Well folks, classes are back in full swing and so that means that I am officially back in the swing of things. Summer was really great but it feels good to get back into the rhythm of school and life here on campus. I'm so far having a really great, easy time with everything. After the stress of last semester, I decided to take things a little bit easier this semester and so am finding myself with lots of down time which is something I had been missing! My fall class schedule looks like this:
Greek Reading M 1 - 2
Seminary Singers M 5:15 - 6:45
Introduction to Christian Ethics: Economic & Food Justice T/F 10:20 - 11:50
Presbyterian Polity T 7 - 10 (although this class is mostly conducted online and really only meets in person like four times the entire semester)
Hebrew Reading W 11 - 12
Reformed Worship TH 2 - 5
Yeah, not much at all. 12 units, to be exact, which is the least I have ever taken in my entire life. I cannot tell you how freeing it feels. I actually have time to have a life and watch TV and blog and all those other little things that I didn't ever have time for last semester. Plus, I've got enough non-class related commitments around here that I felt it was necessary to lighten my course load enough that I would be able to be fully present and fully committed to all my classes and my other responsibilities. I'm serving as a Chaplain's Assistant this year which means I am part of a team that helps plan, organize, and lead all 4 of our weekly campus chapel services here. It's a pretty big commitment but it is also a lot of fun. We've already gotten compliments on our services and how powerful they've been which is so great to hear since chapel is such a central part of this community. I'm gaining a lot of useful skills from it that I think will serve me well out in the church setting. I've been learning how to write liturgy and recruit liturgists and select appropriate hymns for the service and compose a worship bulletin. All things that will serve me well out in the "real world". It's also allowing me to stretch my creativity somewhat and work in unfamiliar territory. It's also teaching me how to work collaboratively which is something that is hard for me since I tend to be a very independent person. Yet, I've been learning how important and even crucial feedback from colleagues is. Their ideas and their input are an important part of the process so it is good for me to learn how to accept it. I tend to have a hard time accepting criticism. I need to learn how to do a better job of it. I'm hopeful that the next year will help me with that.
I think I've finally found my place here on campus. I didn't really blog about this but I spent a good part of last year feeling really disconnected from the campus and really starting to question if I had a place here. I did consider leaving but ultimately decided to stay and work through those issues. I think that is something I have always struggled with: that feeling of being disconnected from people and places. I know I experienced it in college which is why I almost left there after my first year. I think part of it may have to do with my social anxiety issues. Being around people is hard for me and I feel like I have a hard time fitting in. It even hit me when I was living in Chicago; that sense of feeling completely and utterly alone and like you don't belong. A lot of that may have to do with being the new person. That may explain why I've felt more at peace this year. I'm now a confident and experienced second year with several leadership positions on campus so I'm someone that the first year students can really look up to and ask advice from. I've really enjoyed that experience. I'm enjoying my role as somebody who knows and remembers what they are going through and can therefore give them advice that is important for them to hear. I hope they experience a sense of peace when they see me and know that I am always there for them if they need somebody to listen to them complain about the workload or the stress level.
It took me a year but I think California and SFTS are starting to feel more and more like my home. I'm in a really good place right now. Not sad, not depressed, not questioning my very presence or existence. Just happy and content. Things are going really well in my life. All the ducks are in a row, as they say, and the ones that aren't might soon be (more on that hopefully!). A friend of mine wrote on her blog that she's got that "middler swagger" and I think that's pretty true for me as well. I've got "swagger" to spare this year!!