I Learned A Lot In 2017, But I Am Ready For The New Year

I Learned A Lot In 2017, But I Am Ready For The New Year

This whole year has been a year of challenges, growth, excitement, and pain.
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As the year comes to an end, I can't help but think how much my life has changed in the course of 2017. This year flew by and has definitely shaped me. 2017 was filled with wonderful moments and some not so wonderful moments.

My spring semester of college ended in May and I faced a lot of struggles after finishing that semester. On top of it being a hard semester, and missing my dad a lot, I had gotten really sick over the course of the past year. I found myself in the emergency room, just trying to figure out why I was not feeling good. The doctors told me I had chronic migraines, so they gave me some fluids to rehydrate me and sent me home with some new medication.

Well, weeks passed, and I still wasn't feeling better. I found a doctor and he ordered a brain MRI, the results came back and they could see an infection that was close to my brain. Long story made short, I had a sinus infection growing for about a year, and I did not know it. My general doctor recommended that I saw an ENT so I found an ENT that used to work with my dad, and I made an appointment to see him. I had to wait a few weeks and it sucked because I still felt like crap.

July 5th finally came, and I anxiously went to this ENT with hopes I would get answers. He took a CT of my head, and I could see how bad my sinuses were. He gave me two options, to be on antibiotics for 6 months, or to get surgery two weeks later. I thought about it and chose the surgery. It was scary, I did not want surgery, but I had to do what was best for my health, and that was the best option. Surgery day rolled around on July 19th and I woke up more nervous than ever. I got up, prayed, and got ready for my surgery.

We arrived at the surgery center and they prepped me for surgery and rolled me back to the OR. I remember looking around the room before they put me under. A few hours later, I woke up in recovery, in a lot of pain. Recovery was a week, and it was so painful, but looking back at it now, I am so thankful that I made this choice to get surgery.

I am so blessed to have had so much support from my friends over the summer and around the time of my surgery. It was a hard time for me and my close friends did not leave my side once. It honestly changed my life, and my quality of life is so much better now. Headaches every day for a year and a half was tough, and now I am sitting here today typing this up, feeling better than ever.

By the time I had fully recovered from my surgery it was time for me to start packing up to move out for my sophomore year of college. I was so excited to come back to school, and see all the friends who I hadn't seen all summer. I got out to Fort Myers, and unpacked my stuff and was reunited with Olivia who I am so lucky to call my roommate. Fall semester was a crazy semester for me. I was taking some pretty tough classes that kept me so busy, all the time. On top of my crazy semester, Florida got hit with a hurricane, and we were out of school for two whole weeks. That set the semester back a lot and added a lot of stress to the already hectic semester.

Being involved with Ignite and community group, really helped me to center myself, and see the important things in life, friends, and Jesus. Those nights were good breaks from school, and being able to take a step back and just learn about God, surrounded by great people was really needed. Towards the end of the semester, I also joined a Women's ministry called Delight. That ministry has really impacted my life, and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I am glad that God led me to that group. It is something that I will continue to be a part of until I graduate college. Although I struggled with my faith a lot this year, I was able to grow stronger in my relationship with Him by being a part of these groups.

This whole year has been a year of challenges, growth, excitement, and pain. I have made such amazing friends, and memories this year, that I know will last me a lifetime. I was also able to grow in friendships that I had prior to this year. I am thankful for the struggles that I faced this year, they made me a stronger person. Hardship builds character, and I am always willing to grow. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for me, and for everyone in my life.

Here are some highlights of my favorite moments of 2017:

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Markee

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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I Am Terrified Of My Future And That's OK

I'm sure most people are but so many of us are good at putting on that face and acting like we have our lives together.

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For a long time, I have been struggling with what my future is going to be. For most of my childhood I was always flighty in what I wanted to be and therefore I never spent much time thinking about where I would end up when I grew older.

Now I am a junior at Illinois State University as a Journalism major and quite frankly that scares me. I don't know where I am going to end up. So many of my professors love to tell us how miserable the job is. That you're doing more work than your being paid for and that there are not a lot of opportunities for journalism.

Literally thinking about my future terrifies me. It actually makes my anxiety act up and often times I start to snap at whoever brought up the conversation. I avoid the subject anytime it comes up or just brush it off with a, yeah I totally have a plan. When in reality everything about leaving college makes me want to curl in a ball on my bed under the blankets and never come out.

Slowly I have been getting better as I find a schedule but the unknown is what freaks me out. The reality is I can't control what happens to me all the time. I may get my dream job or I may end up working at the bottom of the corporate ladder for the entirety of my life.

I'm sure most people are but so many of us are good at putting on that face and acting like we have our lives together. The truth is probably everyone is scared to some degree but most of us know we have to act like we have everything together because that's what adults do.

So what I really want to say is that it's OK. You do not have to have your entire life planned out. You do not need this five year or even a one-year plan to be successful. All you really need is your end goal and then taking one step at a time to reach it.

Right now the one thing I need to do is graduate. I don't have to know where I'm working after college, heck I still have another year and a half before I even leave Illinois State. Learning that my future scares me and it's OK that it does is the only thing that I need to do.

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