Shortly after fall break, my dorm room began hosting a Bible study. It started with just a few of us, but soon, more started coming. And of course, my friend had invited those two guys whose dorm room I had practically invaded. After the Bible studies, everyone would usually hang out in my room, and our Bible study group quickly became my core friend group. At first, I did not notice Nate too much. He was hilarious, that was still true, and always had me laughing. But other than that, he was just one of the friends in the group.
However, something started changing. As I got to know him more while hanging out with the group, I began noticing him more. I remember the first time I noticed him as more than a friend. We were all hanging out after Bible study, as usual, and we decided to go to this little island nearby that had a good spot for star-gazing. As my friend and I were walking along this path with a small river beside it, Nate came up behind me and pretended to push me in the river. Of course, he had my arm and I did not actually fall in, but my heart still was beating fast. Mostly due to the fact that I thought I was actually going to fall in. At least that's what I told myself. The real reason for my heart beating so fast was because of the guy who "pushed" me and was standing so close to me. We kept walking and there was a very muddy area that looked like you would sink right in if you stepped in it. So of course, being the smart person that I am, accepted a challenge by Nate to see who can take the most steps in it and make it the deepest. Now, only the feeling of liking someone would cause me to do this in my expensive, white sneakers that I was wearing (mind you, they are still dirty to this day because of this moment, never to be recovered). I honeslty have no remembrance of who won the challenge, but I remember one thing: this was the night were it all began for me. When I went to sleep that night, I thought about our time together and how much fun I had. But I brushed it off as just having a good time with a friend and very much ignored the feelings that I had felt.
This went on for a little while. I began checking how I looked before Bible study, knowing that Nate would be there. I would get excited when he finally arrived at my dorm or when he sat next to me. I would want to ride in his car when we went on group outings. And yet I would not face the fact that I was beginning to like him. My friends would ask me about him, and I said I did not like him like that. I used to read teen romances where the girl would not acknowledge the fact that she liked someone until the end, and it was like a big revelation to her when she admitted her feelings to herself. And I always used to roll my eyes and think, "How unrealistic, you obviously know when you like someone." But now I understand, and it's real!
I began to hear rumors from my friends that he liked me, but I thought they were false rumors. I was quite oblivious, when he literally did things like tossing me a friend's inhaler and saying "You take my breath away." I just assumed he was joking, or rather I couldn't accept the fact that he would actually like me. But one day, I knew it was true because I heard it from Nate himself. That's what it took for me to believe it. I remember sitting in class, having a perfectly normal day, when I received a text from Nate. This was strange because we normally did not talk one on one, and we never texted. The text said something along the lines about how we had both been hearing rumors and it would be nice for us to meet and get things straight. I read this text and started freaking out. I had to go to the bathroom and was in there for like, 15 minutes, trying to type back a good response. We agreed to meet at the school's student center later that day, and I cannot even describe how nervous I was. I honestly had no idea how this was going to go.
My heart was beating intensely as I walked to the student center. I came in and found where he was sitting, and walked over to him. His friend who he had been eating with left as I got there, and then it was awkwardly just the two of us. I sat down across from him and let him lead the conversation. He put himself out there and admitted that he was interested in getting to know me better, which was a very brave thing to do. And you know what I told him? That I didn't like him! I know, I know, I was very stupid. That would have been the perfect opportunity to face my feelings and put everything out there. But no, I was stubborn and scared to face the fact that I actually liked someone who liked me back. The real possibility of dating someone scared me, and so I hid from my feelings. But I told him that he was a nice guy and that I would give him a chance and get to know him a little more. I did not sound very hopeful though, and I told myself that I was just giving him a chance because he was a nice guy. I was so oblivious, or rather ignorant, of my feelings and continued to push them aside for quite a while.
As the months before winter break passed, Nate and I began hanging out quite often. We would get together somewhere on campus and get to know each other. We always got into quite long, deep conversations about our faith, dreams for our futures, and everything else. I even missed a mandatory hall meeting once because we were so caught up in conversation (don't worry, I didn't get in trouble). Things never felt awkward after that day we met at the student center, and our times and conversations together always flowed naturally. And he really began pursuing me. He would always open doors for me, get me medicine when I was sick, compliment me in the sweetest ways, and treat me to desserts that I wanted (let's be real, this is what really pulled me in). I had never had a guy so openly pursue me and treat me so well, and it made me feel so special. He gave me confidence in myself that I had never had before. And then winter break came. I knew by this point that I felt differently about him in a way I had never felt about anyone before.
It was the last day before I was going home for winter break, and Nate and I had an "update on feelings" talk. He confessed that his feelings were getting stronger, and you know what I said?
That I DIDN'T LIKE HIM. Go ahead, smack your head at how stupid I was. While I knew I felt differently about him, I did not exactly know how to face and explain my feelings. I did not feel how I had felt in the past with other crushes, and I thought maybe that meant I didn't like him as more than a friend. But really, I had just never experienced those deep feelings for anyone before, and was at a loss for how to deal with them. I said I was still willing to talk, but I felt awful for saying no again and did not think he would stick around.
But for some reason that I will never understand, Nate still decided to hang in there and give me my time. He never pushed me to date him or made me feel bad for my confusing feelings. Instead, he was the most patient man as he waited for me to figure out my feelings. And that month that we were apart, I came to some deep realizations. We took a short break from talking so that I could seriously think about my feelings, something I had been avoiding from the start. And as I sat down and really thought about things, I finally began to admit my feelings to myself. That time spent away from him made me realize how much I cared for him, and as I sought God's help and guidance, He really began revealing things to me. He gave me peace about the whole situation, and after talking a bit more over break, I finally knew how I felt about Nate. I began to slowly admit my feelings to Nate, and when we came back together after break, I was finally ready to say yes.
Looking back, even though I can now acknowledge how silly I was in hiding from my feelings, I know it all worked out in God's timing. Those months of us just talking and getting to know each other really set us up for a serious, intentional dating period in which we already knew each other pretty well. By the time we decided to start dating, we already knew each other's goals, dreams, and beliefs. And as we set up our relationship with Christ at the center, we quickly realized our future together. It's amazing how quickly I realized I loved him considering how long it took me to admit even liking him!
Looking back on our story, it really reminds me of the importance of turning to God and following His guidance. I was lost and confused on my own, but as I took time to really seek the Lord and His plan for me, I quickly became at peace and knew what to do. I encourage you to seek the Lord in times of confusion, and He will make your path straight.
I love you, Nate, and I cannot wait to see what else the Lord does in our lives as we are beginning to live our lives together as one.
Oh, one more thing. There was one more thing that made me sure Nate was the one for me, because it showed he could put up with my awkwardness. It was something I never realized until a while after we started dating. Remember the guy from that networking orientation, the one I talked about the weather with?
Yeah, that was Nate.
If money was not an issue, what would your biggest dreams consist of?
I've heard this question a million times before. I let my mind wander into crazy ideas, and I get excited about my passions. But then as times goes on, I remember the reality of life and quickly forget all my big hopes and dreams. I push them aside to focus on "real life." My dreams seem so unattainable sometimes that I keep them as simply that - dreams.
Can anybody relate, or is that just me?
I can't be the only one who has these big dreams inside me that don't seem plausible. But what if. What if these dreams were actually not impossible. The big ideas in my head often scare me away from the fact that normal people just like me have attained many of their own dreams similar to mine. That is clear proof that it is possible! What if all it took was a lot of work and motivation to start working on your dream? Just think of all the people who have followed their dreams and achieved them. If they gave up, the world would be a different place. Do you have the power to change the entire world through your dream? Probably not, but if achieving your dream changes the life of just one person, then you are already changing the world of that one person. Maybe you can inspire others to pursue their dreams, and it could be a cycle of dream-chasers.
I believe God has placed individual dreams inside each and every one of us, and while God helps us along the way, it is up to us to pursue them. It's not going to be easy, I can almost guarantee that. But the work will be so worth it to fulfill what God has placed in us. Now obviously not all dreams are from God, and we must evaluate our dreams before we go all out trying to achieve them. But please, do not let fear be the only thing holding you back from your dreams.
Here are some questions I ask myself before pursuing a dream:
1.) What is my end goal? What do I want to achieve?
2.) What will my strategy be? How can I realistically begin to achieve this?
3.) Am I willing to stick with this dream when hardships come? Am I fully committed to this dream and passionate enough about it to stick with it through the good and the bad?
And my most important question,
4.)Who or what is this dream really about? Do I want to achieve this goal to bring glory to myself or to the One who put this desire in me?
If I have solid and positive answers to these questions, then I say it's a good dream to reach for.
Not sure what your dreams are? Here are some future dreams of mine that I would love to achieve one day.
- Publish a book - or multiple books!
- Open up a café/mini bookstore
- Open and run a private school (with my husband)
- Adopt multiple children (also with my husband)
- Travel the world (Oh! Also with my husband)
- Build a house with secret passages (yes, I know. Try not to be jealous. Yes! With my husband.)
I do not know how I will achieve these, but I know that with God by my side, anything is possible.
So I encourage you to dream big. Write down your dreams and think about those questions above. Just by writing down your dreams, your chances of achieving them become much higher. Search up on google the power of writing down your dreams; you'll be amazed by the results.
Please, do not let the idea of impossibility stop you from chasing after your passions.
Before college started, my love life was... nonexistent. Like, literally never existed. I had never dated anyone before or even gotten anywhere close to it. I loved watching and reading love stories and dreaming about one day meeting the man God has for me. I pictured our love story so many different ways, but honestly it just seemed like a fantasy in my head that would never come true. It seemed so preposterous that anyone could like, let alone love, me romantically. I couldn’t fathom the idea of me and someone else falling in love. It sounded like a fairy tale.
But God knew what was coming.
Entering college was an interesting experience. Being at a Christian college, everyone is a little crazy at first. So many godly men and women all together, it’s any single Christian’s dream! So many of my friends were looking out for all the cute guys. But coming from the success I had in relationships in the past, I wasn’t really too crazy about meeting anyone. The thought of any guy liking me still seemed impossible. I figured I would eventually meet the guy that God has for me, maybe towards the end of college or the beginning of my career. But for now, dating still seemed like a dream, and so while my friends were obsessing over boys, I just listened to them and helped them out. I barely even talked to any guys that first week of orientation. Just stuck to what I was comfortable with, me and the girls.
I even remember the first conversation I had with a guy that week. It wasn’t even on my own, it was literally a forced conversation. I was in one of my orientation seminars about networking, and we had to find someone near us to have a converstion with. The first one I talked to was my friend next to me. We chatted carelessly and didn’t take it seriously. But then we had to do it again. And this time, I didn’t have another friend near me. I frantically looked around to see everyone pairing up, and started getting stressed when I realized I would have no one to pair up with. Until everyone around me but one person was left. And just my luck, it was a boy. After sharing names and majors, we quickly ran out of things to say. I tried not to be too awkward, but let’s be real here, there was a reason no one dated me for 18 years. I literally ended up talking about the weather. Yes, seriously, the WEATHER. How awkward could I be? After totally humiliating myself in that conversation, I quickly turned back to the front and moved on from that embarrassing moment. I decided to block out that conversation in my head.
That was exactly why I avoided boys.
The first few weeks was a blur of new classes and people. I started to form a friend group, and we grew close really quickly. I even wanted to come back from fall break early, just to hang out with them. The weekend that I came back, right before classes started back up again, my friends and I decided to carve pumpkins. This was a big deal for me considering I had never carved a pumpkin before, so this was a pretty exciting night for me. I am kind of an artsy person, so my pumpkin turned out... not horrible. I guess it was somewhat cute, having a cat face on it, but definitely not a masterpiece or anything. Well, by the end of the carving, I began to need to use the bathroom. But since my friend and I were about to go back to my room, I figured I would just use it there.
On the way back, however, some of my friends got sidetracked in a conversation with someone in the hallway. I had noticed another friend in someone's dorm while we were walking down the hallway, so I slipped out of the hallway to say hi to my friend in the dorm. Pretty bold for me considering I just walked into some random guy's dorm, even though the door was propped open. There were two guys in the room along with my one friend. The one guy I somewhat knew from mutual friends, but the other I didn't recognize. They were both super friendly and allowed me to chill in their room as I waited for my friends in the hallway.
By this time I really had to use the bathroom, but I felt super awkward asking these guys to use their bathroom, so I tried to hold it in. Well, that plan proved more difficult than I thought. The guy in the dorm that I didn't recognize was hilarious. Like, pee-your-pants hilarious when you don't even need to use the bathroom. So imagine how I was doing! As the hallway conversation got longer and longer, and this guy got funnier and funnier, I finally couldn't hold it any longer and pushed myself to ask to use their bathroom. Phew, what a relief, now I could laugh with joy instead of pain.
On top of the constant jokes, this new guy also seemed to think my pumpkin was amazing. Like, a masterpiece he wanted to buy or something. He constantly complimented me on it, and while I found it kind of strange, I just assumed he was trying to encourage me or be nice since it was my first carved pumpkin. After almost two hours of getting an ab workout from laughter, it was finally time for us girls to leave the guys dorm building for "curfew." As I left with my friend from the room, she insisted that the funny guy, whose name I learned was Nate, was flirting with me. But me being the naive person I am about these things insisted that he was just being nice and blew it off as anything more.
I think God was laughing, considering He knew that the "funny guy" would be my future husband.
To be continued...
If you are anything like me, you did your research before you headed to college. What to bring, what to expect, roommate advice, and everything else college-related. I looked up EVERYTHING. But no amount of articles or videos could really prepare me for what I was going into. Yes, the tips and advice helped me a little, but nothing could fully prepare me for the experience itself. Freshman year was unlike anything I had ever experience before. It was my first time living away from home, giving me more independence than I ever had before. I went from having my parents drive me everywhere and pay for everything, to me taking shuttles and using my summer job money to buy groceries. It was a big change, and I learned more than I expected. Everyone told me I would grow and learn, but I thought that was just cheesy advice. Little did I know how true it was. In no particular order, here are just ten of the many lessons I learned my freshman year of college.
1.) Friend groups change - and that's okay.
If you have watched any youtube advice video about college, then you have heard this before. I heard it over and over again, and always doubted it's truth. When I went to my summer orientation, I was convinced that the friends I met there would be permanent, life-long friends. We all seemed to mesh together so well, and I was sure I had found my core group of friends. And for the first few weeks of college, it was true. We did everything together and discovered what college life was like. But then something happened. One by one, we each began meeting other people - people that meshed even better with each friend. Even by the time fall break came around, my friend group had changed drastically. And that is okay! The first few weeks of college, everyone is just so nervous and eager to meet friends, so you'll make friends with a lot of new people. But the further you get into the year, the more you find people that you actually connect with. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll lose all your original friends. I am still friends with each person from my original group. They just aren't my core group. Even going into my sophomore year, I can see my friend group changing a little. We are in a season of growing and learning who we are, so it's only natural to change friends and discover who you really can grow and connect with. And instead of fretting the change, I learned that new friends are a good thing! Just don't ditch those that impact your life in a good way.
2.) Cooking is fun... and actually not as hard as I expected.
Before coming to college, I literally had no idea how to cook anything. Like, maybe scrambled eggs, but that is it. My college was very unconventional. Each dorm included it's own kitchen, and the school did not provide meal plans. Which meant I had to cook ALL MY MEALS. Going from having my mom cook everything for me, to making all my meals myself was a huge transition. First of all, I didn't even know how to go grocery shopping by myself. You have to actually plan out meals before you go shopping, who knew? My first shopping trip turned out to be a collection of random foods that did no got together. (Side note, buying your own toilet paper is also really strange). But learning from friends around me and many youtube videos, I slowly learned by experience. And somehow, someway, I learned how to cook. And surprisingly, I like it! It's fun to combine foods and see what you can make on your own. And it's also surprisingly easier than I expected - but also way more time consuming than I was aware of.
3.) Prioritizing is key!
In high school, I had very little going on outside of school. I went to school, came home, did my homework, and had free time for the rest of the night. My schedule was pretty set every day. But college was a whole new level of "busy." Suddenly, I had a few hours of classes a day and the rest way up to me! Homework, studying, hanging with friends, watching t.v., reading, having quiet time, shopping, anything was in the realm of possibilities! And I learned pretty quickly that I could not fit everything I every day. So I had to learn the importance of prioritizing. Key things first, and then have fun. Trying to fit everything in everyday will drive you crazy.
4.) Learn to say no.
Hands down, I am a people pleaser. I like to make people happy and hate saying no to people. But this goes back to the last point of prioritizing. There is no possible way to fit everything and everyone in. Sometimes you have to say no to helping people out. As important as it is to be kind to others, it is also massively important to not neglect yourself. And as fun as it is to hang out with friends, you cannot keep pushing your school work back. Saying no is hard, but it is necessary to get through college.
5.) There are so many beliefs out there.
Growing up, I attended the same school all thirteen years of my education and the same church my entire life. I was surrounded by the same beliefs my whole life, and I believed many things without questioning them. When I got to college, I discovered how much there was still to learn about my faith. I had to do research on my own on why I believed what I believed, and I heard new things about my faith I hadn't thought much about before. And while I still ended up believing mostly the same things I had before, I now knew why I believed them. I learned to be firm in my belief while also allowing others to share their beliefs. I learned from others and had the opportunity to teach others as well. I am still constantly growing in my faith and learning new things.
6.) People do not care as much as you may think.
High school often tends to be very shallow. People talk about others, and it is sometimes very "cliquey." This caused me to be very aware of how I looked and acted everyday. Freshman year gave me insight into a very different feeling. People literally show up to class in pj's and crazy hair, and no one judges. College allows people to express themselves, and no one is here to judge. Everyone is just doing his own thing. And it made me realize how much I used to care about other's opinions. I used to never leave the house without makeup. Now I only wear makeup on special occasion. College will do that to you. My missing eyebrows and acne are now out in the open to the world - and I really couldn't care less. (This confidence also largely came from the help of my amazing fiancé, who continues to give me the confidence we all deserve).
7.) Do not pull all-nighters.
Contrary to popular belief, all-nighters are not necessary in college. In fact, my freshman year was actually easier than I expected, school-wise. Whether it was because I went to a good high school or just because my general education courses were basic, my work load was not too heavy. Definitely not heavy enough to pull an all-nighter. Once again, it goes back to prioritizing. However, I did manage to pull one or two all-nighters throughout the year, just to hang out with friends. And let me tell you, I regretted it so much the next day in my 8 a.m. class. I seriously do not understand how people pull all-nighters often. I physically could barely keep my eyes open, and ended up missing my next class because I couldn't stay awake. I also felt terribly sick to my stomach all day. I don't know if this is just because I have no stamina, but I highly do not recommend all-nighters, especially if you have something important the next day. It's just not worth it. But if you are really excited to pull one and see for yourself, go ahead. It is part of the college experience, in a way.
8.) Be yourself.
Growing up, I always had this label on me: The smart, quiet girl. Besides my close friends, everyone thought I was really quiet. When I was little, I was very shy and hated being the center of attention. While I was growing up though, I slowly began growing out of that stage. I felt more comfortable with myself. But there was something holding me back - this label. Whenever I talked, people would be dramatic, like, "Oh my gosh, she talks." I let comments like this hold me back. So when I was going to college, I was excited to no be known by anyone. I could me myself without any labels. And you know what happened? I got labeled as the quiet one again! At first it really bugged me, and even brought me to tears at one point. But I learned a lesson through it all - that is how God created me. Not everyone is made to be the same. Some are quiet, some are loud, some are goofy, some are serious. I slowly learned to be proud of how God made me, and I didn't feel like I had to go out of my way and talk so that I wouldn't be "the quiet one." I learned that I was naturally a quieter person in group settings - and that is perfectly okay! I am now comfortable with myself and know I can just truly be myself without worrying what others will label me as. Instead, I have learned to be proud of how God made me.
9.) Keeping in touch with old friends is hard.
In high school, it is hard to imagine losing the friends that are so close to you. But college is such a new experience, and you are constantly growing and changing. You may lose interests that you and your high school friends shared together. And on top of that, you are so busy! It is hard to remember to take time out of your day to text that friend from back home. So while a few strong friendships may last, do not expect to stay close to everyone you once were besties with. But while it is extremely hard, make time to keep in touch with a few friends. Do not let life sweep you away as to where you are too busy to send a text here or there.
10.) Give people a chance.
I found it easy to go into college looking for people to hang out with that resembled my old friends. I knew what I liked, or at least I thought I did, and I tried to let that limit the people I hung out with. But people will constantly surprise me. I was often pleasantly surprised as I gave people chances. Do no let your past friends dictate your new friends. Give everyone a chance, and you might just find a new friend. Or more-than-friend, as I did myself :)
On top of all these lessons, I was constantly reminded of God's goodness. I came into college thinking I would be prepared after all of my research. But God reminded me to just follow Him and see what He will do. Life is an adventure, and as much as you prepare for something, you don't truly know what will happen until you live it. I never would have expected to find the close friends that I did, or most of all to be engaged by the end of the school year. I did not expect to learn any of these lessons, no matter how many times I heard that "I would grow" in college. So whether you are heading to college yourself or just entering a new season of life, enter it with the expectation to grow and be excited to see how God will move in your life.
Jesus lover. College sophmore. Interdisciplinary Studies major. Fiancée. Introvert.
These are all words that can be used to describe me. Yes, that's right. I am a college sophomore, only 19 years old, and engaged. Crazy, right? Well, some might think so. To me, it's just life. I found the love of my life, and as they say, "when you know, you know." I realized my life was a little different than the ordinary, so I figured maybe there are a few out there who are interested in hearing a little about my life.
I was born and raised in different parts of New Jersey. My family was not the most finanically well off, so this caused us to move quite often when I was younger. My family is nondenominational Christians, and I decided to chase Jesus for myself when I was thirteen. Ever since then, my life has been dedicated to serving Him. I attended a very small, private Christian school for all thirteen years of school. And when I say small, I mean small. Like, I graduated in a class of ten students. And not to brag or anything, but I was valedictorian. I know, I know, I'm big stuff. You can ask for autographs later.
Anyway, once I graduated, I moved to Virginia to attend school here. This was a big step considering how close my family and I have always been. My only sibling, my older brother, attended a local college, so I was the first one to leave the house. But ever since I was young, I always had an adventurous side to me, and while I was sad to leave, I was also super excited for the new adventure ahead of me. I actually attempted to make this blog then, to take you guys along with me as I figured out how to "adult." Unfortunately, college swept me away in a blur of school work, friends, and one special guy. But I am back and ready to get this started!
Freshman year was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and as cheesy as it sounds, I grew so much as a person and learned so much. I had been largely sheltered growing up, and my eyes were open to so many things. I met some of the best people, and I met the guy of my dreams. Never in a million years did I go into fall semester expecting to be engaged by the end of my freshman year. But God works in mysterious ways. Stick around for future blogs about our love story.
Anyway, that brings us to where I am today, currently planning a wedding for the end of the summer. If my story interests you at all, stick around! I will be sharing many types of things on this blog, from personal stories to advice to hacks and tips I've learned to faith and encouragement. I can't wait to start this blogging journey with you guys, and hopefully you can learn something along with me through it all.