The inevitable countdown to the new school year has already begun and I am SO EXCITED to see all of my friends who have done all kinds of things this summer from traveling all around the world, going on mission trips, working on Summer Staff for YoungLife camps, taking on not one, not two, but THREE summer jobs, and those who have simply just enjoyed relaxing at home. My summer, unlike most of my friends, has been spent at the one place people probably don't want to be at during break — school. But summer school was not on my agenda for this summer and instead, I took on the role as an Orientation Leader for the incoming first-years and transfer students at the greatest school on earth: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Before starting the job, I was super excited but a little hesitant about the summer months and what they would look like for me. When I came to Carolina last year, my OL was simply amazing — she helped me transition to UNC in a way that allowed me to be confident and knowledgable about coming to a huge university where I knew only two other people. Because of how much of an impact I saw my OL make on students, I decided to take the opportunity spending my summer helping the incoming baby tar heels. After months of training, all of the OLs moved into our designated residence hall at the end of May and began our long, exhausting roller coaster as official Orientation Leaders.
Fast forward to the last week of orientation — Throughout the summer I have learned so much about myself and what it means to truly be a servant of Christ. I have not only grown as a person, but I would like to believe that I've grown in my faith, despite being distant from many of my wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ and all of the wisdom they bring. I have learned patience, humbleness, and perseverance from both my team members and the students in my group. During times when I faced difficulties leading my group, my team would pour their support and guidance into me allowing me to see that patience was necessary. I learned through pro staff members and teammates that this job was not necessarily about if the students liked me but about serving them and making their (possibly) first experience at Carolina amazing. Lastly, I learned that even when I was absolutely exhausted, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, my students needed the same energy and excitement that I exhibited in the beginning of the summer. Above all, I had to depend on God more than ever these past few months for everything that I just mentioned above and more. When I could barely get out of bed in the morning or hardly think straight, I had to lean on God and trust that He would help me get through the day. When I felt my energy failing and my enthusiasm decreasing throughout the sessions, I counted on God to give me the motivation to keep chugging along. And when I felt that at times I was so so so wrong for this job, I implored that God would show me truth in my commitment to the new students and show me that His plan, whatever it may be, was truly intended for me.
Looking back on the whole experience, although it's been one emotion after another, I am so thankful that I have been able to work with some of the most selfless and humble people, been able to meet amazing students with all kinds of different personalities, and been able to learn more about myself while simultaneously furthering my relationship with God. My coworkers/teammates/friends have been some of the greatest blessings in my life this summer and have helped me grow as a person in multiple ways. As the summer comes to a close, I realize now that I am so lucky to have been able to become friends with some of the most unique people out there. I've had the chance to meet someone who has played the cup song on top of mountains, someone who's lip is partially still numb after a surgery, someone who takes boxing classes, someone who is the most talented artist ever, someone who shamelessly enjoys Supernatural just as much as I do, someone who will wear Chacos with anything, someone who will dance whenever for whatever reason, someone who jumps out of golf carts just to retrieve a clipboard, someone who will go eat sushi with me just because, and someone who after a year still puts up with me and our crazy friendship. Regardless of how drained I am after this summer, I am so happy that I was able to take away some monumental things from this experience such as close friendships and the fact that I was able to help students transition to the greatest school on earth. And that is something that I truly thank God for every night.
Romans 5:3-4 — And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.