Five years ago yesterday I was embarking on what would prove to be an unforgettable journey.
I was pretty much scared to death.
And way over-prepared.
It was five years ago yesterday that I met the man I would marry.
And the girls who would become lifelong friends.
I could never have imagined the changes that would happen in me and around me.
It was magical.
It was God.
Five years ago yesterday I unloaded my earthly possessions into Gamma 213.
I was officially a college freshman.
At one of the greatest Christian liberal arts schools in America.
(I happen to think it's the greatest school ever, but I'm a bit biased.)
I can hardly believe five new classes of freshmen have filed onto campus since then.
It seems like yesterday.
Yet, really, it is a world away.
Not so much because I am so incredibly old and five years is forever.
I realize five years is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
But it really was a different world for me before that day.
I knew one other person on the entire campus.
I had never been away from home for more than a week.
I had vowed to go to school in-state.
Ohio was home.
And I am the epitomy of a homebody.
(Even now, but that's another story altogether.)
There I was, standing around The Oak Tree.
Holding hands with the other students in my "core" group.
One of them happened to be Kevin.
My parents and my sister stood behind me.
Ron Kopicko, the chaplain, prayed. And probably said a bunch of nice things.
But I only remember thinking, "This is it. I have to say goodbye now. My life will never be the same again."
And I was oh, so right.
I turned around to a teary eyed family.
Gave them meaningful hugs and whispered, "I love you."
I looked around to see if I was the only freshman shedding a tear.
I'm certain that I was not.
But I did notice that Kevin and his family said a causual goodbye and that was that.
I was thinking, "Who in the heck is this guy? Why doesn't his family care that he's leaving home?"
I had no idea they lived 15 minutes away.
And his dad worked on campus.
And they went to church across the street.
So don't worry, family, I understand now.
And I never would have guessed that much of my free time for the next 4 years would be spent in their living room.
Eating homecooked meals.
Getting sick on their couch.
Just being at "home."
As "at home" as I could feel, hundreds of miles from my own home.
It was hard to say goodbye.
My mom cried the entire 5 hour car ride home.
And then cried some more every time she walked past my room.
I cried too.
I was as brave as I could be.
But I called home every day those first 3 weeks.
Thanks, Mom, for being there. And never getting irritated at my inability to move on and grow up.
I couldn't have handled those weeks without an 800 minute phone card.
But before I knew it I was completely emersed in college life.
I found that nearly every girl on my floor was a wonderful friend.
And each of them had a little "crazy" in them.
I was able to let my hair down and act completely ridiculous.
Cry with them.
Laugh with them.
Pray with them.
I am still so thankful for those girls.
It occured to me before leaving for college that I might not find people who understand my brand of fun.
But they totally did.
The next four years brought extreme challenges.
With spiritual growth.
God did a great work in me.
He brought out passions.
He directed me to the people who He wanted to shape me.
I was stressed.
I was overjoyed.
I was angry.
I was thankful.
I experienced a whole gammot of emotions that I didn't realize existed.
I learned to connect with my Savior in a way I never thought possible.
I grew up.
And I fell in love.
But that, my friends, is a story for another day.
hilary. karina. jaime. mel. jesse. britt. brooke. heather.
::that's Gamma2 for you::