I still can’t believe I just finished my junior year of college. I guess I’m officially a senior now, but I still feel like a freshman in a lot of ways! College really does fly by, and junior year was no exception.
Fall 2019 was no doubt the toughest semester of my college career thus far. I was in all upper-level courses for the first time, held a leadership position in the organization I’m involved in, and started a new campus job. I was BUSY! My schedule was filled with club meetings, work, and too many hours spent hunkered down at the library. There were many days I was on campus for 12+ hours, and sometimes I skipped meals because I just didn’t have time. My full schedule and determination to keep up my GPA caused a decent amount of stress, which was actually kinda unhealthy. It was a real grind, but there were many great memories made during that stressful semester! I had such a great time celebrating Baylor Homecoming, witnessing an amazing comeback of a football season, and hanging out with my good friends.
And just like that, finals week was upon us, Christmas break came and went, and it was suddenly time to begin a new semester (I swear each semester goes by faster than the last). I always love coming back to school after Christmas break because it’s a fresh start to a new semester and whole new year. The start of the spring semester looked promising: My course work was much lighter (although still demanding), I was now a “pro” at my on campus job after a semester of experience, and I had an ideal class schedule that kept me focused and motivated. The first half FLEW by, and so many great memories were made during those short few weeks.
Of course, the semester took a dramatic turn after spring break. Everything was suddenly taken away by the corona pandemic and stay-at-home orders, which brought about unique struggles. When I left for spring break, I didn’t know that I was saying goodbye to my friends for several months and that I had attended my last in-person class of junior year. Receiving the news that campus was closing for the remainder of the semester was heartbreaking. However, despite the sadness of ending the semester from a distance, I discovered so many blessings during quarantine (I was also determined to keep a positive mindset).
The biggest blessing in disguise was that I was forced to slow down. All of a sudden, I had no club meetings to attend, I logged less hours for my on campus job, and all of my classes were online (my easy classes became 10x easier). I was (and still am) stuck at home with my loving family, eating the best home cooked meals, hanging out with my sweet sisters, and spending more time doing the things I love. I had little school related stress and finished out the semester with a 4.0.
The dramatic shift in my lifestyle from fall to spring made me realize that I tend to idolize busyness and a full schedule. I became so caught up in my responsibilities fall semester that my focus was taken away from what is truly important in life: investing in my relationships with others and, even more importantly, with Christ. The abrupt ending to my spring semester was a real wake up call.
Junior year was such an interesting year. It’s crazy to think it started with a crazy busy, “I-don’t-have-time-for-that” kind of schedule and ended in my hometown with the submission of an online final. This school year certainly didn’t end in a way anyone could expect, but it was probably one of the most shaping years of my life. I’ll never forget the impact of the corona pandemic and the havoc it wreaked on the world, and my junior year of college will always be marked by that memory. Even though my life wasn’t affected as much as others, I’ll never forget the life lessons I learned. And as I begin my senior year in the next couple months, I’ll be even more thankful for every in person class, hug from a friend, and gatherings of all kinds. Here’s to unexpected endings and the promise of new beginnings!