Hello friends and strangers! Welcome to the first installment of a blog that follows my life as a second-year student at Cal Baptist, the second happiest place on earth.

Over the past few weeks upon my return to campus, I’ve realized exactly how much I have missed life at CBU. The beginning of the semester has already brought late night conversations with marvelous people, engaging class discussions, and delicious meals at the caf. While the season of homework and careful scheduling has begun once again, so has the season of last minute road trips and stress-burning Roommate Dance Sessions. My friends, it’s going to be a wonderful year.

With the start of the new semester, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my goals for this year in college. A lot of these goals include growing my faith in the Creator, meeting new people and doing the best I can to share love with everyone I encounter. As I have thought about these goals I have also considered what might inhibit me from achieving them. The main reason that I came up with is my tendency to get stuck in my head and miss a lot of what happens around me. Let’s be honest, it’s too easy to be selfish and spend all day thinking about what I have to finish and what I want to do in my spare time. This reminds me of one of my slightly unpleasant childhood escapades.

Gather ‘round people, it’s story time!

When I was in preschool, I was overly imaginative. By this I mean I was that creepy little kid who sat alone with a crayon and a penny and was entertained for hours on end. Everyday I looked forward to arts and crafts when I could be left alone with all kinds of fun knick-knacks to create things with. On one particular instance I became so engulfed in my project that I was driven into a brief period of solemn silence. I was so absorbed in the task at hand that I didn’t notice when the silence had fallen across the whole classroom. Eventually, I noticed this fact and looked up from the art table to discover that my entire class had disappeared. You see, it was field trip day, yet my intense artistic endeavors had caused me to miss the exodus of my class.

What happened next is actually quite epic. I had decided that the only explanation for the disappearance of my classmates was that the end of the world was at hand, and I was the last human on earth. I distinctly remember planning what I must do to get to Wal-Mart and gather up supplies for my later journey to Kansas where I could peacefully live out my days. After all, that’s what Dorothy and Toto would have done. I gathered up my gumption and approached the classroom door. Intimidating as it was, I somehow managed to open the door and wander down the hall, cautiously checking for flying monkeys all the way. I eventually made it to the Principal’s Office and discovered that I was not the last person alive in the world, and I was quickly reunited with my parents.

Although this venture unnerves me to this day and causes me to have serious misgivings about modern daycare, I find connections between the occurrence and my struggles today. I missed the field trip as a child and this is exactly what happens to many of us when we get too involved in our own lives to notice the changes around us. Although it’s easy to only focus on one’s own priorities, it becomes all too possible to miss out on the action that God sends our way. When I actually open my eyes to the world around me and focus on the things that happen in the lives of other people, I experience life so much more fully. I discover more about the nature of my God and become more deeply aware of the work He’s doing in my life to shape me into a reflection of Him. This is far more gorgeous than placing my full focus on homework assignments, personal complaints, or the things I would rather do than take the time to serve another person.

As this semester continues, I think it is relevant to search for ways to become actively involved in something that benefits others, and not just ourselves. In everything we do, from attending a new church to cheering along with the Crazies, we should remember our identity in Christ first. So go ahead; talk to people in your 8 a.m. class. Say hello to that person you pass multiple times but have never actually met. Look for ways to serve your school and your community. I’m convinced that God has amazing plans for this university and its students, and I don’t want anyone to miss the field trip.