Freshman Year

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:1-4

It is interesting how deeply I reflect on any given season once I can see the conclusion of that season on the near horizon. All of a sudden, waves of regret and thankfulness begin to hit me. Relative to my life as a whole, three and a half years may not amount to that great of a period of time. Yet, as I sat at a table outside of a popular bakery in Irvine recounting lessons learned over the last few years with a good friend, it certainly feels like so much has changed.

I remember walking into that dorm right after my parents and sisters had left. I remember having the nervous butterflies as I went to bed that evening still in disbelief that college had officially begun. I remember being afraid of leaving my close knit group of three friends from back home and never doubting that I would never be able to find friends better than those three at college. I treated UCI like a hotel that I spent most of my time at where I would spend minimal time investing into people and mainly waiting to go home and hang out with my “real” friends.

I don’t know when the change happened, but at one defining point, I began to call UCI home. Instead of saying I can’t wait to go home to San Diego, I’d reference UCI as my home when talking to my sisters. It was strange and unsettling, but that shift changed the whole nature of life at college for me.

There has been no lack of trials and tribulations at college. From failing out of engineering to feeling like a failure as a small group leader. I remember not being able to find a fellowship or a church. I distinctly remember feeling alone and isolated in my freshman hall.

Who knew that those that would actually reach out to me would be closer to home than I thought. All I know is that the reason I’m here today is because God put special people in my life.

Ellen and Joyce, thanks for bringing me out.

Annika, Abby, and Katie, thanks for dragging me to the gym.

Annika, thanks for being there, for the book recommendations and for being an awesome friend.

Josh, Matty, and Tim, thanks for giving me a safe place to be encouraged.

Jared, Beefy, Anthony, Brandon, and Sam, thanks for welcoming me in.

Caleb and Jerome thanks for reminding me that I wasn’t alone.

Christine, Gagan, Rachel, and Kyla thanks for opening up the second floor and being there to talk.

George thanks for trading stories with me.

Chris thanks for doing your best as an RA.

And to think that I wouldn’t acknowledge being thankful for these people that I had the privilege of meeting my freshman year until I would be leaving college makes me a little sad.

In reflecting, I have been reminded of the necessity of thankfulness. I could not put on my cap and gown and graduate from UCI without the support (however little or much) that you all gave me.

Thanks God for Freshmen year, and thank you for reminding me that you never left.

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