Let’s just say, I never thought that the University of North Dakota would be the name on my degree. Nor did I think that I would attend three different schools in three different states in 4 1/2 years. I always imagined that I would graduate on a warm afternoon in May, surrounded by the closest friends that I had made in my four years of college. But I graduated on a freezing (but sunny!) day in December, while sitting next to people that I just met for the first time that day. The only thing that really ended up being the same as I had expected was that I graduated during the year of 2012.
There are a few things that I’ve learned during college, but I think the most valuable is that life in Christ is a grand adventure. It’s never boring; He always has surprises, and brings about the unexpected. And I’ve learned that His way, no matter how difficult or upside down it may seem, is always the best way.
I made lots of friends throughout my college journey – from Siena, Emmanuel and UND. I had wonderful roommates who tolerated my only child tendencies, and loved me through some really difficult times. (Anna and Taylor, you’re really the best for putting up with me!). I got to live in one of the greatest American cities – Boston. I learned what it really meant to miss the people I love. I found a phenomenal faith community who loved me, helped me grow and lead me deeper into the heart of Christ. I met professors who genuinely cared for my mind, future and well-being. I got to be an RA and have the blessed chance to learn that sometimes people will just not like you or the way you do things, and that’s ok. I entered into the wildly beautiful life of engagement and marriage during my junior year of college.
My experience wasn’t a traditional one, but it was the one that God had in mind for me. It was what was best for me, and the good of my soul. I may not have had all my best friends sitting next to me on graduation day, but I carried them and all of my experiences with me in my heart. And in the crowd, I looked up to see my beloved cheering me on. My Poppy flew in as a surprise and came to the ceremony with my mom – I was stunned with joy. And my mother, father and sister (Katie) in-law were all there to support me. Even a few friends that we’ve made here in Grand Forks came to watch me make the walk across the stage.
It was beautiful. It was blessed.