“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
When did my class standing suddenly change to sophomore??? It is unreal how this year reached its climax and dénouement.
Friday I ran my second 5K. During the week I contemplated not doing it; after all, what if I didn’t beat my previous time? Nevertheless, Friday found me running. Just before the run I got an incredible adrenaline rush that pushed me for the next 3+ miles, allowing me to shave off over 5 minutes from my previous time and finish before my Fit for Life teacher. Until then, I didn’t consider myself a runner; if anything I was an interval jogger. That 5K helped me to realize that limits are relative standards set by others. Those who overcome or challenge the limits become inspiration for those that follow.
Everybody seems freaked out about these finals. Should I be worried because I’m calm? Studying has become such a lifestyle for me that the mountainous molehill of finals somehow seems more like a long quiz I’ve already taken.
This was a difficult year for me, but looking back, I feel like a mother holding her newborn for the first time. The long, dark commutes, endless hours in the kitchen, and countless hours of work all seems like nothing now that they’re over. The labor in becoming Chef Rice was so worth it—I am happy beyond language! God is good; just the fact that our program still exists is enough to convince me that Southern’s Culinary Arts program is His doing. I’m glad I jumped on this opportunity to get my culinary certificate even though it meant putting off my B.S. in dietetics one year and am looking forward to watching us grow.
It’s time to say goodbye to Southern for the summer, my freshman year of college, and pre-professional life. Next Monday I start my internship at Morning Point (a nursing home in Collegedale for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients) and Greenbriar (a local retirement community). This summer is crammed with two family weddings, publishing our class cookbook, plus my 10-week internship—however—I just found out school doesn’t start till August 28, giving me almost a month off—yay! Perfect timing, because the garden will be coming in right about then; I could never imagine spending a summer without gardening, harvesting, and preserving food with mom.
The transition from homeschool to college wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I expected. At first, the classroom environment was a shock, whereas studying on my own came quite naturally. What got me was my 40-minute drive to school. Allowing time for my commute may have prevented me from doing fun things on campus, yet it never failed to ensure I went to bed early every night except once when I was up until 2:00 a.m. studying.
Let me leave you prospective freshman with a few tips:
- Have a budget for your time and money. Be on time, and show up.
- Carve out time for God. Everything runs so much more smoothly. Take a quiet hour outside just to be with God.
- You are here to learn. Education is your priority—the husband/wife will catch up.
- Don’t get so engrossed with school you forget to have a social life.
- Get to know your professors. Who knows, you may have something cool in common like a hobby, favorite ethnic food, vacation spot, or even a hometown.
- Pay attention to your diet and exercise regimen. It makes and breaks your grades!
- Try new things. Set goals.
- Laugh more, stress less—take life as it comes. You don’t know everything.
- Make good friends. I’ve learned that you can make your friends, but in the end they’ll make you. How you will live depends even on the little things you do.
- Be thankful and content. Give of yourself whenever possible.
Being an ordinary girl who chose a non-traditional course of education for a college freshman really pushed me out of my comfort zone. But it’s molding me into the person I will become tomorrow: one who will not be afraid to challenge the norm, be an inspirational role model, and be dedicated to a life of healing service to others.
What does next year look like? Well, this summer I’m formulating a vegan ketogenic diet designed to treat kids with epilepsy. In the fall, I’ll be back at Southern getting my A.S. in Culinary Arts while starting my B.S. in dietetics. If all goes well, I’ll be transferring to UTC to complete my dietetic training the year after. Chemistry had better compensate for cooking or I’ll be up a creek with four chemistries to complete. I’ll keep blogging, whether it will be a food blog or a random one like this one will be another saga. Getting my personal trainer’s license and working up to my new dream of doing a half marathon will have me frequenting the gym. The race of my life has begun; I’m smiling and embracing it with open arms and all the optimistic zing I possess, determined to finish strong.
More than ever I sense that God is using me. It’s frightening, humbling, and exciting all at once. I’m grateful He drew me to Southern. Dr. Whitten, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for everything! You are an amazing Christian professor, mentor, and friend. Without your encouragement, I may never have seriously considered dietetics or natural medicine. A thousand words aren’t enough to describe my gratitude.
What lies behind is progress;
What lies ahead I can’t imagine—
Much less guess.
But this I know:
My God will guide
Wherever I go.
So this is what it’s like to say goodbye…but not for the last time. Thanks you guys for reading; run to Jesus, and I’ll see you soon!