Many of my classmates and maybe even yourself will remember their senior year of high school as the peak of their secondary education, a year filled with crazy adventures and lasting friendships.  It is an immensely exciting time in life as the pieces of the future fall a little more clearly into place and finally, instead of just imagining the next four years, you can truly anticipate it.  By this point, most people have hit their stride (at least as much of a stride as you can reach in the world of public education).

Now don’t get me wrong, part of that was true for me.  I have been able to be much more flexible with my time and schedule, finally having a chance to pry myself away from my AP study material and the next assignment on the syllabus.  However, this year has been nowhere near smooth.  I’m talking a drama infested, anxiety ridden mess of a year.  

So, before “Pomp and Circumstance” rings in my final moments as a high school senior, I'd like to take a chance to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned this past year.  While you peruse my post, enjoy the pictures I’ve added of the graduation photoshoot my bible study friends and I had!  Grab a cup of tea, this one’s a long one...

I was first inspired to do this post while composing a reflection I turned in as my final assignment for my AP Literature class this past week.  Basically, my teacher wanted each of us to reflect on at least six events in our lives which have shaped us and taught us lessons about life.  Coincidentally, the first six events that popped in my mind all came from my senior year (if that doesn’t indicate how hectic life has been…).  However, dwelling on these points of extreme heartbreak, loss, and pain has inspired me to take another more positive look on the past year in an effort to find both gratitude and closure.

I’m a firm believer that there is good that comes from every draining and unsuccessful experience, even if it’s just a reminder to not do it again.  On that note, I want to elaborate on the 5 things which I have been most genuinely grateful for this past year.

      1. Long Distance

Many of my readers may remember Preston, my boyfriend of a year and a half, who, this past August, made a huge transition to his first year of University. The transition to long distance was definitely hard on both of us.  He was off in a new place with strangers and no familiarity, and I was left at home for another year, looking anxiously towards making the same transition myself in the coming year.  Between the stress of separation and the difficulty of communication, this experience pushed us to find personal connection in creative ways beyond each other’s physical presence.  We had to be intentional with every part of our relationship, making time for phone calls, organizing care packages, planning visits, and being openly communicative.  

I am grateful for the opportunity this experience gave us to grow stronger as a couple and root ourselves in our own separate lives.  It gave me a chance to make independent strides in my own personal growth and school, and it helped prove to me that our relationship, while not my identity, makes me a better person.

  1. Bible Study

Ever since my sophomore year, one of the few constants in my life has been the Friday Girls Bible Study a few friends and I founded.  We gather together on a weekly bases to share a short devotion, Panera bagels, and the current happenings of our lives.  Sounds simple, and really it is, but there’s something so special about fellowship between Jesus lovers, no matter what you’re doing or discussing.

Through friendship troubles, tough classes, the stress of family issues, and whatever life throws at me, these girls and their love for God have gotten me through it all.  As you can also probably tell from the pictures, they’re all adorable in their UNC gear!  That’s right - all us seniors are going to the same college next year.  Turns out Friday night bible study doesn’t have to end when the school year does, and that’s one heck of a blessing.

     3. UNC

While we’re chatting about college, it’s definitely worth mentioning how much the college search, application, and acceptance process has blessed me.  I’m beyond excited to be a brand new Tar Heel and begin my transition to life as a University student!  From visiting campus to finding a roommate to becoming a National Champion, I’ve never anticipated a new chapter in my life so much.  Fresh starts, while sometimes scary, are filled with gifts beyond imagination, and I’m so stoked to follow God’s calling for my own life in Chapel Hill, NC.  The future is bright.

4. Bullet Journals

Another random thing I’ve been grateful for is something called a bullet journal. I won’t go into the details of its operation, but I think “brain dump meets planner” is a pretty accurate way to summarize how I’ve kept my bullet journal notebook.  Basically, it’s a new method I’ve used for organization, planning, and creative expression, and it’s given me a new perspective on how necessary art, writing, and creating are to the upkeep of the soul.

Past the early primary school years, so many people give up the colored pens and pencils, markers and journals, in the pursuit of more “practical” uses of their time beyond something so elementary as drawing and creative writing.   However, there is so much research and personal testimony that has been collected about the benefits of exercising creativity in whichever medium you prefer (song, dance, art, writing, etc.) as a means of personal satisfaction.

Strangely enough, this passion for living a more creative life has come full circle as my final year of high school comes to an end.  Creativity has never for me been the end goal, but rather has served me to better how I see the world and live in it in my school work, personal projects (i.e. the current post you’re reading), and my own quiet time with the Lord.

5. Family

Of course, I’ve saved the best for last.  My darling family who brought me into this world, raised and nurtured me, and showered me in love is at the top of my list.  

I know after I move out that nothing will be the same.  I will visit the same rooms and return to sleep in the same bed, but life without me will have gone on.  By that same token, my life will have gone on without them.  However, as I grow apart from them and the distance separates us, I know they’ll always be there to support me.  They’ll be my built in friends, my encouragers, and the people I’ll always have to turn to.  How could I not be grateful for such a profound and lasting connection?

I’m also thankful for you, sweet reader.  However you’ve impacted my life, however you’ve supported me.  It’s a joy to know you and for you to read my words.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lengthy post and have been assured that life, no matter how sticky and messy, is blessed in abundance.

Much Love,

Sydney xx



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