging with my old friends less.

Funny enough, this was the year I met people I wish I would’ve made more of an effort to get to know. There are some people at Princeton I wish I hadn’t met or spent considerable time with, mostly because when I think about it now, it all feels empty and useless. There are some dinners I wish I hadn’t had and some conversations I wish I had never started. Like I said in my freshman year post, that’s one of my biggest regrets about my time at Princeton. But there are also some people I wish I had gotten to know better sooner.

Of course, I can only say this because I know them better now but I still can’t help but wish I had known them better before too! The reason this comes up in my Junior year post is because this was the year I decided I wasn’t going to befriend any new people. I decided I had all the friends I needed and anyone else would just be overkill (I like to regulate the number of people I befriend partially because I can be a good friend to a lot of people or I can be a great friend to a few people and I’d rather be the latter). Needless to say, my philosophy about who I needed to befriend was proven wrong – as a great deal of my philosophies are – and I met some really amazing people my junior year but I didn’t allow myself to have the best time with them because I was too busy worried about other things. Only God knows what those other things were but they were obviously super important to me at the time.

I’m surprisingly sleepy. I may edit this post tomorrow. In any case, I know now that I should start tomorrow’s post at not-11 pm.

Thoughts on Sophomore Year

Sophomore year was a little more of a blur for me and it’s closer to midnight than I’d like, so this will be a shorter post.

As I think back to my second year at Princeton, I realize that it was kind of bookended by important communication moments but I won’t start there. I’ll start at the beginning.

The first part of sophomore year began with me befriending my senior year roommate and thus starting one of the most important relationships I’d have in my college career. That was generally true of sophomore year. I had deeper, more fulfilling friendships with people and I started to figure out some stuff. But that didn’t come without some expense.

Halfway through the fall semester of my sophomore year, I made a pretty bad communication decision. Those people I had hung out with freshman year that I didn’t really like had become the people I disliked but I didn’t choose the best time to share that with my friends. My friend was now dating one of them and I just couldn’t stand to be around him. During midterm week, my friend visited my room and I told her how I had been feeling. She appreciated my honesty but not my timing which had some negative repercussions for our friendship. They weren’t long-term repercussions but I did feel pretty dumb and selfish for giving her somewhat stressful info during the already stressful time of midterms (I never did really get good at not doing that).

The year went pretty smoothly from there with not many more highs or lows. There weren’t many more momentous times though it was generally pleasant. Like I said, I befriended the best friends I would have at Princeton that year so that was pretty good but I can’t really remember stand out moments from that year. However, I do remember the moment of good communication that came towards the end of the year.

Another friend of mine had recently ended a courting/dating relationship with this guy who went on to date someone else. The relationship was never really great – I don’t think either of them handled it properly given their intentions – but it had taken up most of my friend’s freshman year. In any case, it ended on a pretty sour note with the guy emailing her a “break-up” – as much as you can break up after not being boyfriend and girlfriend – and ignored her the following year.

All of sophomore year (and parts of junior year, as well) my friend was kind of plagued by this bad break up. I guess she felt like it came out of nowhere and there was no closure since he had just emailed his goodbye. So, without being too involved in other people’s business, I talked to the guy and expressed my concern with how things ended. He never spoke to my friend to clear things up or anything but it was cool to know that just my words had meant a lot to her. It was also important for me because I think it’s important to stick up for people you love, as much as you can.

Of course, there were other highlights and lowlights of that year (room drawma comes to mind) but in ten minutes it will be tomorrow so this will have to be sufficient for the day.

Tomorrow: Junior Year Baby!

Thoughts on Freshman Year

Today was graduation and as I lined up next to the women I befriended four years ago, I thought about how awesome freshman year was.

That year was just amazing. For the first time, I had close friends that I could really count on. It wasn’t that I hadn’t experienced anything like that in high school, it was just that I hadn’t ever experienced it to that extent. Meeting Steph and Nat, I was amazed that I could find people so similar to me and yet so very different.

I distinctly remember one time freshman year when Steph and I were walking around campus at night (we were probably leaving Murray-Dodge, a place we hung out in often). Throughout the course of the conversation, one of us remarked about how crazy it was that the year was moving so quickly. This was in November. But even then, we felt the Princeton experience flying out from under us. We made the most of that year of course, but I’ll never forget that moment of complete clarity and consciousness.

Most of my memories of freshman year took place at the couches in the back of the Mathey dining hall. We would eat there basically every day and just talk for hours and have a good time. It really was a great freshman year experience. When I left my friends at dinner I would go spend countless hours with my roommate and hallmates. Part of me wants to say that we wasted so much time but the other part of me knows that that time was never really wasted. We spent it learning about each other, playing games, eating meals, debating philosophical concepts, pulling pranks and developing inside jokes. We had the best time. I think that was my perfect introduction to Princeton. If my freshman year had looked like any of my other years, my Princeton experience would not have been as great. But meeting new people, staying up until 4 am and recording dumb videos was honestly the best way I could have spent that year of my life.

The one regret I have about freshman year – and my subsequent years at Princeton – was that I didn’t always do what I wanted to do, especially in relation to social scenarios. I would often have a Mathey couch dinner with Steph’s roommates and friends whom I didn’t particularly like. Instead of just declining to hang out with those folks, I would stay put and say nothing, secretly dreading the interactions we would have. These eventually led to more contentious relationships with these people in my later years at Princeton and that’s something I wish I had stopped in its tracks. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve learned how to avoid these situations. Even this year, I found myself hanging out with people I didn’t particularly like because they were with the people I did like. Of course, there’s something to be said for growing to like people or just sucking up your pride and preconceptions to be able to enjoy someone’s company for a short period. But honestly, those scenarios haven’t been the reality for me. In any case, I just wish I would have spent less time with people I didn’t like so that they would not have become people I disliked.

All in all, freshman year was a great year for me. But stay tuned, because it gets even better!

Tomorrow’s post: thoughts on Sophomore Year

Failure and Reminiscing

Over the past two days of graduation (graduation is a three day event at Princeton) I’ve heard a lot about failing and reminiscing. In the spirit of graduation, I want to spend the next week failing and reminiscing (failing to reminisce, reminiscing about failing) about my past four years at Princeton. THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN.

Before coming to Princeton, I didn’t fail, at least not in important ways. I’ve written a few posts before about failure so I’ll try not to repeat myself here. Basically, it wasn’t until coming to Princeton that I realized how amazingly I could fail at things. In fact, I’m still reminded of my failure at all these graduation events. But as the Baccalaureate speaker reminded us, if your uniform’s not dirty, you haven’t been in the game. That’s something I’ve learned these four years but it’s been a fantastically painful experience. Failure seems scary and debilitating. It’s unexciting and unpleasant. But I’ve failed so much at Princeton. And honestly, all the times I’ve failed have made me more appreciative of my successes.

I won’t lie and say that every time I failed I did so with a smile and a more realistic perspective on life. I eventually got there but it wasn’t before the tears and thoughts of self-doubt, the frustration and disillusionment, and the irreparable blow to my pride. So as I proceed to reminisce about my last four years of Princeton, I want to be totally honest. The good thing about reunions/graduation weekend is that it fills you with so much love for this time of your life that it’s difficult to be harsh towards the University. In other words, whereas two weeks ago, my review of Princeton would have been mostly scathing with a few bright spots,  these past few days have evened me out to the point where I can talk about all the things that I love about this place, and the things that I’ll miss so very dearly.

The main thing that brought me to this place is a series of voicemails. I’m not a hoarder but I’m pretty sentimental and so I like to hold on to things that remind me of people and places. So when people leave me nice/funny/cutesy voicemails, I like to keep them. (It’s a little sad that in a few weeks I’ll have a new phone and these voicemails will be gone. That’s only a little sad though, because my phone is horrible and I trust my friends and family to leave me a new batch of nice/funny/cutesy voicemails.)

I was listening to these voicemails the other day and they brought so much joy to my heart. I have one from almost all of my close friends and family members. They only go as far back as two years ago (when I got the phone) but they’re all from different times in my Princeton career. And they’re all happy. And they make me happy. I guess sometimes, when you’re in a bad place in life, it’s easy to convince yourself that your life was always bad. When I’m lonely, it’s easy to believe I’ve always been lonely. But listening to those voicemails, I realized that just isn’t true. It reminds me that there was a time, even if it was only a moment, when life was just good. And knowing that makes me cry tears of joy. Because even if I feel a little bit like I’m failing right now, it’s only because I’ve played the game long enough to get my uniform dirty. And playing will always be infinitely better than sitting out and watching from the sidelines.

Tomorrow: Thoughts on Freshman year

Childishness, Communication, and Comradery

These are three separate topics so don’t expect any overlap with them. I’ve just been thinking about these things recently and I didn’t want to write multiple posts.

When I was on my way home from the airport on Wednesday, I noticed something my mom said. For whatever reason, she was annoyed with my dad (that tends to happen sometimes after 28 years of marriage) and she was giving him the cold shoulder. My sister and I were in the back whispering about it when something came up. I don’t know if one of us said this or if I was just thinking it but I thought of how childish my mom was being. Then I thought about it again and realized how silly I was to think that.

I don’t think I was silly because she wasn’t being childish or because childishness isn’t a thing, I just think it’s silly because what we call childishness is really just humanishness. There are ways in which we can be childish (1 Corinthians 13:11) but you’ll note those ways all speak to our mental capacities. He spoke like a child, thoughlike a child, and reasoned like a child. But there is no mention of acting like a child.

I find when I call someone childish, I really just mean that they aren’t acting how I think they should act or they’re being knowingly irritable. I’m not saying children don’t do these things and I’m not saying that this behavior is good, I just don’t think it’s fair to call it childish. It’s childish to think that Santa exists; it’s human-ish to purposely hurt another person. Neither is a good thing to do but let’s not claim all of our bad qualities are just a matter of temporary immaturity.

Communication is difficult but abundantly important. That’s something I always knew but never really felt the need to thoughtfully and deliberately enact. But I’m realizing now that communication, or lack thereof, has played a big role in a lot of my relationships recently and not always in a good way. I’ll use my parents as another example.

I was talking to them recently about some things I was interested in and the conversation just became really overwhelming and stressful. It felt like I was being told to both embrace this time of uncertainty in my life and figure out what I want to do. It felt like I was getting conflicting messages. So when I finally got a chance to talk to my brother about all the stuff, I explained that feeling to him. But I couldn’t help recognizing that a lot of the conflicting talk had actually started with an unclear statement from me.

Because I had never said what I meant and because I was still unwilling to be completely honest and forthcoming I couldn’t stand talking to my parents about the issue of life after college. In fact, my whole body wanted to avoid it completely by just being away from them and the issue with hopes that it would just blow over. It wouldn’t and I knew that. I guess that means next week we’ll be having a long conversation to sort all this stuff out.

Side bar: I realized that I don’t like having these long conversations, much to my detriment. I wonder how much easier things would be if I were more willing to have these conversations, be totally honest and candid, and just go from there. That would be much easier than my current tactics.

Sitting in the field tonight, watching the fireworks reminded me of how much people want to be a part of something. Tonight was the last night of reunions so I did a bunch of stuff today. I mostly stayed in my room yesterday and didn’t participate in the festivities so I figured I should at least do something today. I did the P-rade, a brunch, and the fireworks and all three things were really fun but also really exhausting. At the end of the P-rade and fireworks we sang “Old Nassau”, one of my fave things to do, and everyone was happy and yelling and drunk. It was memorable. I thought about how, singing that song, you feel like something. You feel connected. I mean, that’s what tradition is.

I would write a few more paragraphs about how that thought led me to think about Christianity and the Catholic church but I’m too sleepy for that and I trust your mind can make the same leap mine did. It’ll be a fun night…of sleep.

The Role of Grief in Worship

Listened to this sermon today from Epiphany Fellowship about grief in worship. It’s a topic I’ve thought about a lot this year as I’ve found myself a little more disappointed and grieved in my prayer time. It’s a really good sermon.

I think sometimes we Christians forget that we’re allowed to grieve and be upset and be sad. Even Jesus did that. I’ve found that denying that aspect of my humanity only limits my worship experiences with God. So it was good to hear Pastor E preach on a topic I’m still learning how to fully embrace and live out.

Money (or Munaaay)

Still in WI, now only with Ravonne. We went to the store today to buy some stuff, just a thank-you for everything the Haleys have done for us this past week. We were looking for something to give when I came up with the idea of giving them two things, one now and another later for funsies. Ravonne did not like that idea.

It was weird because for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why she was so against that. And that’s when I realized that people do money differently. To me, it seemed perfectly reasonable to give someone a tiny gift now and then a bigger gift later. To me, it seemed like that would be more exciting and surprising and awesome and cute. But to her it just seemed wasteful and unnecessary.

Now that I think of it though, I wonder if I’m actually one of few people who finds that thoughtful. Maybe most people would actually think it’s a little ridiculous to give someone two gifts at two separate times. Hmm, I wonder.

Well, whatever the case, I think this will be a good lesson for me to remember in the future. When it comes to money, it’s not just a question of how much debt someone has or how much they like to spend or save, it’s also important to know how much people want to give and to whom they’d like to give it. For instance, I don’t like to give random money to strangers or groups. Even if I support the message, I’d much rather invest in something long-term. I like to be able to make a continuous/lasting impact with my money. I also like to buy things for people. If I see something someone would like, I usually just buy it if I can afford it. I like to give things to people. And letters. I like to give letters to people. And cards.

Fortunately, not everyone is like that. That works great for the economy but it makes things a little bit more difficult for times when money is being shared.

Loneliness

Here’s a stream of consciousness post I wrote on two different days. Sorry for the parts that are incomprehensible.

As I’m riding away from campus with my two best friends, I think I’ve realized for the first time, how lonely I was at Princeton and how much I tried to remedy that loneliness with so many different people. I don’t think I was always lonely, but I know I definitely was a lot of the time. I realized this when my friends were talking about another friend of ours. It’s her birthday today but apparently she didn’t have high hopes for the day. I guess she wasn’t really expecting much from her friends.

I’ve actually talked to the girl about this before. I was telling her about my dead week plans and she said she wished she had friends who were so close that she could visit their house for a week. But she didn’t. That made me sad and the messiah complex part of me thought, well I can just be her best friend. But in real life, I knew that wasn’t an option.

I don’t know how to cure loneliness. I don’t know how to fight off disillusionment. I don’t know. I do know, that as I’m sitting here on this train typing this stuff up, surrounded by my best friends on both sides, I’m lonely. And I’ve been lonely for a long time.

Now hold up, you may be thinking, well God cures loneliness. I want to commend you for you valiant effort. It’s true, God is there for us when no one else is and one of the things I want to do is learn to be more content in that. But even God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Even he knew we needed companionship. Of course he knew.

I guess that’s why I retreat. To be known, to feel heard. Because who wants to feel lonely all the time?

Talking to Ravonne today about loneliness. It was a kind of random conversation. I was feeling a little downtrodden when I went down in the room we’re sharing in Jessica’s house and Ravonne was sitting on the bed. I asked her if she had ever felt lonely. She said yes, often. We got to talking and I told her I feel lonely a lot too, probably more than I have been willing to admit. But for me, the problem has always been feeling known.

One of the things that’s repeated to me often by friends or acquaintances is that they don’t feel like they really know me. One friend once called me mysterious even (but that was silly). When I was in high school, that’s exactly what I wanted to be, unknowable, but now I feel like that’s all I am. I guess it came to a head today. It feels like much of my life, much of my time at Princeton, I’ve tried so hard to be known. And I guess I’ve failed. Ravonne was the first person I ever told that to. It sometimes feels weird to talk to a close friend about how you feel lonely.

Anyway, she told me about how she was feeling lonely a lot too, especially after breaking up with her boyfriend, except in a different way. It wasn’t the same feeling of being unknowable it was a little different. I wonder sometimes though, when I’m really feeling sad about my loneliness, is it just that I’m not worth knowing? Because it seems like I’ve tried to be known by people at Princeton. I’ve tried to be open and visible and honest. It just seems like every time I try, I fail.  I know that’s probably not true, that I’m not worth knowing, but I can’t help but feeling that way sometimes. It’s just an emotional thing for me, more so than I thought.

More than ever, I can’t wait to be home and talk to my brother about this stuff. I love my brother. I can’t wait to be away from Princeton in all its forms so I don’t have to be reminded of that loneliness. I can’t wait to do something new or go someplace new so I can meet someone, anyone, new.  I  loved my time at Princeton, it’s just odd to look back with hindsight and realize that it wasn’t always as ideal as I wanted it to be. There were moments when it was ideal though and I don’t want to take away from them. There were moments when I wasn’t lonely and those were really great.  But that’s a post for June 4/5.