Freshman Year of College – Check!

553074_10151227362389135_1264075186_nI just finished my last final of the semester…and that means I am officially done with my freshman year of college! (WHAT?!) I can’t even believe I am writing these words right now. It seems like only yesterday I was moving everything into my dorm room, raising my bed, unpacking my suitcases, and meeting Hannah and Natalie for the first time. And here I am, today, packing up my suitcases, moving out of my dorm room, and saying goodbye to Hannah, Natalie, and my other friends I have made over the year.

My first year of college went better than I could have ever expected. I had some of the best professors (I’m convinced) in the world and I really have learned so much. I thought I wouldn’t like having to live with someone in such a small room, and now at the end of the year I am a bit sad I won’t have Hannah with me in my room for the next four months! And I changed in some ways a bit and in some ways quite big. I used to hate having cereal at home (just wasn’t my favorite), but now it’s surprisingly a meal of choice. I admit I didn’t used to make my bed every morning when I lived at home (sorry Mom!), but I have made my bed every morning in college. I used to be a maniac about studying and grades, and now while grades are still very important to me, I understand that there are more important things in life to cherish. And that is my family and friends and making memories. Because that is what I will look back on ten years down the road when I think of my freshman year of college – not the grade I got on a particular final exam. And I know without enrolling in Tom Shadyac’s class during this Freshman Year, I would still be acting as if my academics were more of a priority than my family and friends were, even though I believed the opposite. That one shift in how I live my life has totally changed me into a much happier and less-stressed-out person. I am so happy and grateful for that and everything else that I have experienced in my first year of college.

Even though leaving this gorgeous view and my sweet friends is tough, I am so ready for a few months without studying, without tests, and without papers. I am so ready to see my family. I am so ready to see Colin. I am so ready to see my friends from Georgia. I am so ready to get to work at Milly & Grace! I am so ready for non-caf food. I am so ready for my own shower. I am so ready for my bed. I am so ready to read books on my “to read” list. I am just so ready for summer! And it is here!!

Love Lunch

Since one of the very first classes of the semester, Tom worked with us to create a luncheon in order to give back to all of the staff on campus, who take care of us every single day. Some of us donated our own money and some of us raised money through bake sales in order to put on this for them. We were determined to make this happen for those friendly faces we see around campus every day.

The housekeeping staff, the landscaping staff, the maintenance staff, etc. were all invited to our luncheon yesterday afternoon and we served them for a change! We served them salad, pasta and dessert catered by Bucca di Beppo. We each wrote Thank You notes and passed them out to each staff member. And, then, we sat down to get to know some of them a little bit better.

I talked to several people and most of them had worked at Pepperdine between 20-40 years. (Holy Cow!) I kept hearing them say to other students as well as myself that in the amount of time they had been there, they had never felt so special or so appreciated. While it made me happy that we could make them feel appreciated, it also made me a little sad to think it has taken this long for them to feel this way. I can’t speak for other college campuses, but I know for sure that each staff member at Pepperdine truly cares for each of the students here.

Josefa, in particular, brought me to tears when she explained to me how she thought of me, Natalie, Hannah, and every other student as her daughters and sons. She said to me that when she sees kids studying so hard and sometimes to the point of falling asleep in the library, she sees her own son and her own daughter in each of us and remembers how hard they worked throughout college. She said she is happy to help in any way she can because she knows we are working hard.

Morena, is assigned to my building, and every day she comes into our suite with a smiling face wishing us a “Good Morning”. She barely speaks English, but she makes every effort to ask each of us how we are doing and hopes that we have a good day. She has one of the brightest personalities and my freshman year would not be the same without her.

It just broke my heart to think that Josefa, Morena, and the rest of the staff members haven’t felt very appreciated in the years prior to this luncheon. Because they deserve to feel like we cannot live without them, which we can’t! I know I couldn’t.

On such a small campus, and seeing their friendly faces all the time, they become part of your family. And we wanted to make sure that from this point forward that they would never feel unappreciated again. So, we decided today that we would make this Love Lunch an annual event.

Love Lunch 1

Love Lunch 2

^^Natalie handing out “Thank You” cards

Love Lunch 3

Love Lunch 5

^^Natalie and I with Josefa

Love Lunch 6

^^Natalie, Hannah and I with Morena

Love Lunch 7

^^Morena and I…taken about thirty seconds after she and Josefa were making me cry!

It’s amazing how something so simple as a lunch just to say “Thank You” can make such a difference in someone’s life. I am so thankful for Tom, who reminds us of these lessons every week and encourages us to be the best versions of ourselves. I have learned way more in one semester from him than I have learned from all of my years in school (all thirteen almost fourteen of them!). I am so honored to have him as a professor, mentor, friend, or as he would put it…brother. And I know everyone else in that class feels the exact same way.

Love Lunch 8

Mind Shifts

Last night, I had to say goodbye to Emily as she headed off to the airport. It was definitely bittersweet. Bitter in that my sister was no longer going to be in the same city as me. Bitter in that it means I need to really buckle down and begin writing my final papers and preparing for my final exams. But, sweet in that all of it (even the bitterness) means I am getting closer and closer to summer! And I am hanging on to that sweet part as tightly as I can to help ease the bitterness of the situation.

Holding onto the sweet part has definitely kept my spirits lifted and my anxiety calm. Normally, I would be feeling very overwhelmed with all of the looming due dates hanging over my head. However, recently I have had a mind shift. In these situations I used to say to myself, “how are you going to get all of these assignments done in so little time??” And this week in particular, I would have said to myself, “how are you going to get 19 pages written in a week on top of preparing for finals?” But, one day, it just came to me that I was asking myself a silly question. I am not one to not follow through with an assignment, I feel responsible as a student to give my best efforts in every assignment given to me, even the ones that seem completely pointless (I talk more about that here). So, asking myself how I was going to get it done was silly. Of course, I was going to get it done. I don’t have it in me not to get it done. So, instead, I just keep telling myself that I only have this many days until I don’t have to think about this assignment anymore. On Monday, April 15, I will no longer feel any pressure to write 19 pages. So, today, I only have 7 more days until it is over with. And three weeks in total until I am DONE with my freshman year of college…THREE! Switching to this mindset has made taking on these next few naturally stressful weeks much easier.

Another mind shift that has helped me ease the stress of my perfectionist characteristics is this TED Talk that Tom Shadyac showed our class a couple weeks ago by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love:



Thinking that we all have little fairy genius friends is a little bizarre out of context. But, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me! Tom reminded me and my fellow classmates that JK Rowling said the idea for Harry Potter just “fell into her head,” that Paul McCartney woke up with the lyrics to the song Yesterday, Albert Einstein said of his theory of relativity that “the breakthrough came suddenly”. These people that our society refers to as geniuses don’t take any credit for the ideas. It just seems to make sense that their little fairy genius friends helped them out a little bit.

I find this message to be so freeing and I am continually working towards that mindset. So, today, as I begin the writing process, I am going to say to my little fairy genius friend that I am here, showing up, and ready to work! Then, I am going to ask my little fairy genius friend to pretty please do his or her part of the job!

With making these mindset adjustments, I can already feel the weight lifting from my shoulders and I feel ready to tackle what these next few weeks have in store for me. I really mean it! You should give it a try; it’s at the very least worth a shot, right??