I remember exactly where I was at during this point of my life last year.
I was a senior in undergrad, trying to survive my classes, pass my capstone courses, and do whatever I could to put my name out there before graduation.
I was doing the best that I have ever done before in school- making really good grades and actually retaining and comprehending the information that I was being fed.
I went to a national conference and got my name out there to some really big company like Warner Bros. Tv., Vera Bradley, and a couple different event planning firms and grad schools. And I also received my first job in my field as a social media and communications assistant for a global nonprofit that absolutely loved people and Jesus- two of my favorite things.
Although I accomplished a lot of goals that I had intended to complete, there were quite a few others that I had really wished that I didn’t let go of too easily.
In order for me to actually become serious and as disciplined as I was during this time of my college career I had to make a lot of sacrifices and unfortunately that made me distant myself from a lot of things that I cared about the most.
After a lot of thought and consideration- especially from the summer before- I made the decision to not return the following year to a job that I really fell in love with, stop volunteering for a ministry that truly developed my relationship with Jesus as a young teen, and even deciding to hang up my racket months earlier my senior year from a sport that I dearly loved.
It really didn’t occur to me that I was not only walking away from certain areas of my life during this time, but I was also unintentionally cutting off a lot of relationships with people who were by far the biggest blessings that I was ever given. And that sucked.
No, I did not see myself continuing to work in education, getting a job as a youth pastor, or even becoming a professional tennis player (like I’d ever even come close… lolol).
After doing a lot of reflection, I was reminded about how these different areas of my life have molded me into the person that God has created me to be.
Fast forwarding to after graduation: I never thought that I would move back to Chicagoland after graduation. I thought that I was going to move straight to California, get a job as an RD at a university, and start a master’s degree in management and leadership.
Boy… Was I wrong!
As the summer began to wind down I started to realize that my plans were not as great as my God’s. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it I knew that I wasn’t ready to make the move to California yet and the jobs that I was trying to make “work” wasn’t cutting it.
Finally I laid it down on the line and gave in. I surrendered all of my selfish ideas and plans to God and confessed that there was no way that I could press play and make my “picture perfect” life go into action. I realized that I was kind of doing what I did in my previous undergrad years again- trying to do it all and be the poster child of a college kid until my head explodes.
During this time I realized that I had to be okay with not knowing everything all the time and being okay with the unknown. I had to realize that my plans are not perfect and they will not always go the ways that I want them to no matter how many sticky notes, highlighters, and stars I put next to them in my agenda.
Finally, I recognized that my worth does not come from whatever success or accomplish that I make in the workforce, in the classroom, or even on the courts. It comes through the love and compassion that Jesus has for me and that is more than enough.
A few weeks go by and I finally receive an acceptance letter from a company that I did not plan to receive. After sending out a lot of resumes, cover letters, and applications Towards the end of summer I accepted my job offer from the Walt Disney Company for the Disney College Program in California. I remember filling out the application and thinking that it would be a dream to come true to work for the company that reminded me as a little girl, that dreams can come true… but I was not expecting getting accepted at all.
Then I remembered His ways are higher than my own. I can’t thank God enough for this opportunity to further my education, to be mentored, and work for a company in my field that is so near and dear to my heart. Shortly after my acceptance letter I tried to fight the idea, but I knew that I needed to make the move back to Chicagoland.
Throughout my entire time in college I tried so hard to create myself getting involved in more clubs and extracurriculars than I can count, mentoring underclassmen, leading worship, playing a collegiate sport, and trying to build relationships with those around me. However, the junior year slump hit me pretty hard and by the time senior year came around all I could focus on was just finishing and getting that “dream job”.
Looking back, I realize that I was not as intentional as I should have been during my senior year. That is probably the worst regret that I have throughout my entire college years and thinking what if. Just because I had to make some sacrifices did not mean that I had to let go of some of the people who meant the most to me. And for that I am truly sorry. I had many nights after graduation in full thought thinking about certain people in my life and what I could have done, or what I could have said to help them or just be there for them. And that was the worst pain that I could have ever of felt.
I love people. I love my family. I love my friends. And I love knowing that I can and somehow make an impact in the lives of others. But this last year I felt so disappointed in myself because I felt like I was not able to do that, or was in the place to do that.
Personally, coming back to the area again felt like God giving me a second chance.
I don’t want to ever look back and think “what if” again.
I don’t ever want to have a friend have to reevaluate our friendship and question if I really care about them or not.
I don’t want to look back and think what if.
To those that ask and wonder if God ever gives second chances…
He definitely does.
Don’t underestimate the power and grace that our God has for you because it is never-ending and will continue to pour graciously out on you.
If I could encourage you about anything, don’t ever miss out on any opportunity especially if it involves continuing to grow more like Jesus and showing others His love for them.
And another thing- if you are given another second chance, don’t take it for granted.
You were given this opportunity for a reason. Grab a hold of it and make the most of it.
So life update: I am now a grad student getting their MBA (also something else that I said that I was never interested in… jokes on me, I actually like it a lot!) and working as a social media assistant. In three months I will make my big move to Southern California to work in event planning with the Walt Disney Company. My hopes are to also continue to get involved with PRSA and other young professional networks, network within entertainment publicity, maybe join a club tennis team, and just become totally immersed in this new adventure showing everyone that God puts in my path the love of Jesus.
Until the big move, I am loving the joy, peace, and comfort of being surrounded by so many Christlike and loving individuals that helped me grow and become the person that I am today in the bourb. I love all my fellow tigers so dearly and am beyond thankful for this opportunity to reconnect and grow some seeds before this new journey.
Here’s to second chances, to new chances, and to no looking back.