Asbury Musing part 2: Studying vs. Learning

I found this post waiting in the draft section; I forgot all about it, oops. Even though I wrote it way back in January, my thoughts on this subject haven’t changed and I wanted to share it with you now, with an added post-script at the end. šŸ™‚

Yesterday [January 13th] was my last first day of school. In a little over 4 months I will be done with my college career and school in general. An unsettling feeling comes when I think about how I’ll be done with two decades of schooling. Going to classes and studying is the only life I’ve known, and it’s all about to change. Yes, I could go to grad school and continue my education, but honestly I don’t want to go. I’m thankful I have been blessed with an education, especially a college one, but I’m ready to be done. Maybe that’s the senioritis talking, but I’m ready to put what I’ve been learning into practice. I’m ready to put the books down and make my rookie mistakes so I can gain experience in my field. Books and homework can only teach me so much before studying becomes stale and the joy of learning has faded.

Once I saw a quote on Pinterest attributed to Natalie Portman that said, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. Learning is beautiful.” That quote sums up where I am right now: I am ready to be done with studying but not learning. I want to continue learning about anything and everything throughout my lifetime. My soon-to-come diploma does not mean I will know everything I need to in order to survive and succeed in life. I understand I still have a lot to learn, and that doesn’t scare or bother me. I’m actually excited by it! Even though my time at Asbury will be complete, I don’t want to stop learning. I want to learn from the wisdom of others, what life has taught them and how they refused to be defeated by the roadblocks in life! Because I will no longer have classes that will keep me accountable in my studies, I will have to create time to learn things on my own.

Does this mean I’m not going to try to study this semester? Of course not! I do still want to be a good student, and will take advantage of this time to sharpen my skills and talents. I’m going to continue to give my best in my schoolwork because I only have a little time left here at Asbury, and I’m not going to miss it for the world.

Like I predicted above, now that I am done with college it’s harder to for me to find the time to continue learning. So when I went to the Natural History Museum with a friend and I decided to look for things there that could help make me a better filmmaker and storyteller. That simple new mindset completely changed my experience at the museum. I picked through all the information presented and learned things I personally found interesting, such as bioluminescent creatures and the simplified definition of a mammal (hair + milk + special ear bones = mammal) and a number of different types of butterflies (one even landed on my friendā€™s head in the butterfly pavilion!). It was so much fun! Never again will a museum trip be just another museum trip; it will always be a new learning adventure.

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Asbury Musings part 1: Finding Strength in His Spirit

Two weeks ago I walked across a temporary stage in the gymnasium, received my diploma, and got my picture taken with Dr. Gray as a college graduate. I said goodbye to my friends, packed up my car, and left Kentucky. CollegeĀ has been a crazy ride, full of good times and not so great ones, but through it all I learned a lot about myself. Over the past two weeks I have been processing what exactly I learned over the years and how I have changed. So, I thought I’d share my “Asbury Musings” with you.

I first thought about the drastic difference between my underclassmen and upperclassmen years. My freshman and sophomore years were a lot of fun and not that challenging. I hung out with my friends and we made a lot of crazy memories together (Sophomore Musical anyone?). But everything changed when junior year came around. My classes got harder, I was easily overwhelmed, and had to stop hanging out with most of my friends just to get my work done. I knew over half the people on campus but I couldn’t focus on all those friendships and pass my classes (example:Ā I had DFP and Screenwriting that semester). But the worst part was that I started having back problems that forced me to sit on the sidelines more often than I wanted to and watch my friends have fun.

It continued the same way in the following three semesters; less interaction with my friends outside of the classroom while my life gradually spun out of control. Then in the middle of my final semester at Asbury, I realizedĀ that I was so run down, physically and emotionally, out that I couldn’t continue, even if I had one month until graduation. I was in the midst of a horrible back spasm and was angrily questioning God why I was in so much pain. I thought He healed me but I hadn’t had any improvement in a long time. I never knew what could trigger a back spasm and so I was scared to do anything that might set it off. Everything I tried to do to heal myself wouldn’t last, a back spasm would always come again and the pain would leave me almost paralyzed for several days. Nothing worked and I began to think there wasn’t any cure for me.

While I was desperately begging God to make the pain stop, He gave me a choice: I could continue living the way I was (stubbornly on my own) and quickly end up with a bad case of depression and anxiety, or I could choose to live in the strength of God’s spirit and trust that He would renew my worn out body, and then give me strength to finish out the semester strong.

Then it hit me: I had been trying to get better by using my strength, not God’s. I did my best to find my own cure, and then push through my semester so it looked like I was fine. I wasn’t “fine,” but I thought I had to be. I realized that if I wanted to live I couldn’t continue in my own strength because I had nothing left and no way of healing my back. But if I chose to live in the strength of His spirit I had a chance to live life to the fullest again.

I chose to trust that He would provide the healing I needed to finish the semester strong; and He did exactly what He promised. He gave me the strength and rest I needed to finish all my projects and finals, and to walk across that stage and jump off the stairs in celebration as an Asbury University graduate with minimal to nonexistent pain. Praise the Lord!

Now that college is over, my back is not 100% (it has yet to happen) and I’m still recovering from college itself. However, I will continue to live in the strength of His spirit everyday because, even though college is over, a new chapter in my life has already begun and I’m not going to miss one bit of it!