Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Adventures

Good Morning Everyone!

Don’t hold your breath for brilliant thoughts in this blog, as I just woke up 20 minutes ago and am now at work, with not much to do.

The purpose of the posting is basically to let y’all know what’s been going on in my life. Big things are coming!!

It is now official that this is my last quarter at SPU. I am in my junior year here, about 4 quarters away from getting my degree, and I am withdrawing! My plan is to take a year away from formal education and go into the world and learn. My classroom with be a farm somewhere in the Northwest, or California perhaps. There are lots of farms I found through a website ( that trade room and board for 4-6 hours of work a day. So I am gonna go try it out. If I love it (as I suspect I will) then hopefully I can just keep doing it. If I don’t, then I have a few other possibilities in my brain of things to try out.

Hopefully this doesn’t catch to many of you by surprise as I have had a tough time at school since I got here my freshman year and am always talking about dropping out. I do not at all regret the past three years and I know they were needed. Though I am leaving without a degree, I really sense that this season is over and it is time to go to the next one. Where I will be and what I will do is yet to be discovered, and I am really excited (though slightly terrified) about the unknowns that are ahead of me.

This summer I will still be working at a YoungLife camp in Oregon called Breakaway, so I won’t be going to my farm until September or October.

Of course, I will be writing all along the way so y’all can read about my adventures.

And if anyone has a dependable car they want to sell for cheap let me know!

Peace be the journey,


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Freedom Exists?

The first week of the new quarter has been hard. It took a small miracle to keep me from dropping out on Monday and running away to California. The feelings of panic, being trapped, and hating what I study were all too familiar. It isn’t a new thing for me to want to drop out of school, or for me to wonder if there is a point to getting a degree.
Freshman year of college I actually did drop out for a quarter. I panicked and couldn’t handle sitting through classes, so I ran away to California for most of winter quarter. It was a time when running away might have been the best choice to make. I found myself surrounded by a community of family friends that loved me without conditions and wanted to support me in life. That community has helped keep me going through the last 3 years of college.
Most quarters I begin with a sense of excitement until the first lecture starts. Once I actually have to pay attention and learn and be interested I freak out and can only dream of gardening, hiking, writing stories or playing with dogs. I feel stuck and trapped in a classroom. The voice of a professor seems to drone without end. Though I usually have great professors who genuinely care about my learning, and me, they become the enemy during a lecture and I want to dash out of the room and scream at the top of my lungs just to remember I am alive.
This quarter began the same way. Panic, my legs twitching in preparation of running, and my heart speeding up, pumping blood everywhere in case I do run and need to scream. This quarter, however, I realized that I could leave. I am not bound to school; I do not have to study. I could do something else. With this newfound freedom I wanted to run even more. The running felt like skipping away in victory however, so I didn’t immediately recognize it as the same desire to run away.
What kept me from dropping out and going back to my California family? I have no idea what else I would do besides school. I have no idea what I want to do in life. I have whiffs of dreams, like my hands covered in dirt or working hard in a field, other times I dream of getting to write all the time and actually being able to make a living out of it. However, I don’t know what to do to make these a reality. I have loans up the wazoo that would have to be paid off if I dropped out.
So I stayed in school. However, the freedom I found is still there. This quarter I will do school because I am settled here and don’t have a good plan for anything else to do. Next year… the doors feel wide open.
I don’t think traditional education is for me. Anyone who has spent anytime with me in classes or doing homework knows I play with my nose and don’t read a thing. I think about lots of things and am smart and interested in lots of subjects, I just get bored in a classroom and hate reading things I don’t find interesting or relevant to my life. I could be a really great student who gets straight A’s and blows peoples minds with my wisdom and insight (ok, maybe not that good)!
Yet, I am a mediocre student who doesn’t really read or participate in classes and only do the assignments I have to do to get a decent grade. I don’t care because it feels useless. Why on earth do I need to know what John Wesley thought about communion? Or what Freud thinks my deepest darkest secrets are?
What is important to me is how do I live in a way that fulfills my deepest joys and somehow finds a place to meet a need in the world. I find deep joy in cooking for people. Can’t I just go cook for people? A deep joy meets a great need. I love gardening. Can’t I just plant a garden and let people come play in the dirt with me? People need to play in the dirt; it is restful for their spirits to have their hands covered in dirt.
Yes, I could do these things. However, they will not pay the bills. Reality is I need to make money. I hate this reality so much. I feel trapped by this and want to run out of the moneymaking classroom and yell at the top of my lungs. This wasn’t helped when I went to Uganda and learned I didn’t need half as much stuff as I thought. I can be totally content to live in a hut without electricity or plumbing and have no car or cell phone or computer. I can love that life.
I also learned in Uganda that I am not really cut out for international living. I am a homebody, and I love my culture and the people in it. I am uniquely suited to love my American brothers and sisters. To live in America I have to be able to sustain myself. I have to make money. That doesn’t mean I need to hate it, though.
How to I find a deep joy that meets a need that also brings in an income? I have no idea. This week I learned that I don’t have to do what I am doing, though. I can change degrees, or schools, or states… I am free to take longer to get a college degree. I am free to be ridiculous and transfer during my senior year and abandon the major I made up for myself. I am free to find a school that lets me be free and spontaneous in my education. Or to find a job I love that doesn’t require a degree. I could go be a park ranger for the rest of my life if I wanted to! Really the point is that I am freer than I ever though. I am also capable of things I never thought I was. I am a smart and able woman who can do more than I know is possible.

I am free.