This is Chapter 9 in my history... rest can be found by clicking the links at the left.
It was very difficult to deal with the social issues that I had while in college. However, there was something much more difficult headed towards me, but that is still a few stops down the road, as there was good to talk about while in school, and a single moment that changed my life forever and made me never doubt my faith.
I loved almost all of my academic opportunities in college. Being able to take classes in the multitude of subjects that I was interested in was amazing. Having always had a strong aptitude in math and science, I took high level classes in meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography. I was recruited by nearly every math teacher I had to switch my major to math. While I knew I was talented in math, I wasn't interested, but knowing that other people recognized my gifts was awesome. Dabbling in choir was something that I wanted to do and never had the chance before, but did during my sophomore year, creating harmony with nearly 100 other talented students. I even got to take bowling as one of my PE credits. Nearly all of my classes came easily, but I also struggled some, something that was strange and unusual for me. I've always had difficulty with grammar and spelling, something that I have learned to be very effective in hiding or working around, but taking the three required classes in linguistics to get into the teaching program was pure torture for me. The concepts flew out of my head as soon as they were taught and the book made little to no sense to me. It didn't help that most of the professors were second language English speakers, so they had a hard time believing that a seemingly bright girl with English as a first language couldn't understand the material. There was one professor that I had most of the classes with that I repeatedly butted heads with. Between having her for linguistics and teaching writing, it was clear that we saw the world very differently. She was the type of teacher who taught by offering her opinion and way of doing things as the only way... while I knew that this was not true, and I was not afraid to challenge her. This is something that would later come back to me in unimaginable ways, but I will cover that later.
Summers during college I was offered opportunities to leave Oregon and work at summer camps. I spent the summer of 2001 working at Camp Vega in Maine as a nanny to the child of two of the employee's. The next summer I worked in California at Gold Arrow Camp as a drama counselor. Both camps opened my eyes to a world of riches that I was not exposed to before. The parents of the children paid more to send their kids to these camps than I earned in an entire year. I enjoyed my chances to see different pockets of the United States and people who lived lives far different than my own.
Also while I was in college I had the amazingly cool opportunity to be a support runner for the Olympic Torch when it passed through Salem, OR. I ran with 3 different torch runners, one of them being a September 11th widow who gave me the chance to run part of her leg of the relay. Having that torch, knowing how far that flame had been, and that I was the only person in the world holding on to it was very profound.
I also found a job that I was able to work my junior and senior years that also offered health insurance if I put in 24 hours a week. This was a huge deal as it took away stress that I felt about finding insurance coverage after I graduated and was dropped from my parents' policy. While working many hours a week would put great stress on me, I felt empowered by the fact that I was able to do it all.
By the middle of my junior year, the years of not taking good care of my health started to catch up with me. I often did not do my meds because I decided I was too busy. I think on some levels I felt that no one cared for me, so why should I bother to care for myself. I had nearly stopped doing all of my meds outside of my digestive enzymes that helped my process my food. This took a slow toll on my health, and by the time that spring break rolled around in 2003, I was sick enough for my first hospitalization. It was during that trip I had the most profound and faith assuring experiences of my life...
To be continued in the next chapter...