My Life at LU: A Student’s Reflection on Her Growth at Liberty.

A journalism student reminisces on her time at college.

The days are long but the years are short.

I blinked and time leapt forward through two-and-a-half years of undergrad life, procrastination and homework (in that order), all-nighters and copious amounts of black coffee to the final pages in this chapter.

I moved to the aspiring metropolis of Lynchburg as a transfer student, carrying an armload of journalism textbooks and a suitcase full of brand-new dreams, still trying to figure out my purpose and my worldview. Still trying to find my way around this world and where I fit in it.

I found answers to those questions – and, inevitably, more questions to take their place – and a few other things along the way.

For everything I’m not going to miss about Liberty University, there’s a handful of things that I am full of gratitude for.

Liberty gets a bad rap sometimes (for both logical and irrational reasons), but I have thrived here in ways I didn’t expect.

The deeply interpersonal relationships I have cultivated here, the investment and nurture my professors have lavished upon me and my peers here, the lessons I have learned the easy way and the ones I have learned the hard way here — they’re some of those rare and precious gifts I am unsure I would have found anywhere else.

The sense of belonging, of community and camaraderie I have found amongst the curious and inspiring individuals in the school of communication is like no other (how I love them so).

The unique opportunities I have been given to entwine what I have learned in the classroom with “real-world” experience, the allowance to explore what I believe and why, the room to try and to fail and to grow — I am who I am, in part, because of them.

The other part is the faculty — the professors who have imparted their sage wisdom, the ones who have celebrated with me, prayed with me, encouraged me and constructively criticized me, cried with me, struggled alongside me as we fought our way through departmental challenges and hardships like iron sharpening iron. The ones whose office doors are always open wide.

There is a soft spot in my heart for each one of them, and I can not type this out without those spots blurring my vision and causing a lump in my throat.

To Dr. Underation, thank you for bending over backward for us time and again, for teaching me that stories are everywhere and a life of mediocrity is utterly unacceptable (and that it’s all nonsense).

To Ms. Bonebright, thank you for being my friend, for believing in me when I was not sure I believed in myself, for bringing pizza to class, for your undiluted authenticity.

And to Mrs. Huff, thank you for publishing my stories and sharing your own, and for starting every class with this prayer: “Help us learn something new today that we can use for Your glory.”

The last two-and-a-half years have been no cakewalk, but it’s sure bittersweet. Surreal, even. These years have been so fundamental, so hard, so rich and so full of bewildering beauty, and I could not imagine them any other way.

In the words of The Office’s Andy Bernard, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

Here is your sign.

Make the most of these days. Soak them up and wring them out for all that they are. Soon it will all be memories.

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