from first to second.

Friday, November 07, 2014

And that's a wrap on the first quarter of grad school, folks.

I sent the electronic copy of my final paper to my professor for my theory of adult development class yesterday, and sat back against my chair in my office. Deep breath in, deep breath out. An accelerated set of graduate courses were finished, and I was sitting here at the end point, feeling rather okay. Maybe it was the short span of nine weeks that I was in class, the lack of a finals week, or even the fact that I enjoyed writing my papers this quarter that I wasn't feeling as exhausted as I usually do at the end of another academic season.

Regardless, I'm preparing to move from first quarter to second quarter, which begins on Tuesday. Another new set of courses, new professors, new classmates, and new academic which will carry me through the end of January.

Graduate school is actually happening.

Maybe it was the Westmont phone-a-thon team giving me my first call last night, where I sat and talked with a sophomore about what graduate school was like. Also, shout out to the entire class of 2014 apparently getting their first calls from Westmont. Having to verbalize what life was like after undergraduate made me realize that I am a student again, that I am enrolled in a Master's program and am slowly walking through these two years which will springboard me into a Student Affairs profession. I'm working on a college campus, overseeing incredible interns, planing large-scale events and being taught by some of the best in the field. I now set aside time each day to reply to business emails and run finances, have moved "networking" up in my priority list of my life, as I prepare for my summer assistantship and second year position.

From first to second.

From from first year of undergraduate to second, first quarter to second quarter, from a first bike commute to school to the second ride, from a first date to a second date, from first to second. Moving from first to second is the very last piece of transitional seasons. From unfamiliarity to familiarity. This blog always seems to come back to that concept.

I am becoming much better at transitions than I was five years ago. In the rare free time I find now, I like to go back into the depths of this blog and read my old (and rather embarrassing) posts from high school. I refuse to delete them, even though they focused on insignificant things and were terribly written. But they reflect a lot of who I was and what I went through. I hated transitions. I hated having to move from something established to something that was a "first." Even stretching into my time at Westmont, some of the hardest treks back to "first" were when I came back from studying abroad in Turkey.

But those steps are not where my mind is focused now.

Instead of focusing on the walk back to first, I've spent more time looking towards the slow and steady trail to second.

Somewhere in the mess of figuring things out, you begin to put down roots which hold yourself steady as unfamiliar winds hit you from every direction. As you move from first to second, you establish yourself, establish your surroundings, establish your understanding of where you are. Instead of focusing on the place, person, or season you left when you came back to first, you look towards second. The act of turning your body to face what is ahead instead of focused on what you left is one of the most powerful choices you can make during seasons of transition, and one that I have found joy and reassurance in recently. Each step you take towards seconds floods your person with confidence, reminding you that when you reach the "second" you will know so much more than you do now.

I now know how to navigate APU's campus, where to buy groceries, and how to best bike to work on weekdays. I now know how to balance my paychecks with my monthly bills, which coffee shop was the most delicious dark roast for sleepy mornings, and how to meal prep on Monday nights for busy work weeks stacked with night classes.

I also know how to self-care for myself during seasons of transitions. I know my morning time with the Lord is a necessary and crucial part of staying in touch with my faith. I know sometimes I need space to be alone, and other times I need to be with others. I know that prayer is a powerful, powerful, thing and I am blessed to be able to enter into that with my co-workers and cohort.

Arriving at second has been a humbling and incredible experience.

As I prepare to enter into my second quarter of graduate school, I look back on my first few months in Azusa and reflect on what I have learned, and how I will use that I continue moving forward. The last time I sat down and wrote, I knew the coming season of transition would be hard. The first steps from first to second are always uncomfortable.
Life is full of new seasons, some which feel like they last forever, and some which slip through the cracks without us taking notice. I am trying to breathe slowly, and move into this new season deliberately, knowing that transitions can be uncomfortable at times, but the uncomfortable is the inevitable that comes with making a new house a home.
I have taken full notice of this season, deliberately taking in each and every thing as I step off from second and continue forward on this never-ending vector of my life.

Have you had to journey from first to second recently? If you've had to transition from one season to another, I resonate with where you are. It's hard, it's uncomfortable, but life is full of steps from first to second, seasons of transitions, planting and uprooting ourselves, moving onwards and upwards.

Find reassurance in each step from first to second.
Find hope in the fact the Lord has a plan for you larger than you could ever examine.
Savor each small mark of progress.
Appreciate each piece of wisdom gained.

The journey from first to second is one of the most beautiful experiences in this wonderfully intricate and ever-surprising thing we get to call life.

Respectfully submitted,


  1. I needed to hear this today. So thank you.
    Glad to hear you're doing well, friend.