Thank you to everyone who has walked this journey with me 🙂
things i will miss about california
- the color of the ocean at sunset
- the mountains
- the sense that so many people’s dreams are made here
- year-round tans
- malibu canyon
- my older brother
- my cousins
- driving along the coast with the windows down
- liberal attitudes
- colorful people
- the fact that there’s no one ‘prescribed lifestyle’
- tiny spanish bungalows
- the lack of bugs
things i won’t miss about california
- the traffic
- the 405 at any time of day
- the 101
- did i mention the traffic?
- the lack of eye contact
- the crazy fast-paced hustle/business
- those toned people who only eat fruits and vegetable supplements
- crappy public transportation
- six dollar lattes
Things I would tell my freshman self
- do your laundry. often.
- don’t buy into the hype that all college students have to stay up late.
- maybe only drink two cups of coffee a day. three if absolutely necessary.
- all-nighters are never a good idea.
- things will get easier. you will make friends, just be patient.
- only say yes to the things you really care about.
- tell your roommate you appreciate her. she really is a good one.
- procrastination is not trendy.
- abroad will be incredible. savor it.
- stop dying your hair red.
…I would say:
English doesn’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness. Love isn’t right. Community or fellowship don’t quite fit either. Rather, it’s the sense that there are people beside you who are in this thing with you: When the movie ends and you stick around to discuss it. When you’d rather sacrifice a few hours of sleep to stay at the party. That night, with the guitar. Those mornings with the bottomless cups of coffee. This very moment with a sea of identical black hats.
Tomorrow, we may wake up and feel the tug of actual loneliness. This scares me more than anything. More than landing a good job, more than moving across the country or world, more than finding the perfect spouse.
This is not to say I have never been lonely before. I have, many times. I can recall sitting in my Freshman dorm room as my parents drove away for the first time and thinking, well, what the heck am I supposed to do now? But during times like this, I think back to moments when I was overcome by the opposite of loneliness. Moments like today. And it makes me confident they will come around again. They always do.
Of course there are things we wish we’d taken the time to do these past four years: sleep, attend Convo, that cute boy across the hall, for instance. And that’s never going to change, no matter how old and wise we grow. But that’s okay too. The things we did do: write for the school newspaper, study abroad, ask a professor out to lunch– are what matter in the end.
Let’s not buy into the cultural notion that college was “the best four years of our lives” and everything’s downhill from here. I believe leaving college is not a loss, but an infinite gain: it forms the foundation for a happy, healthy life as an adult in this great world, a gain so few are fortunate enough to count. As one of my favorite characters from The Office, Andy Bernard, or Nar dog, said in the series finale, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days before you’ve actually left them.”
Some of us in the crowd today know exactly what their immediate future holds: Med school, starting a non-profit, striking it rich in Silicone Valley. If that’s you, I say both congratulations, and you stink. If you don’t have the faintest clue what’s next, that’s not important. What is important is that you never stop being foolish enough to believe you can change the world.
That, and never stop believing in something bigger than yourself. So often society tells us that if we only believe in ourselves, we will succeed. My four years at Pepperdine have taught me that this couldn’t be further from the truth. I fail. I mess up. I make bad decisions. Luckily, I’m not my source of hope. Find something infinitely bigger to place your hope in– be it religion, family, a social cause, what have you– and race towards that with all your strength from this point forward.
If we do this, I’m confident we can and we will make an impact in this world.
So here’s to you, Pepperdine class of 2017. Thanks for being my friends, my mentors, my role models, but unfortunately not my boyfriends. Language fails to describe the way I feel today. So, although it’s not particularly eloquent, let me end with this: Above all else moving forward, I wish you the opposite of loneliness.
P.s. This post was inspired by this amazing essay if you’d like to take a peek 🙂
Memories from the last four years
- When my brother and I found out we were both going to be RA’s for the coming year at the same time.
- The night Sarah and I drove down the coast and watched the sunset from the trunk of my car.
- When Jake and I rode bikes back from a party in Heidelberg and made a late night pit stop for crepes.
- All the times Sean and I wrote together at Cafecito Organico.
- That one night under the old bridge drinking Starbucks hot chocolate with Conner.
- Star gazing with Aaron at Gemünden.
- Finding out I got the Fulbright.
- Eating a traditional Syrian brunch with Omer in his apartment.
- Sipping German beer on Adele and Helea’s roof in Frankfurt.
- Griffith Observatory with Isaac.
- Lazy mornings with my little munchkin Winnie.
- Playing soccer with Aerick.
- Goofing around in Sue’s garden for hours.
- When I had my first dream in German (!).
- Hanging with Mike and the RealityLA crew.
On Wednesday, I found out that I was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to Germany for the 2017-2018 program year. I will be working as an English Teaching Assistant, which means I will be placed in a public school classroom somewhere K-12 to help the main teacher. This program is the flagship exchange program of the United States, and has been run through the department of State since it was started in 1948 by senator William J. Fulbright. It’s aim is to foster intercultural dialogue, understanding and ambassadorship, and you can read more here if you’re interested!
I applied for this program back in October, and it was quite the involved application process to say the least! But it was SO worth the wait. I leave around September 4th and will be placed somewhere in the German state of Hessen, which could not be more perfect, as that is where my grandpa lives and where I spent my internship last summer in Frankfurt. God is so good.
I have been thoroughly enchanted by Germany for the past four years, and knew I had to find a way back. The country has completely stolen my heart, and I could not be more thrilled for this opportunity to give back to the people that have already given me so much. I am deeply humbled and profoundly grateful.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey so far:
My parents who helped me study at Pepperdine and then abroad in Heidelberg.
My brothers who encourage me in everything I do!
My internship supervisors and supporters.
My friends here in America and in Germany who keep me motivated.
Pepperdine for educating me, particularly my German professors who introduced me to this beautiful language.
God, who has never and will never leave me.
A million others who care for me in countless ways every day.
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” –Romans 1:9-10
Thanks for reading friends, I can’t wait to blog my way through this next year in Germany!
^Pepperdine’s annual Spring Concert^When you’re bored waiting for the concert to start and you get creative with the camera^I should have been an actress. Or a model. Maybe there’s still time.^As you can see, we take ourselves very seriously.^Would you hire me if this was my LinkedIn profile pic?^No idea what’s going on here^Is it just me, or do I look like I’m ascending to Heaven? Follow the light…!^There are no words.^Laura! She was the birthday girl this week.^Be still my heart.^We couldn’t resist a spin on the ferris wheel.^St. Lucia performed– they were so fun!