From the Basement

April 13, 2010

Day One

Filed under: Faith,Grad School,Graduating — jeannablue @ 9:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

This isn’t Day One from the basement, but it’s Day One of this blog. Here goes nothin’.

In the interest of using good manners, even online (especially online), I’ll introduce myself. I’m the girl downstairs reporting from the basement – my mother’s basement that is. Her basement is located in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin, a lovely property that butts up against the woods and somehow got absorbed into a subdivision that sprang up years after this house was here. The reason for my being in backwater Wisconsin is that I’ve completed my classes for this semester. I’m a college senior – was a college senior? – and I’m graduating this May from a notable liberal arts college with absolutely no idea what is going to happen next.

How does a Type A, oldest child, overachieving student end up in her mother’s basement? Pretty darn easily. Let’s just say that I envisioned a different outcome for myself when I applied for Ph.D. track programs this last fall. I anticipated one, maybe two acceptances – that seemed par for the course (or so my professors said). However, in the middle of March, I found out that I would not in fact be attending graduate school this fall.

“Bummer” is probably the best way of appropriately expressing how I felt.

Truth is, by the time the twelfth rejection came around, I was realizing that I had rushed myself. In the midst of juggling class, relationships, and various projects, I had let something slip: the brutal honesty that comes with self-examination. I hadn’t considered the hard questions: what if you don’t go to school this next year? What is your identity in? Where does your confidence come from?  A few months later, I turned around – ten pounds heavier with twelve rejection letters in hand – and finally sat down with a pen and paper, sifting through the rubble in the hopes of finding a treasure.

What if I don’t go to school this fall? I write. I read. I do something that will help pay for student loans.

In what do I place my identity? I am a daughter of God, beloved of Christ. That is an eternal identity, an eternal inheritance. Unfathomable, but equally unchangeable.

Where does my confidence come from? It should come from God and knowledge that he has hedged me behind and before. But I’m working on that. Trust is hard.

When our lives look like a fuzzy TV, God is still in control. He always was, he is now, and all things truly work to the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

In the midst of having my trappings and expectations collapse, I realized that I had not surrendered my dreams of graduate school to the one who put the stars in the sky. I had been consumed by the need to meet my own expectations, to impress others, to have a good response when people asked the ever-terrifying question, “What are you doing next year?”

(Minor aside: that question is the bane of every college senior’s existence, even if they have plans for next year, and asking it will do nothing more than induce heart palpitations. So consider their health and ask a different question – and “And what do you plan to do with [your random liberal arts] major” isn’t much better.)

All this to say, I’ve gone from being the Girl with the Plan to the Girl with No Plan. And I’m slowly coming to realize that that is an okay place to be. His love is enough to sustain me.

I’m job hunting, but I want to take this year to get to know myself again and – more importantly – to rest in the arms of my Creator and enjoy taking life slowly. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that something good will come of this time. This is the blog I’m going to keep on that journey. It may attract some readers; it may not. Regardless, it is my goal to post one thing a day. It may be a meditation or a link to a funny story or an encouragement or a scripture. Who knows? I just want to write and listen. Write and listen.

Write.

And listen.

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5 Comments »

  1. I’ll be reading! And listening 🙂

    Comment by Emily — April 13, 2010 @ 11:06 pm | Reply

  2. Me too, me too! Love you 🙂

    Comment by Kirsten — April 14, 2010 @ 1:48 am | Reply

  3. Great first day! You know I’ll be following along 🙂

    Comment by Aaron — April 14, 2010 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  4. I’m so proud of the way you’re handling things; you’re definitely making the most of what’s been an anxiety provoking year for all. Much love!

    Comment by Jenelle — April 14, 2010 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

  5. I love this first blog 🙂 and will be following it as well. It will help stay connected with you!

    Comment by Anna — April 14, 2010 @ 7:06 pm | Reply


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