- I decided on a program.
I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but I decided to pursue another passion in college, psychology. Along the way I realized that I still wanted to be in a school setting and make a difference in the lives of children. Then I discovered the field of school psychology and I realized that I was made for it. So I looked for graduate programs in that field and to my excitement found a 3-year Specialist program. This would give me a year of full instruction, a year of instruction and work in the schools, and finally an internship year. When I first realized I would have to go to grad school, I honestly was not thrilled about more school. However, this program seemed to be tailored to my needs in that it would allow me to actually start doing what school psychologists do under the supervision of professors and other school psychologists. Plus, more education in a field that I am thrilled about is actually appealing to me now.
- I decided on a region.
When I was young, I was a homebody. I never ventured far from my parents. As I’ve gotten older, my comfort zone has expanded somewhat, and I knew that I still wanted to be in the south for graduate schools. I looked at schools in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas.
- I applied to most of the schools with my program in the region.
I applied to Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, University of Alabama, and Baylor University. School psychology is growing but still relatively new, so it’s not a program that everyone has. I know it looks like I was pretty selective in where I applied, but I honestly had pretty slim pickings. The good thing though is that these are all incredibly amazing programs.
- I interviewed with schools via Skype and in person.
Georgia Southern accepted me without an interview, but I Skyped with three of the faculty from Baylor, and then I did an all day interview with the five faculty at Appalachian State.
- I made a pros and cons list.
This is somewhat of an inside joke for anyone who saw the pros and cons list. One school had all the pros. We will just leave it at that
- I picked the program that was the best fit for me…
…and that program is BAYLOR UNIVERSITY! I am so pleased to announce that I have been accepted to their school psychology program for this fall, and I have accepted their offer. (Many of you know this already, but it feels more official now that it is on the blog!) I will actually be visiting next week, and I am thrilled!
I was so excited once I finally accepted their offer that I could not sleep. I stayed up making poster prints like the one above to hang in my apartment in TEXAS. This feels like an absolute dream come true, but looking back I realize that I worked my whole life (up until this point) for this. The goal has always been to do well in school, find a job that I am passionate about, and do what it takes to get there. This is just another stepping stone along that path, and I am so blessed by and thankful for everyone who has helped and supported me along the way. I recognize that this achievement cannot be credited to my work alone. I needed the help and support of my parents, family, friends, and teachers. Who I am and what I have achieved is a combination of my experiences and interactions with others, and I don’t take that for granted for one second. Finally, I must acknowledge that my Creator and God had his hand over all of this. I can look back and say that there were definitely times along the way when I wanted to give up, and I would not have made it through without my relationship with Christ as the foundation of my life. All the glory goes to Him and the way He has placed people and experiences in my life to form me into the woman I am today.
Tears are funny things, aren’t they? We all cry for a variety of reasons, but never in my life have I cried so many tears of joy in one week. Over the past year I have cried…a LOT. I was struggling to get over past relationships, battling depression, and oftentimes just trying to make it through to the next day. So I’m very familiar with tears of sadness. However, it has been a while since I cried from pure joy. As a matter of fact, I believe it has been quite a while since I actually experienced pure joy. I’m sure that was a contributing factor to the tears that accompanied the joy that I experienced this week.
I’d like to go into some detail about each event that triggered a waterfall of joyful tears this week, but I’ll start by listing the three occurrences:
- Becca’s wedding on Saturday
- A new relationship that God has blessed me with
- Good news about graduate school
- On Saturday my friend, Becca, got married to an amazing Christian guy, and I cried from the moment I saw her start to walk down the aisle and pretty much throughout the wedding ceremony. Becca and I have been in an S-group together since my sophomore year in college. S-groups were implemented at Mercer RUF shortly after I started attending, and they are intended to be “sanctification groups” or accountability groups. S-group was a place where the five of us sophomore girls could share our lives together and be led by an older RUF student. We read scripture, prayed together, and shared the happenings of our lives with each other. I don’t think I realized how much my S-group really impacted my life at college until I left, and I certainly did not realize how closely I had bonded with these women until I practically cried through all of Becca’s wedding. I had experienced the ups and downs of her life through her recollections during each of our weekly meetings, and I have always been encouraged by her unwavering faith in Christ even through the toughest and most unimaginable moments in life. It was no surprise to me that God blessed her with a man rooted in the Word and ready and willing to love Becca as Christ loves the Church. Becca & Phil’s wedding exemplified all that a Christian wedding should stand for; it was a beautiful public profession of their commitment to one another in Christ…and it made me cry tears of joy. Even reflecting on this beautiful union or trying to communicate it to others brought tears to my eyes. So that was my first joyful cry of the week.
- Then on Thursday I had a date with
Cason, my now-boyfriend. We have been dating for about a month now, but it seems like I have known him forever. We met back in high school through a program called Teen Advisors (TAs). He was homeschooled, but he came to my high school for TA sessions. We knew each other, and we had plenty of mutual friends, but we weren’t close at the time. I started going to a young adult ministry called The Door when I was at home from college on Christmas and summer breaks, and we reconnected through that. Over a week ago we went on a picnic in the park, and he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was more than ready and willing to enter into an exclusive relationship, but I was hesitant about one thing: Facebook. Cason had already met my parents when he picked me up for our first date, and I thought it only right and respectful to grant his parents the same courtesy before publicly broadcasting our relationship to the world. (We’re getting closer to the point, don’t worry!)
So, Thursday evening I went on a date with Cason to meet his parents, and I was very encouraged by the experience. It allowed me to learn more about how Cason and his family relate, and it was evident that he comes from a family that cares deeply about God and one another. I was so thankful for the opportunity to meet such Godly parents who lovingly raised such a respectful, “faithful,” Christ-centered young man. While sitting on the couch with Cason on Thursday night talking over the evening, I was overwhelmed by all of these thoughts….and it made me cry tears of joy. How embarrassing to sit on a couch in front of your boyfriend of a month and overflow with joyful tears, but he completely understood, which made me feel that much more thankful and blessed to have him in my life. Two months ago if you asked me where I thought I would be, I never would have said, “In a relationship,” but it has been my experience that God always has better plans than I could imagine. For that I am eternally thankful.
- Finally, on Friday I received an unofficial email from Baylor expressing their “SIGNIFICANT interest” in me attending their School Psychology grad program. WHAT?!?! WAIT, ME!?!? I re-read the email at least five times…and it made me cry tears of joy. Throughout this whole graduate school application process I have continually reminded myself not to get my hopes up, obviously for no good reason. I think I built such a wall that I did not allow myself to believe that my dreams and risks would actually see positive results. Even when I received the email, I found myself thinking, “This is too good to be true,” and I had to quickly remind myself that I love and serve a God who is ever faithful. I’m constantly reminded that he brought me to the specific profession of school psychology for a reason, and it is even more clear to me now that school psychology is where I am supposed to be, as God continues to remove barriers on my path to becoming a school psychologist. He has put my mind at ease so many times over the course of this application process and constantly reminded me that my future is not really mine at all, but His. I am so eager to continue on this path to becoming a school psychologist via this new avenue of grad school.
I am truly overwhelmed with all of the blessings that God has placed in my life, especially now that I have enough perspective to look back and realize that He’s had his hand over all of these events in my life even before I could have imagined they were possibilities for me. Even during this last year when I had practically given up on so many things in my life and at times wondered what God was doing, He was working in my life to bring fulfillment and thus bring even more glory to His name. I am beyond blessed and overwhelmed with joy and forever thankful to eternally serve a God who is always faithful.
So today is my parents’ anniversary, and I wanted to take a brief moment to say Happy Anniversary! I am very thankful to have parents who have done everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) it takes to stick together, love one another, and provide a wonderful home and life for me. Their relationship has taught me that love is about committing yourself to another person and reminding yourself of the responsibilities of that commitment each and every day. It’s not always about romance, gifts, and flowers, though there’s been a lot of that too. Love is a beautiful balance between butterflies and commitment. Any who, happy anniversary to my wonderful parents. May there be many more.
This past weekend I went back to Mercer, which I thoroughly enjoy. Lately I’ve been hanging around at the house trying and failing to think of productive things to do. So it’s always nice to head back to Macon and enjoy some productive time with friends. I got to cheer on my Mercer Bears basketball team for a win. When I first went to Mercer I was unsure of how this basketball thing was gonna go. I have cheered for football, both on the sidelines and on the couch practically since I could walk and talk, so not cheering my school on in football was going to be new for me. However, I soon found that standing court-side at a basketball game with some of your closest friends and cheering on your team is some of the most fun you can have. I’m thankful for friends like Hailey Cox and Cassie Sanders who took me under their wing freshman year and taught me all I needed to know about basketball. I’m also glad to have a student section like the Hoffman’s Hooligans, which beats any other A-Sun student section any day. It has been an honor to be a part of the traditions that have grown at Mercer over just the past four years, and I’m looking forward to seeing them continue.
Then the ATOs were having an initiation party Saturday evening, which I went to with my friend, Mollie. A word of advice to you smarty pants out there who are thinking about graduating early: DON’T! While you may not miss the classes, the reading, or the homework, you WILL miss the people, almost immediately. This weekend a friend asked me how my Mercer experience was on a scale of 1 to 10, and I didn’t miss a beat in responding with an enthusiastic, “TEN!” While college certainly had its ups and downs, it was all well worth it. What made it worth it was the people, and I wish I had learned that earlier. I worked hard to keep a good GPA to get into grad school, but if I had trusted myself more to balance work and relationships, I would have discovered sooner that friends are the key to keeping you sane.
I was plugged in. I had 75 sisters I could call at any given time. I had a community in RUF who had my back. Yet it wasn’t until my last semester that it all really clicked for me. Those were the things that mattered. Looking back, I reflect on the nights I stayed up too late with my sisters or went on retreats with RUF. The things I learned in the classroom are invaluable, but the things I learned about myself through my friends can’t be taught in the classroom. I guess that’s why they call it the college experience; you need all of it in order to grow like you want to. So take advantage of it, and don’t leave a moment sooner than you have to! I know that someday soon I’m going to have to acknowledge that I’ve graduated and learn to move on, but for now I’ll stick to going to as many games and events as I still can before the real world hits.