Figuring Things Out On Your Own Can Be Scary

Figuring Things Out On Your Own Can Be Scary

Keep trying until you find your fit.


For those of you who know me, you know my faith journey has been rocky. I struggled with the idea of faith, but when I finally gained my footing five years ago my life changed. I was dedicating more time to church than I ever had before. I became more confident in myself and wasn't the shy girl I had been in middle school. I participated in Sunday School more, got to know the kids in my youth group, and began to participate a lot in youth group.

I spent more time at church my junior and senior years of high school than I did at school I think, due to meetings, Sunday school, church services, open gyms, bible studies, or any other event I had signed up for. I loved, and still do, my youth group and couldn't wait for the next time I was going to see everyone. I counted down the days until our youth trips, specifically Montreat, and would smile from ear to ear whenever they finally rolled around. I couldn't imagine spending those years any other way, and in fact, some of my best friends are from the youth group. So when I chose a college 604 miles away, I was a little worried about what I was going to do regarding finding a church.

I've never confessed this to anyone, but I was worried my faith was going to be altered by such a huge transition. I didn't know anyone before coming to UMD, and I certainly had no idea of what church to attend or what group to get involved with. I knew I needed to find a group of Christian friends at school, but I was worried it was going to be really hard on such a big campus.

I talked with one of my mentors about it, and he told me to find a group on campus and try to get involved as soon as possible, so I did just that. I got involved with the small, I mean three people small, Presbyterian bible study that would meet Sunday nights for Bible study. I loved meeting with that group, and still, do, but I wanted to find a bigger group where I could meet new people and hopefully find that Christian group I had been looking for. When the First Look Fair rolled around, I signed up for about twelve Christian organization hoping one of them would be the right fit. About a week later one of my friends suggested going to Cru with her, so that Thursday we both went, along with her older sister.

By the end of the hour-long group worship, I had tears in my eyes knowing this was the group of people I was supposed to be with. The worship band was amazing, the speaker talked about things I had been stressing about for weeks, and it was a fun atmosphere in general. From there I began going to the Monday night girl's bible studies and loved that group too. One of the upperclassmen drives a group to church every Sunday, so I went one morning and loved the church too. Finally, all of the pieces were coming together, and I had the church group I had wanted.

It took almost a full semester to find my place here on this campus, and although it was kind of scary to have to find my group on my own, I know God was leading me and helping me to find the place I was supposed to be. I always knew coming to UMD was going to be different, but I knew I had support from people at home rooting me on. I will never replace my youth group or church community at home, but by having a second one at school, I feel more blessed than ever. Finding Cru and the bible studies have helped reassure me that UMD is the place I'm supposed to be.

For those of you struggling with this also, just know God has a plan, Jeremiah 29:11, and he is placing you in the right place you're supposed to be. Keep trying different groups until you find your fit because once you find that group, you're going to feel like you're at home.

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An Open Letter To My College Freshman Roommate

Be sure to send this to your college freshmen roommate if you love them as much as I love mine!


Dear College Freshmen Roommate,

To be honest, my first impression of you was a quiet, shy private catholic school girl. (Wow, this couldn't have been the farthest thing from the truth)! I remember walking behind you and your boyfriend on the way to the bars on our very first night of Summer B. I kept thinking how much you didn't like me because you didn't say hi to me. Little did I know, after admitting to each other our unfortunate first impressions of each other years later, you were just being cognizant of me because you thought I was a real-life version of Regina George from Mean Girls. It turns out you weren't the shy, private school girl I thought you were and I definitely wasn't as cool as Regina George after all.

Lexi Garber

It didn't take much time for us to become best friends. You had me at "So, do you know what a mountain melt is from Ale House?" After this day, I knew we were going to be lifelong friends and celebrate our passion for carbs, fast food, and sugar together. You make friendship seem so easy. You're always down to study whenever, leave the library whenever, and most importantly, get Chick-Fil-A no matter what our budget is or how broke we are. You always pick up the phone and support all the bad decisions I make. You ALWAYS figure out all my Wordscape puzzles for me and support my real life Candy Crush addiction.

Lexi Garber

I realize that you give me a slice of home when my mom doesn't answer the phone. I love that we always get to talk about our high school memories together because every story is a new and exciting one for both of us. Sometimes I'm happy we met in college because we would have caused way too much trouble in high school together. Besides, I get to hear about how much of an awesome volleyball player you were and I tell you about crazy my lacrosse years. Although, I will say how much it sucks when we go home for summer and winter break because I do get major separation anxiety!

Lexi Garber

When we go out, you know we're requesting ALL Luke Combs songs and sing until our voices are gone. Whether it be going out to the club, binge-eating, studying at the library, watching the Bachelor in your apartment, going to football tailgates or watching baseball games together, we are ALWAYS laughing. You have this amazing brightness and you only radiate positivity and happiness. I can't wait to see what the rest of college has in store for us. I feel so grateful that I got the chance to meet you and call you one of my true, lifelong best friends. I love you to Infinity (the place where it all began) and Back!


Lexi Garber

Forever and Always,

your college freshmen roommate

Lexi Garber

Lexi Garber

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Jamie Stockwell On Life, Learning, And News

The story of a woman who usually tells the stories herself.


Jamie Stockwell, Deputy National Editor of the New York Times, shared both her story and her experiences as a storyteller to a public policy and leadership class at the University of Maryland on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Originally from southern Texas, Stockwell received a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked at their on-campus publication, the Daily Texan. After graduating, she spent 8 years working at the Washington Post, before heading back to Texas to work in San Antonio.

It was in the newsroom in San Antonio that she credits her learning of how to be an editor, and it was there that she was thrown into coverage of issues such as border security and environmental concerns.

After being in San Antonio for eleven years, Stockwell accepted a position at The New York Times.

"I really admire local newspapers, they're doing a bang-up job," Stockwell said. However, when New York came calling, Stockwell took the call, leading her to where she is today.

Currently, Stockwell serves as the deputy national editor at the Times, and while she has only been there for about 8 months, she is already aspiring to make her mark.

"I have like 25 years left to do this, and that makes me really sad," Stockwell said. As an industry, Stockwell has seen journalism evolve, with its embrace of the digital age bringing new platforms and new challenges to the concept of news reporting.

This evolution has broadened news, making it now accessible to anyone and everyone, making it difficult to remain objective. When asked about this, Stockwell said that the best thing she can do in terms of objectivity is not to let any of her opinions seep into her coverage and to make sure that when gathering information, all sides of the story are considered. Stockwell spoke of the importance of quoting both men and women, liberals and conservatives, and all sides of every spectrum of a story.

When it comes to sources, Stockwell said that the best way to decide whether or not the source is credible to consider what the motives of the source are.

"If your mom says she loves you, check it out," Stockwell said, proving that in the world of journalism, no words can be taken as they are, and all statements, even "I love you's," require thorough investigation.

For the students, Stockwell did offer some advice on how to make it in a newsroom, saying that the number one thing she looks for in an employee is curiosity.

"Work your butt off when you're young," Stockwell said, showing students that in the world of writing stories, a success story for oneself comes through interest, desire, and the drive to always do better, and to always work hard.

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