Memories from Sophomore Year at University of Dallas (Part I: Fall 2016)

In honor of finishing Sophomore Year, and Junior Year at UD beginning in the Fall, I thought it would be fun to write another post like I did for Freshman Year, with highlights and favorite memories. This time, however, I decided to make a part I for Fall 2016 and part II for Spring 2017, since so much happened over the last few months. The memories I created during the Rome semester deserve their own post! 🙂

The Fall Semester:

  • Moving into Clark Hall was an experience! I was pretty much over the moon at the thought of having my own room in a triple suite—my own room for the first time in my life!
  • Suite life was pretty great! My two roommates and I each had our own space, our bedrooms, to retreat to whenever, and a common room to socialize and watch movies together.
  • Although, we did miss the Freshman dorms because we saw people a lot more than we did in Clark…
  • Discovering I am actually an extrovert was a big part of my second semester in Rome! For the longest time (probably because of my more solitary lifestyle during high-school as a homeschooler), I considered myself a shy and introverted person. But now I find it easy to start and maintain conversations, and be unafraid of being openly bubbly and enthusiastic.
  • I got to take Intro to Digital Media which involved a lot of Photoshop and photography. Thus, I acquired the skills necessary to create the family Christmas card. I love the Mac lab and feeling very much like a graphic designer when I’m there
  • I also got to create an online art portfolio and resume
  • Taking Basic Drawing I meant spending a lot of time on these still life drawings that frustrated me to no end. I learned how to be a perfectionistic artist over the course of that class, and the importance of drawing every day was stressed a lot by our professor.
  • Overall I learned that the art professors at UD seriously expect you to put hours of work into the projects and it certainly shows when you don’t.
  • My friends and I took lots of trips to a Frozen Yogurt shop near campus
  • I got well-acquainted with the Irving area and available shopping/restaurants 😉
  • College Republicans came into existence and it was fun helping to plan the Debate Watching Parties
  • Said debate-watch parties proved extremely entertaining this presidential election
  • I watched the Hollow Crown BBC with Shakespeare-loving friends in the media room
  • We also watched In the Heart of the Sea, apparently the story on which Melville’s Moby Dick was based
  • Perfect timing to watch this movie since I was about to read Moby Dick for Literary Tradition IV
  • My friend and I explored campus together late at night and it was pretty surreal
  • I took a Fiction writing course in this obscure, dimly lit classroom on the opposite side of campus…it always took quite a while to get there
  • My older brother visited me a lot this semester and gave me a professional lesson on budgeting 😉
  • The day after Thanksgiving my family, and one of my roommates and her family, and several other friends, met at Heritage Farms, a Mennonite community outside of Waco, Texas.
  • Although it ended up raining a lot that day we thoroughly enjoyed our time there with friends and family, petting farm animals, drinking apple cider and hot chocolate, and listening to gospel music sung by little Mennonite children

Some songs that remind me of Sophomore Year (Fall 2016 semester):

“Blew My Mind” by Dresses

All along, I try to live but then I think too much
Because most of the time all the thoughts in my mind get to me

“Through Your Eyes” by Britt Nicole

‘Cause you stood right there
And then you broke apart the lies
You told me I had something beautiful inside
You brought to life the part of me I thought had died

“Still” by Seinabo Sey

So as I wake up this bright morning
Nothing’s gonna bring me down
Waves are singing, wind is warm and
Summer’s here to stick around

“Trustful Hands” The Dø

chaos is my second home
i don’t mind
where i land
as long as i’m in trustful hands

“Sun Shy” by Dresses

I make my days my nights that’s when my heart gets pumpin
I’ll take you for a ride, my nights only just started
Show me some place I’d like, make me feel like I’m dreamin

“Bird Set Free” by Sia

I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I shout it out like a bird set free
No, I don’t care if I sing off key
I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me

“The Greatest” by Sia

I transform with pressure – I’m hands-on with effort
I fell twice before, my bounce back was special
Letdowns’ll get you, and the critics will test you
But the strong’ll survive, another scar may bless you

 

Our hearts are restless until they rest in You

It’s been quite a while since the last time I posted here, but lately I’ve been feeling the pressing need to share this season of life, however chaotic and overwhelming and rushed it feels. Because honestly, in the middle of this chaos, I’ve found peace. Peace. I don’t know if you have read earlier blog posts, but I’ve been wrestling with God for months, even years. I feel like I’ve been in a tug of war, at least a one sided battle, where I’m constantly pushing back against my Lord and Savior, shaking my head when he reaches out to me, whether through the beautiful religious art in a cathedral, a Bible verse that stands out to me when one of my friends reads scripture aloud for our suite, or something our theology professor says during a lecture. I can feel God pressing on my heart, knocking on the door of my soul, and so often the past year, even first month on this study abroad adventure, I’ve tried to cover my ears, because I wanted to be “independent.”

*Rolls eyes*

But that gets exhausting. There comes times when you are sitting on a bench overlooking the beautiful Italian countryside, and the weariness just hits you like a metro train 😉

Suddenly, you just stop, and you let God catch you in His arms. Finally, the long chase is over. You get so tired of missing out on the wondrous beauty and majesty of our Savior. You’ve spent so much time standing in those massive cathedrals, staring at frescoes and paintings of men and women who gave their whole lives to Christ, who gave themselves to honor Him and completely surrender to Him.

That moment came sometime, I’m not sure when, but when it came, it was like everything fit together perfectly. Maybe to read St. Augustine’s Confessions was to read of the miracle of God’s love and mercy for those who wander and stubbornly refuse to return to the loving Father.

The past year has been rough. It’s been painful sometimes, and I wonder why God shut a door that I, in my limited knowledge, believed should stay open. I’ve become frustrated over and over again, and over and over again, God reaches out to me, in this continual pursuit of my heart, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in my church at home, with Hillsong music blasting out around me, or if it’s in a majestic cathedral with a priest giving a homily. It’s been a slow thing, it’s been gradual and fraught with my stubborn excuses and impatience. It’s been a human thing. A human slowly learning to trust in Christ alone, to look to Him alone for all the answers and true fulfillment.

I’m going to learn how to pray a rosary, I’m going to learn new ways to honor my Lord, to worship him. He is wooing me, slowly but surely, and I’m falling in love with Him. I am learning to rest in Him.

I would love to hear of how you, whoever you are reading this, find rest in Christ. Those are the sorts of stories that will inspire the rest of us, no matter where we are in life.

Wanderlust

Earlier this month I wrote a post about being in between, that is, stuck between adventures. Soon I will be boarding a plane and flying across the Atlantic to live in Rome for 4 months! It’s crazy, I remember applying to UD and thinking that the Rome semester seemed so far off. Now, it’s nearly upon me and I’m struggling to prepare myself in every way possible. Although it will be a time full of new experiences and possible new risks, I’m ready to face down the coming months of travel and learning and exploration with my whole heart.

The past year has been, as I said previously, something of a mixed bag, both for personal growth and external learning experiences that have shaped me as a person. I’ve broken myself into the university lifestyle, that is, studying hard for good grades, rather than letting myself get distracted in daydreams and social life that college campuses offer. I’ve also learned how rewarding it is to dedicate myself to art projects and homework to best improve my understanding of visual perceptions, perspective, and proportions. This semester has greatly sharpened my mind in that respect, and I can’t wait to apply those skills in my travel sketchbook that I’m planning to use in Europe. I hope I can implement what I’ve learned to draw the great domes and arches that are abundant in the Eternal City.

Right now, I hope to use the rest of my holiday to read some of my favorite books and stories that friends and family have recommended, as well as watch some classics set in Europe or Rome. To name a few:

Films:

  • Quo Vadis
  • The Robe
  • The Scarlet and the Black
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy
  • Spartacus (the one with Kirk Douglas)

Books:

  • The Marble Faun by Nathanial Hawthorne
  • Phantom by Susan Kay
  • Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace (a perfect read for a girl traveling abroad and finding inspiration for writing)

Those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head, but there’s so many more to indulge in these last weeks of relative calm before the adventure begins.

Hopefully I’ll be able to blog again before heading out! 🙂

 

Fanart is a must

As I stated in my last post, my own original stories have taken a backseat as inspiration for those stories has drained away for the time being. Until I can once again envelop myself in my own characters and their worlds and stories, I have dedicated all my energy to the creation of “fanart”, which is not a new concept, but it gives me the incentive to write and draw to my heart’s content whilst exploring my favorite characters from fiction. Right now, I’ve transformed into a freakish Star Wars fan, namely because of the new Star Wars movies coming out recently. So, please sit back and take a look at some of the stuff I’ve drawn lately that is all about Star Wars 😉 :