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Parting Shots 1998

(Or, some of what I learned this year)

Well, another year has come and gone. It seems like it's all going by so quickly now. I'm about to be a college senior, and I can easily remember when I was a high school senior. So much has changed since then...

Well, what have I learned this year? Many things...for one, how to budget my time a little better. (I'm still in the learning process on this one, as my project in CS 434 right now can attest to.) But I'm getting better. I learned how to play bridge this year...I still have yet to learn how to play well. (A pretty interesting game, for those of you out there who have never learned how...) I've learned some things in class, but I've probably forgotten most of it.

One of the things that I really have learned this year, though, is that people are very unpredictable. You think that you understand who they are and what they're like, and then they change in an instant. I kinda knew that already, but it's really interesting to me, considering that during the course of the year, I can name at least two examples of people changing dramatically. The change doesn't have to necessarily be for the worse, either. One of the changes I am speaking of was of a young lady who a lot of people thought was very quiet. Of course, you know the rest of the story. She turns out to be this hilarious, interesting, and just slightly crazy person when you start talking to her.

Another thing that I learned was how to open up a little more to people. I'm usually one of those people who don't share a lot about my life, just because usually I don't see anything really special about it. But I developed a idea that I stand by now...you are the only person who thinks your life is boring. The reason why is very simple...you're the one living it. Things that you have done that you consider to be routine or ordinary will be things that will fascinate other people because they haven't experienced them. God made us all different for many purposes...one of which is that by telling other people about the "boring" things that we do and have done, we'll let them in on experiences that they've never had. And, of course, vice versa. I can think of at least two people who have told me about things that they've done that I haven't, and then followed it up by, "But anyone can do that." To which my reply was, "Maybe so, but it's interesting because you've done it, and I haven't." Another good thing about opening up to people is that they will feel closer to you, and reciprocate. And that's what friendships are built on...taking a leap of faith, making yourself vulnerable, and having the other person accepting you and do the same.

I've also learned that people, even those who seem to be able to do just about anything, can be self-conscious about things. It seems that everyone feels, to some extent, that they're inferior to other people (or maybe just a couple of "example" people). The wonderful thing is (and I'm still in the process of learning this too) that we don't have to consider ourselves better or worse than other people...as a matter of fact, we can't. We have no guideline to serve as the measuring stick. It's not money, it's not power, it's not intelligence or humor or beauty or anything like that. None of those things are all-encompassing. Not to mention that they are things that one day won't even matter. When I die, I'm not going to be judged by any of those things. So why do most people try to belittle themselves? If I knew that, I wouldn't still do it. So that's something that I'm going to have to keep asking God...eventually, I'll learn the answer.

Thanks to all of my friends for everything this year...I'm going to miss all of you, no matter if you're in Oregon and Washington, or the Ukraine, or even if you're just going home for the summer. (To those of you who are coming to summer school, I'll miss you too, but for only a month or so. :) ) You have all been my teachers this year in some way, and for that I am grateful. And for those friends of mine who are graduating, (especially Misti Atwood, the young lady who brought me to the BCM for the first time (and many others besides), and Stephanie Davis, my first good BCM friend and other "big sister",) I am going to miss all of you so much. Good luck in everything that you do, and may God bless each and every one of you.

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