4 Things I Learned in My First Weeks of College

Hey everyone! How are you? I’m doing pretty well! I just finished my second week of college and it’s was amazing. I loved every moment of it. I’ve met so many people and had so much fun getting to know my classmates and hall mates. Through all of it, I’ve learned quite a bit about life and relationships. Today, I wanted to share 4 of the major lessons I’ve learned these past two weeks on campus.

1. It’s Okay To Say No

There are so many activities set up for the freshmen during the first couple weeks of school. Sports games, parties, gatherings, and meals were some of the events set up at my school. It was a lot of fun, but it was also overwhelming. There were so many people to see and talk to and so many names to remember. At one point I had to say no to a group contest event, and instead took some time with a few friends to go to the lake for the day. It was so relaxing and a great break from being around so much noise and so many people. That’s okay. Yes, I want to make friends, but I also want to take care of myself.

2. The Syllabus and Textbooks Will Be Your Best Friends

One thing that is very different from high school is the use of syllabuses. In high school, a syllabus was something that the teacher gave you but never used. In college, however, the syllabus is your road map for the year. Lose it, and you’ll be lost. I’ve found that some professors won’t even mention homework at the end of the class because they assume that you are reading and following the syllabus. The same goes for textbooks. Just read everything and make sure you’re on top of it!

3. High School Friendships May Change

I had a great group of friends in high school, and at the end of Senior year, we all agreed to stay in touch and still be friends. Things change, though, and people change too. Not everyone wanted to stay in the group. And that’s okay. Give them space and continue growing the friendships that you have on and off campus.

4. It’s Okay To Push Yourself

For those of you who don’t know, I am an English Literature and Digital Media double major and Honors student working part time. I get asked a lot why I chose to do so many things, especially my first semester Freshman year. The short answer is this: because I know I can. I believe that college is time to grow your interests, to learn about the world and yourself, and to push yourself to be better than you were. For me, that means double majoring. For others, that might mean something else. I could have chosen to wait to decide to work or double major, but I have the time and the mindset now. Why wait? That doesn’t mean that it’s not hard – it is sometimes – but it also doesn’t mean that you can’t push yourself.

Those are the four major lessons I’ve learned so far in college! What are some things you want to know about college? What have you learned so far? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

3 Goals For My Freshman Year of College

Hello everyone! How are you? I have just finished moving in to my University! It has been such a busy and crazy two days but I loved every minute of it. My first day of classes was yesterday and so far everything has been going pretty well! I wanted to make a couple of goals to put myself into the right mindset for school. Here are three of my goals for my freshman year of college.

1. Find a church that I can get involved with.

It’s so important for me to find a church home, especially since I am far away from home. It’s good to have Christians supporting me and keeping me accountable. Also, “church shopping” is a good way to broaden my beliefs and get to know how other people do things!

2. Attend some sporting events.

One thing that I didn’t do in high school was attend sporting events. I always found some kind of excuse as to why I couldn’t go, but now I kind of wish that I had. I could have met more people and experienced a side to the school that I didn’t see. My university has a lot of sporting events happening all throughout the year so I really want to try to attend some of them!

3. Be intentional.

Looking back on my senior year, I realized that there are so many people that I saw everyday but didn’t bother to get to know. Now, I wish that I had stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit more and gotten to know people outside of my group and grade. This year, I want to make more of an effort to be intentional about the relationships that I have.

What are some of your goals for this year?

His Plans Are Perfect

Have you ever had a situation in your life where the path or the plan didn’t really make sense, the pieces didn’t seem to fit, but somehow God worked through it and presented you with a final product better than you could have ever hoped for? For me, this is exactly what happened in my homeschool/high school transition experience.

As I had mentioned earlier in this blog, I was homeschooled for a while. But, when I started thinking about going back to school, there was a huge part of me that really didn’t want to go. And I mean really didn’t want to go. In my Sophmore year of high school, I went to a sleepover with one of my best friends. She asked me “what if we went to school together?!” Outwardly I said “that would be so much fun!” but inwardly, I was thinking, “there’s no way I am going to switch schools again.”

It’s a good thing God didn’t listen to me.

A couple of days after that sleepover, I applied to a private Christian school and got accepted four weeks before the first day of school. God opened door after door on my way to the school. That in and of itself was a huge miracle because I had applied late and there wasn’t much space for more students. Even though it was last minute and all of the available spots in the school were filled, I was able to obtain a spot and was admitted into high school. And it was the one of the best things that happened to me.

It was through this journey that I met some amazing people, building friendships that I never thought I would have. I met mentors and was pushed to study harder and better. Eventually, I graduated and now I will be attending a Christian university with some amazing fellow English majors and a whole world ahead of me.

Way back in Sophmore year, I never even thought I would some day end up sitting around a lunch table with some close friends or dancing in a room filled with classmates at prom or even traveling on a school trip to Peru. Those things just didn’t seem even remotely possible to me.

Looking back, I am so glad that I said yes to God’s plan even when I didn’t want to and it didn’t make sense. Homeschooling was great, but it was only to be a part of my path. I loved being at home and spending time with my family, but I wouldn’t have been able to grow so much if I had stayed. Not in the ways I have.

When God’s plans for you don’t make sense, remember what Proverbs 16:4 says: “the LORD works out everything to its proper end.” He wants you to grow in your trust for Him as He shows you His will for your life. But it’s important to remember that the things that don’t make sense now are only just the beginning of a wonderful adventure in God’s perfect plan.

Travel Journal//Chicago – June 2018

Hello everyone! It certainly has been a while since I’ve posted. So much has happened between my graduation and family events. Last week my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. It was absolutely beautiful and I am so glad that we were able to spend time with our family and friends.

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The Windy City

Every day that we spent in Chicago was beautiful, busy, and windy. The views of the skyline and the lake were so pretty. I also loved seeing so many different people throughout the city. There is such a diversity in a city like Chicago that I just don’t get to see very often back home.

Must-Sees

One of the days in this big and bustling city we went to visit a couple of tourist attractions, or as I would rather call them, must-sees. The Willis Tower, for example, was definitely worth the long hour-and-some wait as the views from the 103rd floor of the building are breath-taking.  The famous Bean was also fun to see and a great place to take pictures. The Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier was probably my favorite, though. It gives a perfect view of the boats and the city!

Family and Friends

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Because we knew so many people in Chicago, there were lots of great meals with them, including a three-and-a-half hour dinner in Chinatown. While we ended up being pretty exhausted at the end of it all, I enjoyed spending time with the people who have made such an impact on my and my family’s life.

Have you been to Chicago? What were some of your favorite places to visit? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you :)

signi

An Open Letter to High School

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Dear High School,

I can’t believe the time has gone by so fast. Four years ago I started high school and now I’ll be graduating.

I’ve learned so much in these four years, about myself, about my family, about relationships and friendships, about God, about the world. I’ve grown in ways I never would have expected. I made new friends, gained confidence, tried new things. I lost some friends too, experienced grief, and had to say goodbye to some amazing people.

I know that even though I’ll be leaving an amazing school, the relationships that I’ve built will always be there for me. It was in high school that I found my best friends, people who have pushed me closer to Christ. It was in high school that I stretched myself and became friends with people from many different groups. I know that all of these people are going on to study at great colleges and universities and will always be just a phone call, text message, or Insta picture away.

I am so grateful for the teachers as well, as they have taught me, not only about history and government, French and religion, science and Spanish, but also about life and the importance of following Christ along the way. These teachers have been praying for me and I am certain that they will continue to pray for me and the rest of the 2018 graduating class.

I think the parts that I’m going to miss the most about high school are the memories that we made together. From the camping trips at the beginning of the year, to the spirit weeks with crazy inflatable dinosaur and Baymax costumes, to the time we skipped class to play in the snow, the grades bonded together and laughed together. I loved the senior pranks, the photography class field trips, the picnics, and the prayer chapels. I loved the school trip to Peru, the movie days in French class, and the time my friend ran to Aldi to buy icecream during lunch. I loved the surprise parties, the dance nights, and the musical bells between classes. These are the things that I will miss.

And even though I am sad to leave all of these amazingly beautiful people and memories, I can look forward to the days when we will all reunite again and reminisce about the best four years we all had together.

Thank you High School, for giving me these times. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the friends. But, most of all, thank you for the opportunity to grow.

signi

101 in 1001: Beginning

Hey, everyone! So today I’m going to start a new project for myself called the 101 in 1001. It’s basically a list of 101 things that I want to do in 1001 days (2.75 years). I wanted it to end on my 21st birthday as a little “birthday present” for myself, so I’m going to start today!

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Start date: Friday May 11, 2018
End date: Friday February 05, 2021

A healthy lifestyle

  1. Eat gluten free for 2 weeks
  2. Work out twice a week for three months in a row
  3. Eat meatless for 3 months
  4. Take dance lessons
  5. Become plastic free
  6. Go to bed by 10 every night for 2 weeks
  7. Get up at 5 every morning for 2 weeks
  8. Go through my clothes and donate what I don’t wear
  9. Learn 5 new recipes
  10. Go through all of my photos and purge the duplicates
  11. Spend at least 15 minutes outside every day for a month
  12. Bike somewhere (anywhere)
  13. Go skating again
  14. Delete unwanted emails
  15. Make an emergency kit for the car
  16. Run in a race
  17. Complete a 30 Day Squat Challenge
  18. Go a day without my phone
  19. Go a week without my phone
  20. Go a month without social media
  21. Complete 10 random acts of kindness
  22. Try to go “car-less” for a week
  23. Volunteer at an event
  24. Be able to do a split
  25. Work out in the morning for 2 weeks

For family and friends

  1. Quilt a blanket for my aunt
  2. Take a trip with my mom
  3. Send 50 handwritten letters
  4. Send a “just for fun” package to my friends
  5. Throw someone a surprise party
  6. Sing around a fire pit with some friends
  7. Go to 5 sports games
  8. Finish the 2017 scrapbook
  9. Have an early morning Bible study outside
  10. Visit a high school friend at college
  11. Give someone a handmade gift
  12. Send birthday cards
  13. Take my sisters on “sister-dates”
  14. Volunteer with my family a Saturday morning
  15. Start a future hope chest
  16. Reconnect with an old friend
  17. Start a birthday tradition

Exploring the world

  1. Go to a drive-in/outdoor movie
  2. Go camping
  3. Take a roadtrip
  4. Visit a city I’ve never been to before
  5. Go to a flea market
  6. See a shooting star
  7. Watch the sun set, stay up all night, and then see the sun rise
  8. Play an instrument on the beach
  9. Have a picnic
  10. Explore downtown Charlotte
  11. Study abroad
  12. Speak French with a native
  13. Go horseback riding
  14. Go on a spontaneous trip
  15. Learn sign language (enough to have a small conversation)
  16. Become fluent in French
  17. Find a church by the university
  18. Go sailing
  19. Go to a lavender farm
  20. Learn to identify 5 constellations

A little bit of me

  1. Read the entire Bible again
  2. Memorize 25 Bible verses
  3. Read every Jane Austen novel
  4. Finish watching all of the Doctor Who seasons
  5. Watch 20 documentaries
  6. Complete a 30 day photo challenge
  7. Have a photoshoot
  8. Vote in every election
  9. Sew a quilt for myself
  10. Put $5 into savings for every goal accomplished
  11. Fill a sketchbook with doodles
  12. Visit my high school teachers after I graduate
  13. Paint on a canvas
  14. Memorize a chocolate chip cookie recipe
  15. Learn a poem by heart
  16. Attend the midnight premiere of a movie
  17. Read a book in a day
  18. Celebrate Easter really big
  19. Read 5 classic novels
  20. Update my makeup
  21. Have a spa day
  22. Spend an entire day watching Disney movies
  23. Build a blanket fort a read under it all day
  24. Sell something on Etsy
  25. Buy something from Etsy
  26. Make a new vision board
  27. Make a reading corner

Scribbles and words

  1. Write 5 more poems
  2. Journal every day for a month
  3. Compose and write down 2 new songs
  4. Write 3 “How-to” blog posts
  5. Write 10 more devotional blog posts
  6. Write a letter for myself to open when 1001 days are over
  7. Guest post for another blogger
  8. Map a book I love
  9. Reach 500 followers on my blog
  10. Write a wishlist of places I want to visit before I die
  11. Go to a book signing
  12. Write a new list when the 1001 days are over

I am so excited about my goals for this list! I will be sure to share an update every couple of months but you can check my progress on the “101 in 1001” page located at the top of my website.

Have you ever done a 101 in 1001 challenge? If so, how did it go? If not, would you want to do one? I can’ wait to hear from you! Have a great day. :)

signi

Praising God Through the Storms of Life

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There will be storms in life. That is inevitable.

I’m sure we can all remember a time when everything seemed to be crashing all around us, the sky growing dark and cold. During those times, it can be hard to see God in the midst of the pain and the hurt. But, no matter what we feel, we are not alone.

God is in the midst of the storm. He is in the calm after the storm. He is there before the storm.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. ~Isaiah 43:2

When we remember that God is continually with us, the darkness around us doesn’t seem so dark anymore.What a great promise! So when we find ourselves in the midst of the storm, we can still praise Him for His promise to continually be with us.

My challenge for you this week is to remember God’s promise to be with you and praise Him for being faithful in that promise. Even though these storms can be difficult and painful, there is comfort knowing that we are not alone. For that, we praise God.

signi

God is Enough

Godisenough

“You’re not good enough.” “You’re not smart enough.” “You’re not strong enough.”

These are the words we tell ourselves. Sometimes, they are the words that we get told. They are the words which remind us of the everpresent truth of our humanness.

We fail. We mess up. And we surely fall short in our relationship with God.

But the good news is this: God is enough. His promises are perfect and His plans never fail.

“This God — how perfect are His deeds!
How dependable His words!
His is like a shield for all who seek His protection.
The LORD alone is God; God alone is our defence.” – Psalm 18: 30-31

How encouraging is it to know that we have a God who is forever perfect! When we fail, He picks us back up. When we forget the meaning of love, He shows us that His love is unconditional. And when we forget our worth, His reminds us of the truth.

My challenge for you this week is to focus on the perfection of God in the midst of our failures. When you feel like you aren’t measuring up to the standards in life, remember that He is enough.

signi

Seeing God in the Everyday

Godintheeveryday

I pulled into my parking spot and turned off the engine. From where I sat in the parking lot at school, I had a perfect view of the sunrise. Shades of blue merged into purple and pink. Thin clouds raced across the morning sky as birds happily chirped in the cool air.

I watched as the sun rose all too quickly and the sky turned blue. As I continued my school day, I remembered the beauty and wondered how amazing God is! Later, that night, I opened my Bible and read the words that perfectly expressed the awesome beauty I felt only a few hours before.

How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!
How plainly it shows what He has done!
Each day announces it to the following day;
each night repeats it to the next.
No speech or words are used, no sound is heard;
yet their message goes out to all the world
and is heard to the ends of the earth.
God made a home in the sky for the sun;
it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,
like an athlete eager to run a race.
Psalm 19:1-5

I’m sure I’m not the only one to wake up some mornings feeling completely away from God. It can be difficult seeing Him work in life when we’re going through the motions and routines.

But, as Psalm 33:6 reminds us, God’s hand is shown throughout all of creation, in the beauty of His created world.

This week, I’d like to challenge you to look for God’s hand in the everyday things such as the sunrises, callings of the birds, and even in the beauty of human life.

signi

Eighteenth Birthday Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Hello, everyone! How are you? So today is my eighteenth birthday! Yay! I wanted to do something special to celebrate so I am hosting a giveaway.

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Just like the past two giveaways, there will be TWO winners.

What You Can Win

One person will win this “beauty set.” This prize includes one pair of pink floral socks from Forever 21, one marble necklace also from Forever 21, and one oatmeal, milk & honey bath bomb.

The other person will win this “study set.” This prize includes one mini pink binder, one Dare To Dream marble notebook, and one marble pen.

How To Enter

This is a Raffelcopter Giveaway! Click here to enter.

The giveaway is open from February 4 to February 18, 2018. There are six ways to enter with a total of 8 entry points. Any questions? You can read all of the Terms and Conditions here or email me at happilyabi@gmail.com.

I’m really excited for this giveaway! I hope you have a great day! Good luck :)

signi