Saturday, December 6, 2008

reflection on the semester

Today was my last actual class day. It feels odd to be done, to not have lectures to prepare myself for in the coming week. I'm essentially done (other than finals).

For the last little bit, I've been sitting here thinking about the past semester. Sixteen weeks ago, this was all new to me. Now I sit here in my quite-familiar apartment with my familiar roommates doing the very familiar "I-know-I-should-be-doing-homework-but-I-had-this-thought" thing. Sixteen weeks doesn't sound like a long time anymore. I remember the first day of each class, my first chapel, the first time I actually made friends at school. Of course I remember it, it wasn't that long ago but it's so funny that this is life. I actually feel that I've lived a lifetime in just sixteen weeks.

I marveled earlier today at how well I know Molly. I know that she's tired or upset or stressed when she says certain things or responds in a certain way. I know quirks about her and pretty much her whole life story. I know that she will speak up if no one else will and that she's very decisive and takes initiative. I was there when big things happened in her life. I've seen her cry. When she wasn't here during Thanksgiving break, I was sad. She's one of my best friends.

I can tell Madeline is on the phone when I hear her pacing the house. She wanders through every room in the house. I know that when she says certain things, she doesn't mean them that strongly; she's just being dramatic. I know her first thoughts about this place were that she couldn't wait to leave. Now she dreads going to Chicago in a month. I know she's cooking whenever the house gets smoky.

It took me awhile to get to know Amanda because she's not like anyone I've ever met. But I know that she loves to laugh and often wishes she could go to the movies more often. I know she likes to play Roller Coaster Tycoon when she finishes her homework and loves junk food. I know she's indecisive and likes to plan like me. She likes to be by herself but she loves personal conversations.

My roommates are three of the best things that have happened to me this year. From their fear that they couldn't handle the homework load to their anxiety about finals, I've known them. I'm so thankful for them.

The first day of each class was really stressful for me. Reading over the syllabi, I remember being completely overwhelmed and wondering if I could do this. With finals looming, I still have a few doubts, but overall the semester has been wonderful. Yesterday I laughed along with my Bible Intro class as James presented the project for our group that I'd been a bit stressed about at the beginning. I thought it was the best :) Dr. Lewis is a great professor. He explains dates of Latin translations and amazingly, it's interesting. He reminds us to study and prepare heavily for our exams but yet curves the grading a little bit if everyone missed the same question.

Today I sat between Kari and Theresa in Psychology laughing at Dr. Hamilton's corny jokes and stories. My first assumption about him - that he was kind of strange - was correct. I smiled as I read one of the essay questions we have to answer for our Psych final: "What have you learned from this class which gives you a better/fuller understanding of Psalm 139:14?" Every single week, about twice, he gets serious for a few moments. He'll scrunch up his forehead and say "This is evidence that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don't you forget that!" I don't think I will. And though I've had moments of hating that class, I am very glad I took it. When I think of Psychology with Dr. Hamilton I will always remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

We had Lifetime Fitness on Wednesday morning. Oh, I do not like that class. It's the only class where my perception of it has changed from good to bad. We haven't had it very often, thankfully but I really don't like it. The professor, Mr. Clark, I do like. He seems like a really great guy. Too bad he has to teach that class!

Dr. McMath teaches my Acts class. He used to be a pastor and he's really really good. So thorough with the study of the Book of Acts in fact, that he's only gotten us through the first twenty chapters. We did maps and chronologies of the book early in the semester and I feel like I've gotten a really good grasp on the book and have read the whole thing multiple times, researching. I know it's helped me personally. It's an upper level class so it's pretty diverse. There are two married couples, multiple seniors and juniors with all of us lowly lowerclassmen. I like that everyone is from completely different walks of life in there. We've had some pretty good discussions too, as McMath likes us to bring up questions and arguments.

My favorite professor is Dr. Orr; I have him for Intro to Ministry and College Writing (they aren't my favorite classes but he's my favorite professor...). He's so cute - he'll clasp his hands and smile at us and the day just doesn't seem right without his "On your way rejoicing!" at the end of the class period. He's funny but very understanding and has a way of making us all feel like his favorite children. Apparently he thinks of us this way too because on our last day of Intro to Min on Wednesday he choked up a little bit telling us how much he loves being here with us. He was sent here from the Chicago campus and it's his first year here too so it's neat that he can share in the struggle of finding a church and getting to know people.

Next week will be filled with studying. I have two papers due in Acts on Wednesday and quite a few exams. I'm really looking forward to finishing my semester up though and I can't believe it's my last week!

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