Category Archives: life issues

Passion for Literacy

Standard

I thought it might be kind of interesting? fun? different? this month to share a few things I’m passionate about, since it is the “Month of Love” and all.

hello february

Today, you get a dose of something I have recently become passionate about- literacy.

I never realized how important literacy was within my community or how passionate I am about literacy until last year. (As if my degree in Linguistics & Spanish didn’t give it away…)

I moved back home from school in December 2011 and started seeking ways to get involved in the ESOL community. My project for Senior Seminar was a whole proposal as to how I would start up an ESOL program in Durham.  I figured volunteering would be the perfect way to practice my Spanish while building relationships and helping people…and getting my foot in the door of the ESOL community. When I found the perfect volunteer opportunity the following month, I made a super last-minute decision (remember how I crave quick changes?) to switch from teaching ESOL to teaching Adult Literacy- basic literacy skills to adults who had never learned to read or write. I was trained, matched with a student, and started teaching him phonics all within a two-week period.

Those two weeks were eye-opening as I met a man in his 50’s who had never learned to read or write. Only his ex-wife knew about his illiteracy, and he was determined to keep it a secret from everyone else he knew. This man had gone through the public education system in Barbados, moved to the States, had multiple handyman jobs, all while not know how to read something as simple as a street sign. It was mind-blowing that someone could go that long without being able to write a birthday card, fill out an application, or order from a menu that didn’t have pictures.

The beginning was a struggle for him- learning the sounds of letters and putting them together to create a word was almost like learning a foreign language. We worked with letter tiles, flash cards, sound cards, reading lists, and despite all the repetition of words like “sad” “rat” “mat” “mad” “sat” he would still struggle.

One day, after a few weeks, everything clicked for him. He began tapping out words and hearing them right away, reading words off a list correctly, and writing sentences just as I dictated them.I

Sure, each new sound had its issues. After he was comfortable with “i” I brought “e” into the mix, and we were stuck reviewing and reinstating the differences between the two sounds although they sometimes come in the same environments. (like “rid” & “red”) A few weeks ago when I introduced the “th” digraph, I’m pretty sure he hated me. Because of his thick accent, he just couldn’t hear the “th” in words like “with” “thin” “thick” “math” “Beth.” We’re still reviewing the sound, and he’s getting better with more practice, and of course I know he’ll master it soon!

I teach my student using the Wilson Reading System. It’s a very structured system and lesson plan, that allows around an hour for instruction time, and thirty minutes at the end for controlled reading, worksheets, etc. I’ve always had a hard time coming up with something to work on for the last bit of the lesson- my student mainly just wants to sit and talk. While planning a lesson back in September, I picked up a phonetically controlled book, Dad and Sam, on a whim. I thought I could let my student give it a try. Long story short, (but you can read the story here) he read the book. By himself. We both cried.

There’s something so powerful about literacy, and sharing that gift is priceless. 

I’m so thankful for literacy, and that I have a passion for it. I’m also lucky that the position I currently have is one that allows me to spread the word about the importance of literacy and help people who need it. It opens so many doors for people- academically, emotionally, professionally- and it’s priceless! Not a day goes by that I don’t use my literacy skills in some way or another, and I can’t imagine someone not being able to do the things I can do because of a lack of literacy. A week ago it was National Literacy Action Week, and it was exciting spreading the word about literacy!!

What are some things you are passionate about? Are you passionate about literacy?

blog signature

Advertisements

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Standard

Today I’m taking a few minutes to respond to the daily promptYou need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally? 

It’s funny because I feel like my life is on the brink of a big change comprised of littler changes. I’ve been wanting to do a blog post filled with my scattered thoughts about future plans…which are still unknown and undecided. My current position is done July 31, and after that I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing.

I could keep it simple and say, “oh, I’ll stay in Durham and find another job and continue living at home until I can establish myself financially and move into an apartment.” It’s what most people my age would say, right?

Or I could keep it honest and say, “I want to be somewhere different- outside of my comfort zone doing something I love, building relationships with people I’ve never met before, exploring the world and being a light.”

I welcome change. I don’t want to be someone who is always inside their comfort zone and not doing anything big with their life… I long to live outside the walls of normalcy and let God lead me where He wants, regardless of if it’s somewhere I want to go or something I want to do. I want to live a big life. Of course I don’t yet know what that “big life” looks like, but I guess I have ample time to find out.

Personally, I prefer to make a major change all at once. Drawing out the process only makes the reality of change more painful, although it does prolong the suspense which can sometimes be a good thing!

When I think back on changes that have taken place in my life, it seems as if they all happened quickly- making the change to homeschooling my junior year of high school (my friends didn’t know until the first day of school), changing my mind about not transferring to another college (a college that had a Spanish major!), making a vocational change last summer (seriously, that one was a doozy it happened so quickly!)

I like changes to occur at a lightening pace, which I guess is why I’m procrastinating on deciding what my life will look like after July 31!

How do you prefer changes to take place in your life?

blog signature

National Literacy Action Week

Standard

Did you know that January 28 – February 3, 2013 is National Literacy Action Week?

If you’re like I was a month ago, you probably have no idea what that means. Allow me to enlighten you!

National Literacy Action Week (NLAW, not to be confused with Next-Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon which is a real thing. Google it.) is a week in which individuals/organizations raise awareness for literacy in their communities and its link to various social justice issues. You’ll see some shocking statistics below that show the binds between the importance of literacy in regards to social justice. You can find more information about NLAW here.

The organization where I serve is participating in NLAW by chalking: going to local places and writing statistics about literacy, quotes about literacy, and promoting our organization by writing our website. I was hesitant at first about chalking and its impact, but it’s actually been really fun and a great opportunity to spread the word about literacy! If you follow me on twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen the barrage of tweets about literacy, #NLAW, and photos from our chalking adventures. I’ve enjoyed spreading the word and enlightening people in Durham about literacy!

Monday we went to a local bookstore and chalked on their front sidewalks. It was our test-run, so to speak, and although we were prepared, we weren’t very organized at first. However, it turned out well and we talked to a few passersby about how our organization is trying to help Durham!

408562_503601029678468_273067855_n

With one of my fellow AmeriCorps members after chalking!

150648_10151346218714407_442944779_n

60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate. Can you believe that?!

67468_10151346219479407_614818086_n

Quote by Frederick Douglass

14959_10151346220344407_1326284162_n

Had to include this since it’s why we were chalking!

Wednesday morning we planned on chalking at a local Center but the weather had other plans. After a random drizzle over Durham, we set back out to chalk up some stats and quotes and promote literacy! We were on a long sidewalk next to a fairly busy intersection and we got lots of stares, honks, waves, runners running by, and “I don’t believe that”‘s. Apparently, they don’t know the alarming statistic that 20% of Durham residents are functionally illiterate. 

539225_10151369653764407_345210382_n

20%!

22201_10151369643699407_995254369_n

I know quite a few of adults that make up that 14%.

540489_10151369560484407_773219759_n

love this quote!

149373_10151369683534407_1714191643_n

this one breaks my heart. I can’t imagine!

385283_10151369719254407_119864092_n

mandatory foot + hashtag photo

250637_10151369721864407_254965822_n

wohoo! #NLAW

602677_10151369726384407_764046022_n

Literacy –> Self-Advocacy –> A better life!

734753_504018069636764_1004978990_n

We had a lot of sidewalk space to fill in so I suggested this silly “HOP into literacy” hopscotch idea.

Other stats :

– 21% of US adults read below a 5th grade level. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 32 million US adults can’t read. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 19% of high school graduates can’t read. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 774 million people worldwide can’t read. (National Institute of Literacy)

– 85% of juveniles who enter the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. (Begintoread.com)

– Low literary costs $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs. (Begintoread.com)

 

You may not be a resident of my community, but I’m sure wherever you do reside there are literacy issues that cause other issues. What are you doing to spread the word about the importance of literacy?

 

Although National Literacy Action week is almost over, it doesn’t have to be! We can advocate for literacy year-round and help people in our community learn the invaluable skill set of reading & writing. Feel free to participate in the NLAW activities/conversations/tweets using the #NLAW hashtag!

 

 

Top 12 in 2012

Standard

There is no way I could possibly end this year without a round-up or list of some kind. It’s no surprise that I love lists. With my forgetful nature it’s imperative that I have some sort of ongoing list on the back of an envelope with my enclosed bank statement (true story) whether it be a grocery list, my infamous mile-long to-do lists, or a list of blogging ideas. I am a list maker.

So without further adieu, I give you my top 12 from 2012: a random concoction of top memories, moments, images that stick out in my mind as being associated with this year.

12. Living in Durham

To the outsider, Durham may seem “ghetto” or “sketchy” or whatever other adjectives you might attribute to my city. But, to the insider and a Durham native her whole life, it’s a pretty great place to live. This year living back in Durham after college has been adventurous & interesting, to say the least. I’ve learned a lot about my hometown and explored new places, even started a new job in Durham. I wouldn’t trade this city for anything. 2012 has been fun, Durham, let’s see what 2013 has in store!

11. Turner Classic Movies

It sounds silly, but this year has been a great year because I’ve been able to watch TCM! I didn’t get the channel in college, and I had missed out on so many good old movies. This year, I’ve definitely upped my old movie watching and even started tweeting during some films, using the hashtag #TCMParty. It’s been so fun talking with other classic film lovers and learning all sorts of new facts about actors, directors, & films!

10. The Durham Bulls

I would be terribly remiss to post about my year and not include the Durham Bulls in some way or another. So many of my spring & summer memories involve a baseball game, or being around the ballpark. I’ve lost track of how many “girl’s nights” were had at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park with dinner before at Tobacco Road, Tyler’s, or Mellow Mushroom… how many bags of peanuts I purchased and devoured… how many tweets I tweeted to @DurhamBulls… how many parking passes I had in my car from parking before games. 2012 will be remembered as the year I learned to love the Durham Bulls all over again.

e9148206efdd11e1ae2a22000a1d0127_7

9. Summit Church

After years of hearing great things about this body of believers, I finally visited one Sunday back in April. That church is huge, and despite my introvertedness, I have enjoyed going back and blending in amidst everyone. Each time I go, I learn so much. I can’t really describe it or put into words how thankful I am for a church like that and strong leader JD Greear. His messages challenge me, make me want to be a better follower of Christ, and make me long to serve overseas. All in all, The Summit has made a huge impact on my life in 2012.

8. Volunteering as a literacy tutor

This has definitely been one of the highlights of my year, possibly even my life. Giving someone the gift of literacy, who has gone their whole life without being able to read something as simple as a menu, is so rewarding and fun! Sure, it’s been challenging on both ends, but I think my student would agree that this year has been a huge blessing and learning experience! After all, he did read his first book ever just a few months ago!

I highly urge you to volunteer somewhere and make a difference in someone’s life! If you’re in the Durham area, let me know- I have a great place for you to volunteer! 😉  (shameless plug)

7. Live Music

As I’ve said before, there’s nothing more magical to me than live music. Ok, Disney ranks up there with magical, but I simply love live music. This year I got to see a few artists/groups in concert, and it was great! Jessie Baylin, The Fray, Lucius, and Milo Greene. Plus, every Sunday at church is like a mini-concert with the awesome worship music! 🙂

SAMSUNG

MILO GREENE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Isaac on the keys

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

6. The NC Cow Parade

No, I’m not crazy. If you live in the Triangle area, you should have heard of the Cow Parade by now. If not, read about it here. I got to “meet” a few of these incredibly creative cows in and around the Durham area while they were in town. I think it’s so cool that something so big can be associated with my city this year!

9ab025fa10c811e2957722000a1e9dcb_7

the Burt’s Bees cow!

5. Maximus Decimus Meridius AKA the puppy we call Max.

Gifted to Mom for Mother’s Day, this little fella has brought so much love, so many smiles, and lots of memories to our family. I love coming downstairs in the mornings to his sleepy self, and coming home in the evenings to a hyperactive puppy… it’s hilarious how excited he gets to see his family!

8269861226d011e2877122000a1fbc4f_7

November 2012

f7a6fa44aaa311e1a39b1231381b7ba1_7

July 2012

4. Cancer

This year, I was reminded just how much I want to kick cancer in the rear. I lost two dear souls to that horrible disease, and it breaks my heart thinking of how many other lives were lost to cancer this year. I know both of my loved ones are now with their Savior, but I wonder how many others are assured that their loved one with Him?

In honor and memory of my loved ones who lost their lives to cancer, I donate platelets as often as I can. It’s something so simple and easy, yet it can save someone’s life!

3. Disney World

I think everyone can agree that Disney is just so magical that it makes them feel like a kid. Disney truly was magical this past March as my crazy family paraded the streets of the theme parks, rode rides, and took too many pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. My California Trip!

Clearly I have been way too eager and excited to visit the West Coast for the past few months, but this was the year that dream became a reality! I have SO many pictures and stories to share about the trip, and if you can’t wait for my dozens of recap posts, feel free to follow me on twitter and read my tweets from the trip!

 

1. Blogging!

Typical answer for a blogger, yes, but I have loved keeping track of my life with this blog, and finding other bloggers in my area! It’s been fun “meeting” other bloggers and I enjoy reading blogs as much as I enjoy blogging. Let’s see what the next year holds in store for me & this blog! 🙂

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop

Standard

“I think that possibly, maybe, I’ve fallen for you. Yes, there’s a chance that I’ve fallen quite hard over you. I’ve seen the paths that your eyes wander down, I want to come too… I never knew just what it was about this old coffee shop I love so much.”

Ever since I first heard this song by Landon Pigg, it has been my dream to fall in love in a coffee shop.

Silly, yes, but I’m a hopeless romantic. Go ahead and laugh.

In college, at least three days out of the week, you could find me at the local Einstein’s, Dunkin’, or Starbucks in Greenville, SC. Perfect places to study, people watch, and daydream. Killing three birds with one stone latte? Bingo!

Although I was hardly there alone (yes I had friends in college), I always imagined that my studying session or chat with a friend would be interrupted by some mysterious guy walking in, smiling at me and then proceeding to come over and introduce himself. I’m a huge daydreamer, I know!

As dumb as it is, I still daydream about sitting in a coffee shop reading, blogging, or studying, and catching the eye of another customer. I daydream about time seeming to stand still as our eyes meet. I daydream about meeting the man of my dreams and falling in love… in a coffee shop.

“I never knew just what it was about this old coffee shop I love so much.”

SAMSUNG

A few Sundays ago, Mom and I were out and about running some errands, when I suggested we stop in Starbucks and grab drinks. Despite the fact that she’s a self-proclaimed “coffee snob” and dislikes Starbucks, she agreed to quickly run in and order my drink to go. Of course, that didn’t happen when she saw the Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino on the menu…she had to get a drink too 😉

While we were waiting for our drinks, Mom was doing her typical scoping the area out, as was I. We both happened to notice that most tables were full of students studying… cute guy students studying. Mom insisted that we stay and relax for a while, all the while she was scheming up a plan.

Unfortunately there was one empty table- towards the corner, where it was hard to see people or watch them. But, Mom was insistent that we sit there and chat for a few. So chat we did. I honestly feel so much more comfortable opening up to people about my life when I’m in a coffee shop setting. Random fact, yes.

When she had slurped the last of her drink (because really, frappuccinos require some slurpage), we stood up to make room for more studying students. As we walked out, I glanced back at one handsome study-er in particular and smiled. I wonder if he even noticed?

In the car, Mom told me of her plan to introduce me to a guy in Starbucks. She had a little script planned out and everything. Yeah her idea and intentions behind it were nice, but on a scale of 1 to 10, having my mother randomly introduce me to a random cute guy in Starbucks ranks up there with MOST AWKWARD SITUATION EVER.

Fast forward one week to the following Sunday. I was meeting a friend to discuss California trip plans before church. As we’re waiting for our drinks, I notice a particular handsome study-er from the week before waiting in line and have a mini freak out.

Twice in one week in the same place?! Why haven’t I been here more often?! How have I not seen this man before?!

My friend and I sit down and start talking excitedly about Cali. We discuss minor details and then start reading the San Francisco for Dummies & Frommer’s Guide to Los Angeles 2011 that I bought in preparation. When it comes to trip planning, I get serious.

I couldn’t help but watch handsome study-er as he got his drink and headed over to sit down and read the newspaper by the window. I couldn’t help but attempt a smile as he glanced my way. I couldn’t help but watch him as he moved to a different chair and pull out his Bible. I couldn’t help but pray for him in that moment. I couldn’t help but wonder…  and wish there were some way to meet him without being 100% awkward like I always am.

With my luck I will probably never see this guy again, no matter how many times I visit that Starbucks. But it was nice, for a few moments on Sunday, to daydream about possible beginnings to a story that included him… and I’ll admit I’ve thought about his face more than once since then.

“I never knew just what it was about this old coffee shop I love so much.”

So here’s to all you other daydreamers out there- may you find love. Whether it be in a beloved coffee shop or on the bus, in the checkout line at the grocery store or at work, online or next door.

 

Finding Your Way

Standard

I started this blog post on Monday and have yet to finish or post it, so here goes:

Monday marked a year since I started this blog. My first post was simple and straightforward.

Entitled Finding My Way, I hoped to entice fellow bloggers and friends to keep up with my life post-college. I kept things personal at first… talking about family… birthdays… plans for the new year, etc. And then they morphed into “let me show you this part of Durham” or “here’s what I made for lunch”  and “look at pictures from my trips” posts. Then it got to the point where I wanted to reach out to a bigger audience, yet didn’t have blog content that was alluring enough. Now it’s at the “I blog for me” stage.

I can’t say that I’m proud about what the past year has held for my blog, but I’m content. Sure, my blog will never have 100+ views daily, nor will any of my posts be featured on the Freshly Pressed page, and I’ve come to accept that. My blog design isn’t as appealing as I want it to be, but it does the trick. My posts aren’t as regular as I want them to be, but that’s ok.

Let’s just pretend like this is a “Year in Review” type post, ok? A few of my personal favorite posts from the past year:

December 12: Nana’s Point of View

Puzzling

Spinach Pancakes

Homeschool Dance Off <yeah, I went there>

Life in the Peruvian Mountains <I miss those mountains>

Ten Reasons I’m Excited about DISNEY WORLD

Animal Kingdom                           Epcot                                 Disney’s Hollywood Studios                          Magic Kingdom

American Tobacco Campus <one of my most-viewed posts!>

What Would You Do? <in these awkward situations>

Wannabe Runner

The Art of Bus Riding in Lima

Things I Can’t Put on my Resume  <but oh, if I could…>

Durham Dates (part 1) (part 2)  <I have still yet to go on any of these dates… come on dudes!>

I Fell in Love with Swimming

How I Learned Spanish

Summer, Day 1

Wedding Weekend <SUCH a fun weekend!>

Exploring

On Donating

One of Durham’s Best Kept Secrets <I dare you to read it!>

Fireworks <they’re magical!>

My Favorite Things about the Durham Bulls

On Alcohol

Dad and Sam <my student read his first book!!!!>

The Wreck

The Visitation

NC State Fair 2012

Month of Thanks

Children’s Hospitals

A Year Ago Today <graduation!>

A year has passed and I’m still trying to find my way in this world. It’s hard being a 20-something in a world that tells you to “do this” and “be that” when all I want to do is listen to God and follow His plans for my life.

Are you going to stick around for another year of me trying to find my way? 

Screen shot 2012-12-15 at 8.46.48 PM

my one year blogiversary was 12-10-12

Flawed

Standard

When asked, “What is your worst quality?” one might not have an immediate answer. I know I don’t.

But, when given time to stew over that question, a few qualities of mine come to light. I’m not proud of any of the qualities I consider as “bad” but then again, who IS proud of their bad qualities? And I think we can all admit that we have them.  We’re all flawed in different ways… I mean, we are human, it’s only natural.

My worst quality is jealousy, and this is a quality that has surfaced lately in my life.

I’ll admit it- I’m somewhat of a jealous person. Of course I don’t notice it until my jealousy is in action, so to speak. And although it might not be very noticeable to outsiders, I’m aware of my jealousy and I hate it.

I get jealous over stupid things which include, but are not limited to: dating couples, married couples, those gorgeous model girls that guys adore, people my age who have babies of their own, people who claim to have the perfect job, people who have everything figured out in life, those who can drop everything and travel in a split second without having to worry about finances. Argh.

As you can see, I covet silly things… things that really don’t matter in the overall scheme of things. This quality of jealousy is something that I’m aware of and try to combat daily, whether it’s being jealous of something small or silly. The Bible is clear that jealous is a work of the flesh… and I don’t want to walk in the flesh but in the Spirit.

 

Galatians 5:19-24 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with itspassions and desires.

Romans 13:12-14 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

 

Jealousy is even one of the Ten Commandments! Talk about convicting…

Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

 

——————————

This post was a response to the Daily Prompt. What’s your worst quality?

A Year Ago Today

Standard

Clearly I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately… especially after that “A Year Ago Tonight…” post on Wednesday. Can you really blame me? A year has passed since a few important events, and I’ve been doing my best to remember those special times in my life.

A year ago today was Thursday, December 8, 2011. My college graduation day.

Family and I had driven the 4-hours to SC the day before, and had spent the evening at dinner with friends, walking around downtown Greenville, and figuring out what I was going to wear the next day. (Yeah, I hadn’t decided on my graduation outfit until the night before. Typical girl.)

I woke up Thursday morning around 8:00. My parents were all excited, saying, “it’s your graduation day!!!” and my grandpa proceeded to tell me how he had known this day would come because I was such a “smart girl.” I smiled and tried to keep my cool, but honestly, I was extremely nervous about graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled that it was a smaller group of graduates than the Spring commencement, but I was nervous about walking across the stage, smiling, hugging the president, not tripping, etc. My stomach was in knots. 

Just the thought of food made me feel nauseous. Graduation wasn’t for another few hours, but I didn’t think I could eat anything without getting sick. (My body is so weird when it comes to being nervous.) I managed to drink some sweet tea and a few pinches off a butter biscuit, but even that was too much. Argh, nerves.

We drove to campus and my parents helped me figure out my gown and the hood. Can I just say that wearing a cap and gown is awkward? Because to me, it really is. Who looks good in those things, anyways?! I handed them my phone after ensuring it was on silent, and put on one last touch-up of lipgloss.

I met up with some friends and found my seat in the “holding” building. Everyone else was so happy and talkative and I just wanted it to be over with. Some whole group pictures were taken, and that was actually fun. I stood with my friend Mel, and we could not stop laughing. Her mom kept telling us to behave. It was hilarious.

 

I

I’m 4th from the L on the bottom row!

After pictures and last minute checks in the mirror, we lined up and got ready for our grand entrance. I was in between two people I didn’t really know, but we all were on the same page with our emotions of nervousness and excitement.

Walking in, I focused on not tripping, and trying to spot family/friends in the audience. I was successful in both 🙂

Once we sat down, I felt a little better. I just wanted this thing to get over with as quickly as possible because I was hungry! Our president spoke, orchestra played, choir sang, a man spoke, and next thing I knew, people were standing up getting ready to get their diplomas!

We laughed at the "bling" around his neck

We laughed at the “bling” around his neck

 

My row stood and walked to the bottom of the steps. My heart was racing and I was trying to keep a smile on my face. When I heard my name, I carefully ascended the steps, shook hands and got my diploma, smiled a big smile, and walked down the stairs. I did it. I did it. I did it!!!

The rest of the ceremony flew by and before I knew it, I was standing outside anxiously awaiting my family and friends and familiar faces.

Ashley!

Ashley!

Sweet roommate, Brittany!

Sweet roommate, Brittany!

silly grandparents

silly grandparents

that's my cousin for ya!

that’s my cousin for ya!

Aubrae!

Aubrae!

proud parents :)

proud parents 🙂

and bro

and bro

with (now married) couple Daniel & Brittany!

with (now married) couple Daniel & Brittany!

AMANDA! Love and miss her

AMANDA! Love and miss her

 

Gorgeous friend Steph

Gorgeous friend Steph

After taking tons of pictures on multiple cameras & cell phones, we realized that most people had cleared out and left. Oh well, my family is always the last to leave! We went into the cafeteria that I was so glad I would never have to eat in again and I met up with a few favorite professors and fellow Linguistics/Spanish majors!

Spanish/Linguistics gals

Spanish/Linguistics gals

The lowhighlight of my day was a final hug and kiss on the cheek from Jimmy one last time.

so.awkward.

so.awkward.

And just like that, graduation was over, goodbyes were said, and I was changing out of my dress and into jeans for the drive back home. 

Did I really just graduate college and say goodbyes to people whom I loved within a span of a few hours?! So surreal. 

386204_10150428027319407_661514406_8043610_1612454407_n

We dinnered at The Olive Garden and arrived back home in Durham late that evening. I went up to my room, still full of unpacked college stuff, and pulled out my computer. I teared up reading all the encouraging comments, messages, and tweets congratulating me on graduating. Wow.

Of course now, a year later, I look back fondly on that day. Despite the stress, nerves, and uncomfortableness before graduation, the actual event and reception were worth it. I wish I remembered more of the words that were spoken, the faces seen, and the hugs given, because now I don’t remember much. I must be getting old, since my memory is fading 😉

I’m sad to say that it’s been a year since I visited my alma mater and some of my dear college friends. Most of them still live in and around the Greenville area, but every time I try to visit, something comes up. Why is it so hard keeping in touch with people you lived with for three years? :/

Growing up is rough, but I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned in this past year. I’m thankful for the fact that I went to college, and graduated with a degree in a field I am passionate about. Sure, nobody has heard of my alma mater, and although I have a few complaints about my time there, it holds a special place in my heart. I grew so much as a person during my time in college, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

A year ago today I graduated from college.