My years at the University of North Georgia were transformative years for me. Anyone who knew me in 2012 will attest to this fact. In so many ways I have grown — even almost beyond recognition. I credit this to the powers of education, my relationships (friends or otherwise) and God's enduring patience.
So, here is a handful of some of my most special moments at the University of North Georgia, not in any particular order.
1. Meeting the three people, in my first day of class ever, who would become enduring friends.
Melanie, Joshua, and Alicia — You have no idea the impact that you had on a post-high school me.
Melanie, your kindness and faith always made me want to be a kinder and gentler person. You help me to see the love of Christ when other Christians do not reflect it. You are truly a ray of sunshine and light up any room you enter.
Alicia, I still miss your presence in Dahlonega although I know that you are only a text away. Your level-headed and well thought-out and reasoned advice guided me through the choppy waters of my Junior year. You taught me to expect better from people and to have higher standards in whom I call my friend. Thank you for that.
Joshua, I never see you enough, but when we see each other, we pick up like we were never apart. Thank you for being someone who is interested in the "boring things" of life. You have such a sweet and kind heart. Your students, whoever they are, are extremely lucky to have you as their teacher. I am so proud of how confident and capable you are. Keep taking on the world and making everyone in Forsyth County proud.
2. Receiving the grade from my first English paper
Everyone in the 7:25 a.m. 1102 English class would wait until they were in the hall, then flip over their papers. Good or bad, we were there for each other. Thank you, Dr. Francis, for your firm grading, excellent teaching and human compassion. You stand out as an exemplary professor.
3. Going to the gym... then eating Zaxby's
Alicia and Melanie...we tried so hard to be healthy. We are just really bad at it.
4. The psychology class, 2013 Cumming campus students know what I'm talking about.
5. Being attacked by the geese on the Oakwood campus... the first time.
6. Quitting my job at McDonald's
Hardest, most thankless job of my life. It existed as my motivation to succeed.
7. Working as a live-in nanny
8. Finishing all of my math classes — forever
9. Losing 60 pounds.
10. Meeting a lovely friend group my first year in Dahlonega (The Nuclear Unit)
11. Meeting and befriending the man who would become my fiance
12. The Crimson Moon on Wednesday nights
13. Becoming pro-life
14. Meeting other pro-life activists
15. UNG students for life! You rock, Scarlet Baasch. Joshua...well, you are very tall.
16. Having a used tampon thrown at me
17. Eating outside of Chow on crisp fall days with my friends
18. Passing geography... it was a close one. Who would have guessed there would be physics in that?
19. Re-meeting a lovely woman who spent so much time helping me learn
I was not always an apt pupil, but you were a patient and enthusiastic teacher, Cynthia Vendetti.
20. Joining the UNG theatre guild (thank you, Shae Garrett)
21. Working for Jan's Family Daycare, and meeting a wonderful friend, Kate Koehler
22. Joanna Toso
Words cannot describe your amazing-ness. You are a blessing to everyone you meet.
23. A wooden swing outside of Young Hall, a beautiful spring day, Alex watching me while I swing. We chat, and that was the first time either of us really realized that we like-liked each other...a lot.
24. Cinnamon Coffee at Einstein's
25. That one time Alex, Walker, and I went to BCM, and it was way worse than any of us could have way imagined.
26. Sitting in the Jeep, listening to music
27. El Jimador
28. Going to March for Life in Washington D.C.
29. When Alex and I attended a bioethics conference in Atlanta (and every academic there loved him)
30. Haley Aponte. We survived ESL!
31. English Standard Grammar being the worst four hours of my life every week
32. Spanish. Soy no bueno.
33. My best friend, who became my boyfriend, who became my fiance
34. Bear on the Square festival
It's the best festival of the year.
35. The tranquility of summer classes, and the relationships you make in those small group settings
36. The absolutely incredible teachers in the history department
37. Waiting on Gabriel Scroggs and Taylor Strayhorn
Thank you guys for the memories.
38. Sitting at Einstein's, drinking coffee, chatting with friends
It's one of my favorite memories.
39. The 2016 election
If I can survive this, I can survive anything.
40. That one pro-life event where more than 10 people changed their minds on abortion.
41. Becoming assertive, caring more, desiring more out of life and gaining confidence
42. Passing all of my classes, meeting all of my own expectations and feeling a sense of pride in hard work
43. Complaining about UNG
I have so many friends that I could not name everyone, but I want you to know that if you ever shared a table at Einstein's with me, you are special and I am very grateful to you. All of you have changed me. Thank you for that. Thank you for being in my life.