Steeling Oneself

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Perhaps it’s too early to begin the dreaded “Back to School” posts. Perhaps not. Some of my younger friends have the great misfortune to start back to school tomorrow. They are excited, which means they have not yet reached the stage where school has become drudgery. May they be the sort who never do.

It seems there are two kinds of people as far as school is concerned: those who love it and those who really, really don’t. In this and in many other areas of argument, I do not know exactly where I stand. Probably somewhere in the middle; I love school, but I love setting my own schedule even more.

I enjoy classes. I enjoy taking notes. I enjoy learning new things or relearning old things I had forgotten (an ever-lengthening list). I even enjoy taking tests, which may or may not exhibit some kind of latent masochism. I enjoy my major. Those things are all great.

It’s the pre-season warm-ups that get to me. The transitioning. Moving out of my house and moving back into a dorm room. All the preliminary meetings. Getting accustomed to whatever has changed on campus (and these days, it seems like there’s something new at Undisclosed University every single week).

I should probably be grateful for the transition time. If I could be magically plunged into the thick of the hardest part of the semester, I’d be miserable. Being able to ease into it, to adjust to the rising heat, is probably a mercy. In those first few days of scheduling and planning and textbook-buying, I’m getting adjusted to the levels of stress that will inevitably get higher as the semester progresses.

Meanwhile, though, I stand on the brink—well, technically two weeks away from the brink—of my final year of undergraduate study. I have entered the disquieting calm before the storm. I am wrapping up the books I’ve been reading; making checklists of things that need to be done before I lay my head down on a pillow in a dormroom bunk; making all the appointments that need to be made; going all the places I need to go. Quietly, carefully, gingerly preparing for the beginning of the end.

Sounds awfully morbid, doesn’t it?

It’s just hard to believe that after 17 years of jumping through the educational system’s hoops—a whopping 81% of my life so far—I’m entering the last required year.

And then, Lord willing, two years of graduate school. Anticlimactic, yes, but also true.

But this much I have learned in the last 81% of my life: that God’s strength is sufficient for everything I face. And that nothing I set out to do is impossible if it is what He wants me to be doing. In short, this final (if not completely final) year will be magnificent, if I leave it in the right Hands.  

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