To The Class Of 2018, Go Forth And Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

To The Class Of 2018, Go Forth And Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Even in the midst of failure, always look for the victory.
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Last summer, I went on a mission trip to Ecuador. My group helped with Vacation Bible School in a remote village in the jungle. I was surrounded by children who had next to nothing. Many came from abusive homes, and many had never even received a hug. As I stood there looking at the children and the joy on their faces as we helped them with crafts and just spent time with them, I realized the necessity of appreciation.

It’s sad that we don’t realize how blessed we truly are until we find ourselves surrounded by people who find their joy in things like a toothbrush or even fresh water. Don’t ever take your life for granted. You are living a life of royalty compared to the majority of the world. I always keep this thought in the back of my mind: if you only had what you thanked God for today, what would you have?

We have reached for the stars-- although we have captured some, we have also fallen short. Rather than focusing on the disappointment and the failures, we should find the light at the end of the tunnel. We must find victory in the loss, otherwise, we will drown in our discouragement.

You don’t always win, and that’s ok – losses can be blessings in disguise. Everyone believed Jesus lost on the day He was crucified. However, three days later, Jesus came out of that grave and was like “JUST KIDDING, WHO’S THE LOSER NOW, SATAN?” Even in the midst of failure, always look for the victory.

Keep in mind that choices initiate chain reactions. Sometimes, you won’t know what the right choice is. You’ll be confused, and in the midst of that confusion, you’ll make the wrong choice. When you feel confused and don’t know what to do, choose love. A choice for love is never wrong. When you choose to love, love fiercely and fearlessly– love rooted by fear is bound to fail.

Throughout my life, my dad has told me how important my reaction is. Think before you speak or act, and speak life into others, not death.

Be careful with whom you allow to see your vulnerability. Vulnerability is a privilege that should be earned, not broadcasted. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself.

Identity is defined as “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.” As we go our separate ways - some to college, some straight into the workforce-- I ask you to cling to your identity and never lose sight of it. There will be times where your identity is challenged.

The world will attempt to strip you of your identity– society demands that you conform to fit its mold. However, your identity is far too valuable to lose. Your mistakes don’t define you, your failures don’t define you, your feelings don’t define you, society most certainly doesn’t define you - YOU define YOU.

This day marks the end of this chapter of our lives, but it also marks the beginning of the rest of our lives. God has crafted an intricate and unique plan for each one of you. Don’t ever doubt your purpose. God has already paved the way for us.

Sometimes, we will feel alone– but we’re never truly alone. We may be living in the present, but God sees the whole picture. He’s way ahead of us, but He wants to meet us in the middle. If you ever feel alone, remember that God will never leave you-- He just wants to meet you in the middle.

When you step out of your comfort zone, that’s when you begin to move mountains. Don’t ever limit yourself or place boundaries on your abilities. Remember: we aren’t called to be comfortable.

So, class of 2018, I leave you with this quote from Billy Graham: “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” What will you give? What will your legacy be?

Cover Image Credit: Personal

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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