Well it’s now only been a couple weeks since I left Bass Lake and transitioned back into life at home in Illinois, and oddly enough, it feels like I never left. The places I go and the things I experience have started to blur together and I’m having difficulty remembering where I am and what’s next.
Transitioning from place to place is an activity I have gotten used to over the past three years. The sounds and smells that accompany airports have become engrained in my memory. Even the smell of jet fuel has now associated itself with the though of coming home. Suitcases have become dresser drawers, sometimes never getting unpacked simply because I know I’ll just be packing them again soon.
It’s hard to not really have a place to call home. It’s not easy saying goodbye to my family, my girlfriend, and my friends over and over again.
As I’ve been relaxing at home the last couple weeks with friends and family, however, I’ve had some very good conversations about this very topic.
It could have been so easy for me to not take a risk and stay at home. I could have gone to a Big 10 school 30 minutes down the road. I would see my family multiple times each semester. They would come up and visit and come to football and basketball games with me. My friends from high school would have become my college friends. My life would have been much more predictable and stable – I would have had my whole life laid out before me in a easy-to-read instruction manual.
But as I talked to my friends and observed their lives, I realized how lucky I am. How lucky I am that I took the risk to go to a school 2,000 miles away in a place I’d only been once before where I would know not a single student. How lucky I am that I have been able to experience the sense of adventure of going to a new place by myself, meeting new people, and pushing myself to see how much I could grow. How lucky I am that I’m at an incredible Christian university where I am gaining not only a top-notch education, but also investing in the eternal – in my life as Christian and everything that entails.
So many things wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have come to APU. I would never have met so many amazing people that play such a huge role in my life. I would never have had the opportunity to experience the outdoors like I have and gain the love for them that I have today. I would never have met Kelly, my amazing girlfriend. I would never have had the opportunity to travel so much and see so many wonderful things in the western United States. And I would never had the opportunity to experience something like High Sierra.
With the ability to look back with some clear hindsight, I can now positively say that High Sierra was easily my best semester at Azusa Pacific. I gained so much from my time there and I am not the same person today as I was when I first stepped onto that campus in September. There were definitely some hard spots – being away from some very important people in my life – but those relationships are all the stronger now for having gone through that.
I love the fact that I’ve been able to blog about my experience up in the mountains this past semester. Going back over my old posts and remembering all the fantastic times I had up there is something that will never get old. In fact, my dad printed out one of my posts and framed it for me for Christmas so that I’ll always remember what I took away from High Sierra.
I hope that through blogging about my experience at High Sierra, I was able to incite in you an interest in this amazing program that APU has to offer. I hope that what I shared with you described to you a little bit about the absolutely amazing staff and faculty that played such huge roles in my life who I know call friends. I hope that I showed you how many life-changing experiences I had that shaped me in new ways and helped me to grow both as a student and a Christian.
And I hope you’ll e-mail me if you have any more questions about High Sierra because I would love nothing more than to talk to you about it and give you more insight into the semester!
I’m now getting ready for another transition – my next semester back down on main campus. As I am preparing to head back out to the Golden State, a lot of people are telling me it will be very difficult transitioning from High Sierra back to life in Azusa.
Leaving High Sierra was a very hard thing to do. To say goodbye to the life I had known for the past three and a half months was difficult to say the least. But shed tears I did not.
As my roommate Dan and I drove away from Bass Lake a few weeks ago, I had a smile on my face – not because I was glad to be leaving, but because I knew what awaited me. I had just spent the last three and a half months being filled to the brim spiritually, academically, and experientially by the faculty and staff of High Sierra. I am astounded at the efforts and time spent on us students by these amazing people. They created this semester to be one that inspires and causes growth in these areas, and through their wonderful efforts they succeeded in that. High Sierra was very hard work, but leaving that campus I knew what awaited me – the opportunity to take all that I learned and bring it back into life at main campus, life at home, and life in the future.
And I think that is exactly what the semester was set up to be – a time for filling the students up so that they might return to their lives in the “real world” as better scholars and stronger Christians.
Transition used to scare me. It symbolized instability and starting over. But today – transition gets me excited. I’m ready to take on the next chapter in my career as a student and I’m ready to take everything I learned at High Sierra and apply it.
You’ll hear from me again as soon as I get back to APU for the Spring semester. My pictures may not be as exciting as before (can you really beat Yosemite?), but I hope you keep reading as I discuss my transition back to “real life”.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years! Watch a lot of movies, spend a lot of time with your family, and take a lot of naps! See you in a few weeks!