If there's one cliche that has a lot of truth to it - it's that one piece of advice we've all heard a million times: "expect the unexpected." Right now, I'm sitting on a roll-away bed in a hotel room while my parents watch CNN shortly after moving out of my dorm. Room 514 of Wright Hall is empty, the door is bare (I took the name tags the RA put on it for sentimental reasons), and the keys are gone. Freshman year has come to an end, and summer is here.
When my last final crept up on me and I finally had to head to Biology at five o'clock last Friday, I couldn't believe it was over. And I was sad to think that I would be saying farewell to Belmont, Nashville, and friends from around the country just a few hours later. Summer didn't have the same "ring" to it and I didn't get that feeling of excitement that had taken over my entire brain, body, and central nervous system in years past. Essentially, I'd be saying goodbye to a new life I had created in the last nine months in Nashville and to a time of life that I'd never experience again - freshman year of college.
Now this is starting to sound cheesy, but I don't really care. Never again will we be 18-year-olds heading off to a new place to:
1) learn things we genuinely care about (provided that one's major pertains to what one loves),
2) start taking care of ourselves for the first time (...with the help of our parents wallets),
3) establish a complete new network of friends whom you have no prior background knowledge about (well, I didn't know anyone at Belmont before I came), and
4) ultimately begin to find out who you are personally (without mom and dad breathing down our necks).
When I said "expect the unexpected," I spoke from experience. I had no clue what I was getting into when I decided to go to Belmont. I had applied to the place on a whim (after I had found the school on Google), visited for the first time after I had been accepted, and enrolled in late April when the May 1st deadline was approaching and I decided that I had felt slightly more comfortable on Belmont's campus in comparison to the other nine schools I had applied to.
Considering these things, I'm glad Belmont was right. And for reasons unexpected.
I didn't expect to find such a good friend in my roommate. Although we had requested to be each others' roommates, we had only met once before school started. I think we both agree now that we had completely erroneous perceptions of each others' personalities before we moved in. Considering that, we worked pretty well. From late night conversations (she was good at telling when I had something on my mind) to spontaneous dance parties, no one could ever replace Molly.
I didn't expect to forge such solid friendships early on. I remember leaving town one weekend in mid-September and missing everyone so much after being gone for just a couple of days. When I got back and Jane and Molly Selbs sprinted to give me a welcome back hug, it felt as if I was seeing them for the first time in months, when in actuality I had only known them for less than a month. Now I feel like I've known everyone for years when I've only known them for nine months.
I didn't expect to have so many friends from Texas. But I also didn't expect to have friends from so many other places as well - Ohio, Georgia, California, and even Canada... just to name a few. I didn't expect to spend time with friends in so many different places outside of Nashville, either... from some random state park off I-40E (for a spontaneous camping trip one night) all the way to the Big Apple (for a three day weekend celebration).
In addition to these great things, I found a great church in a matter of weeks and classes went very well. I had the chance to enjoy a good number of concerts and experience a lot of what Nashville had to offer. But there were also some unexpected hard-times this year - I struggled with division between various friends and my roommate leaving Belmont. Very recently, Nashville was devastated by a disastrous flood (although I personally was not affected, the city and its population will be recovering for years to come). On a less serious note, I didn't expect Miley Cyrus to be my first celebrity sighting... how disappointing.
All things considered, Belmont was an adjustment - but a relatively easy one at that. I can't believe the year's over. I'm already missing everyone. But instead of looking back, like I've done in this ridiculously long post, I'm looking forward to a summer of growth - I'm excited to work at Kanakuk, to spend time with friends from home, to travel, to invest more time in my hobbies, and to enjoy simple pleasures.
flat anneley (take me with you on your adventures)