I’m Back!

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Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last wrote on here! It’s inexcusable, really, but since I last “talked” to you guys, I’ve finished my first semester of grad school with a 4.0 (thank You, Jesus), started my new job (which I love), spent New Year’s Eve in Spain (SUCH a gorgeous country), found out I was accepted to the study abroad program to Ghana this summer (Ahhhhh!!!) was awarded a scholarship that will pay for nearly half of my expenses for studying abroad in Ghana (thank You again, Jesus!!), and spent an amazing, anointed, life-changing week in Jamaica with Beckah Shae, my favorite music artist. Stay tuned for blog posts on that trip; words can’t express how INCREDIBLE it was.)

So, is it any wonder that I haven’t written?! It’s amazing even to me to look at that list of blessings. And I have SO many more to report…coming soon!

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26

xoxo,

Katie

Update on my Life (Well, Kinda)

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My life is pretty crazy right now.

And I don’t just mean being-in-grad-school-while-working-70-hours-a-week crazy. (Although that’s crazy, too. End of the semester, I’m waiting for you.)

I mean crazy in the sense that I’m living an amazing life with all of these incredible opportunities popping up. Doors keep swinging open. Just like Jesus promised, I keep asking, and I keep receiving.

Exactly three weeks from today (WHAT?!) I’ll be taking off for Madrid, Spain, with my best friend of 20+ years, where we’ll close out 2014 and ring in 2015 in the city square. I’ve never been to Europe, so I’m beyond thrilled!

Six weeks to the day from when I get back, I’ll be on a plane again, this one headed to Montego Bay, Jamaica, to volunteer in an orphanage and refugee home for former trafficking victims. My heart has been aching to help again ever since my trip to the Dominican Republic last summer, and I’m so excited to have another opportunity to do so.

(There are more amazing, life-changing opportunities coming up in my life that I can’t share yet, but be on the look out!)

This crazy life has me gone more often than I’m home, facing new challenges and circumstances more than having a stable environment, and frequently leaves me unsure of what’s around the corner.

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

When I Grow Up, I Don’t Want to Be Like Taylor Swift

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I’ve always been a little bit weird. Not the cute, quirky, endearing weird, but the kind of weird that makes people eye you warily as they slowly back away.

I used to give rocks to people as presents when I was a little kid.

Plain, gravel rocks.

Not polished, pretty ones.

Just gray rocks.

I thought it was cool. I had no idea it was weird until someone said, “Why would I want this rock? It’s not even pretty,” and then threw it. I watched it sail through the air and bounce off into the grass and I realized that giving rocks to people was, in fact, weird. I stopped doing so.

As I grew older, I learned to possess and maintain a sense of self-confidence that allowed me to ignore what other people thought of me. It’s worked pretty well; I graduated with my BA in English with a concentration in professional writing in April. I recently got accepted to University of Michigan for grad school. I’m working hard, paying my bills, and saving for the future. Usually, I’m too busy pursuing my goals to worry about the fact that society believes I should be out clubbing with my girlfriends and trying to find a boyfriend and returning home wasted to my own apartment. I actually forget that the way I choose to live my life isn’t normal. I talk about my Saturday night spent reading a book or watching cartoons with my little sister. And people stare at me and I’m just like:

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(Except minus the glass of wine. I don’t drink. *insert horrified look here*)

Sometimes, though, someone comes along and shatters my view of my life.

“What do you mean you don’t want to come to the bar with me tonight?”

“We’ll find you a boyfriend. Don’t worry.”

“Still living with the ‘rents, huh?”

“Doesn’t it bother you that you _________?” (Fill in the blank with any of the aspects of my life that go against society’s expectations….so, pretty much all of them.)

And I feel the need to defend myself and my choices.

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….which usually has the opposite effect that I wanted it to. It’s a mess.

So it leads to me thinking, which leads to me writing, which occasionally leads to me blogging about it.

When I picked up my little brother and sister from skating with their friends the other day, “Let it Go” from Frozen was playing when I walked in. I knew my sister would be happy about that and would most likely sing it all the way home. As we got in the car, however, my sister said to me, “They played that Taylor Swift song.”

“Which one?” I asked.

“‘Trouble.’ Does she only sing about her ex-boyfriends?”

“Basically,” I answered, glad that she chooses to listen to artists like Beckah Shae rather than Tswift.

“I was cracking up the whole time,” my little brother interjected from the back seat. “She sounds like a hurt goat when she sings, ‘OHHHHH!'”

“It’s dumb,” my sister said. “She should write stuff that can influence the girls who listen to her all day.”

“She should,” I agreed. “A friend of mine rewrote one of her songs once when I said that same thing.”

“Can we hear it?”

So I handed over my phone and they pulled up the YouTube video right then and there.

When I turned 22, everyone sang lyrics from that Taylor Swift song at me. Catchy tune aside, I couldn’t relate to any of it. My little brother so kindly pointed out to me, “I don’t think you’ve ever dressed up like a hipster and made fun of your exes.”

When I complained about Taylor Swift’s childish view of life at the time, my wonderful friend (who recently started a blog on here; follow her on Monsters of Mine) promised me that she would rewrite the song for me as a birthday present. I present: “22: A Song Taylor Swift Would Write if She Had Normal Priorities.”

By the way: the rock story I told you about? My uncle passed away recently. I was at my aunt’s house last week when I heard my Grandma question, “What’s this?” and picked up a (particularly) big, gray rock from the bookcase.

My aunt gave a teary smile and said, “I found that in his closet. Katie must have given it to him; it was in a little box marked ‘My Katie rock, 1995.’ He kept it all these 20 years because it was a present from his niece.”

Yeah.

Take that, person who made me feel like an idiot when I was five years old.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of society’s lies. It’s tempting to change ourselves so that we’re socially acceptable. It’s hard to remember that the way we are is enough.

But we are.

Besides, I don’t know about you, (haha, see what I did there?) but I like the above version of Tswift’s song much better.

Keep living your life the way you are, guys, even if (and maybe even especially if!) it goes against society’s norms. #WOGO: We Only Get One. (It’s my version of YOLO.)

Being a Pioneer

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I graduated Summa Cum Laude with my Bachelor’s degree from Rochester College yesterday, in the top 10% of my class and the first of two students to ever graduate through the Honors College.

As excited as I am to finish this chapter of my life and start new adventures, it’s also a little bit strange. I’ve spent the last four years of my life preparing for this moment, working as hard as I could to be the best that I could be and graduate with a 3.9 GPA (I’ll never forgive that B+ in my math class.) And now, suddenly, it’s all over; honestly, this morning, I automatically sat down at my desk to check and see what was left on my to-do list. It’s a surreal feeling to stare at it and see every item crossed off.

As I prepare for grad school this fall and all of the new, exciting changes that are sure to come along with it, I’ve found my theme song.

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When Beckah Shae announced that she had a new single on iTunes, I immediately went and purchased it. As I listened to it for the first time (and then kept it on repeat for the next five days) I knew that this incredibly encouraging song was going to become my anthem.

I’m holding these words and God’s promises close to my heart as I step out into new adventures. It feels pretty awesome.

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Farewell, Rochester College

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Warning: Many tears were shed in the creation of this post.

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To say that it is a difficult task to write about the past four years of my college education, express my gratitude to all of the wonderful professors who have supported and guided me, and attempt to say goodbye to all of the friends I have made during one of the most incredible experiences of my life in one article is most definitely the understatement of the year.

 

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Since transferring to Rochester College my sophomore year, I have not only had the chance to gain an education, but also to form lifelong friendships, grow, change and become both a better person and student.

 

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I have gained a vision for my life and future, and am excited about starting grad school this fall. Working as both a supplemental instructor and English tutor through the ACE lab has deepened my love for the English language and literature and cemented my desire to become an English professor and teach at the college level.

 

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I have made incredible friendships through various classes, writing clubs and Sigma Phi Delta Nu, of which I’m proud to be a member.

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I have thousands of pictures, memories, stories and jokes from the countless hours I’ve spent with my friends studying, learning and spending time together. I am beyond blessed to have found and formed friendships with people who have encouraged me, laughed with me and cried with me.

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Throughout the classes that I have taken here, I have learned more than I thought possible (especially because I have had to read Hamlet nine times in various courses!) I have been taught more than simply academics; I have learned spiritual, practical and life lessons. Professors have been more than instructors. They have supported and championed for me, welcomed me into their homes and given me their time and attention. If I can someday be half as influential and incredible as the professors I have had here, I’ll consider that a great accomplishment.

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I am thankful for more than simply the educational accomplishments I have had here, however. Through Rochester College, I have travelled multiple times to the Hillberry Theatre, Stratford, Rock Glen in Arkona, Canada and more recently, Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, where I walked through the ancient cities of Ephesus and Laodicea. I experienced Turkish culture and the Muslim religion firsthand by visiting mosques and various families. It was a life-changing opportunity that I will never forget.family turkey laodicea

Even as a writer, it seems as though words are not enough to convey the depth of emotions I feel upon preparing to leave here; I am grateful, excited, sad and looking forward to the future.

 

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful three years, RC. It’s been one heck of a ride.

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