Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the blog, but I’ve been checking it daily. Luke, I laughed very hard at your caffeinated post. 🙂 I could just see you typing it up. 😀 I could tell it was a mix of serious thoughts with a silly undertone.

Well, I’ve been wanting to give you all an update on my life at college. I know you have all been praying for me and I appreciate that sooo much! Anyway… hmmm. Where to begin? I’ve been learning loads academically and growing loads spiritually, both of which I’m very thankful for.

We’re flying along now in all the courses and the pressures are building. If I’d looked at some of the problems and homework I’m doing now at the beginning of the year I would have been completely bewildered. I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve been trying to learn from them and press on rather than give up, which is tempting sometimes. 🙂 I’m learning to focus better and discipline myself a little more. Although growth in these areas is slow, it’s there.

I’m taking five courses, not counting a lab: Calculus I, Physics 101, Introduction to Computer Science, Civilization, and Fitness and Wellness.

Physics is about 80% review from the physics course I took at PHC last year. This course doesn’t cover nearly as much ground as the one at PHC did, but it goes into a bit more depth. The only other difference is that this course is calculus based—which, for me, adds a whole new level of difficulty. The class is pretty big. There are probably about sixty to seventy people in each section (pretty different than the physics at PHC!) The professor is pretty good. He’s a brilliant guy, a lot of fun and looks exactly like a mix between Mario and Albert Einstein. The resemblance is almost uncanny. He loves his subject and gets very excited while teaching. Unfortunately, his lectures aren’t all that helpful. Most of learning comes from reading the book and doing the problems. I had my first exam in this class last Wednesday and I think I did pretty well—for once!

Calculus is considerably smaller—maybe 25-30 students. It’s a pretty tough course and it’s definitely been the hardest one for me so far. I’m one of two people that never had Calculus in high school and the only one that never really took pre-calc. The professor seems like a godly man. He’s a portly, mild-mannered, older fellow who, like the physics professor, loves his subject and gets excited talking about it in class. He’ll yell enthusiastically as he madly scribbles his way across the three walls of blackboard. His classes are intense and I can’t let my mind stray for a moment or I’ll get lost. His exams are notoriously hard. We took the first one about a week and a half ago. It was mostly a review of analytical geometry and trigonometry with some basic calculus thrown in. I got a 53% after much hard studying. The class average was 63% and the class average last year was evidently 50%. There are six exams, plus a final exam, plus homework and cooperation grades. So if I’m able to get better scores in the future I’ll make it, but it was pretty discouraging to get such a bad score after studying so hard. I knew how to do almost all the problems, but one little tricky thing on many of them would throw me off. He also doesn’t give much partial credit either, so you have to be super careful on the bigger problems or you’ll lose 15-20% of your grade for a sloppy mistake. The next exam is this Wednesday at one. I’m hoping against hope that I’ll be able to do well on it.

Civilization is about as big as Calc. The professor is hysterical. He always plays a Weird Al song during the few minutes before class starts while people are coming in. He’s a little Scottish guy (no accent). He always wears bowties and loves to talk about how each one is related, or not related, to his Scottish heritage and family line. He has some of the most hilarious facial expressions I’ve ever seen which he employs frequently throughout his lectures to emphasize what he’s saying. His quizzes are easy, his papers are supposedly pretty easy, but his exams are supposedly much more difficult. He expects you to remember everything. Over all, I think it’s going to be the easiest course (possibly even easier than Fit/Well, which is less than half as many credits.) I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s a nice break from all the math-intensive classes I have and his sense of humor is refreshing.

Next is Introduction to Computer Science. This course is composed pretty evenly between exams and hands-on projects. I haven’t taken any of the exams yet, but I’m eating up the projects. We’re given a lot of freedom and we can basically do what we want, as long as we meet certain requirements. The final requirement (needed to get an A) is that the project must impress the professor. I always feel guilty working on the projects, though, because I did the exact same stuff in high school for fun. 🙂 The professor is younger guy (the guy that gave us the department overview during the summer preview, Dad). He’s seems nice and definitely loves what he teaches.

Last (not counting the physics workshop) and in a way, least, is Fitness and Wellness. It’s a required course and there’s no getting around it unless you’re a transfer student. Grove City is the seventh most fit college in the nation and pretty proud of it. 😀 They split the classes up into guys and girls and then each lecture is given by a different specialist in the field. The first half of the course is purely mental. For the second half, you have to choose from a number of different “labs” and you’ll be graded by how well you perform physically as well as on the tests. The options include water sports, circuit training, free weights, mechanized weights, stretching, and various aerobic exercises. The course is not easy and evidently a number of students fail. We had the first exam a couple weeks ago and the average for the guys was in the seventies (as was my score, even though I studied fairly well for it). I’m determined to do better on the next one, though.

Over all, school is very challenging, but I think I’m adjusting to it.

As for my spiritual growth, during the first couple weeks I felt like a slug being squeezed between the hands of stress. I could shoot upward, or I could slip downward, but I couldn’t stay where I was. Haha. … a strange analogy, but it’s fairly accurate. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with that much stress for very long and that I’d either have to defeat it, or be defeated by it. I knew that casting my anxieties on God was the only real answer to truly freeing myself of the stress I felt, but I as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t. It’s one thing to say you trust in God or to tell yourself you trust in God; it’s completely another to really cast your anxieties and uncertainties about the future on Him and rest in the peace of knowing that He is in control. By God’s grace, He granted my many prayers for the faith that I needed to trust in Him, and the result has been a transformation in all the other aspects of my relationship with God as well. I’m started to grow in so many totally unrelated areas of my walk with Him and I’m finding myself living out many things I’ve wanted to live out for many years but never really did. I feel like I’ve just made it past a plateau and am finally able to pursue higher ground. I’m super excited about this growth and I’m praying that it will continue and that the change will be permanent.

Social time is limited around here. 😀 I probably spend an average of about 30-45minutes a day (not counting Sunday) relaxing and doing something fun. I try to make the most of it when I do, though. On Sundays I have a little more time to devote to building friendships and try to make good use of that as well. The guys on my hall (there are about thirty) are a pretty hilarious mix of people that probably wouldn’t naturally end up in the same soc
ial circles, but we’ve all been getting along remarkable well for the most part and we tend to do a lot together. Last night after working hard on physics for a few hours strait, I felt like I needed a break, so I wandered down our hall to see what was going on. I ran into a few guys making butterbeer (from Harry Potter) and joined them. We ended up barricading the door to keep some desperate Harry Potter fans from breaking in while we mixed our concoction. Micah (the mastermind behind the operation) was so tickled by all the guys trying to get in that he and I ended up in painful, tearful fits of laughter on the floor. It took a long time for us to calm down and enjoy the butterbeer we’d made.

Another favorite pastime we’ve developed on our hall is called “Urban Rodeo”. Basically you run up to a random person (supposed to be a stranger) and jump on their back and see how long you can stay up there while making loud cowboy yells. We mostly do it to each other and it’s rather amusing. I’m sure it’ll get old eventually, but it’s been fun. 🙂

So far I’ve still been going to the same church (Covenant OPC.) It’s a five-minute walk from my dorm, which makes it very convenient. I like the church a lot. The preaching seems good and there are a lot of families. Last Friday night I went over to the pastor’s house with a group of students and had dinner with him and his family. Afterward, we all trouped back to one of the girl’s dorms and watched The Emperor’s New Groove before heading back to our dorms.

I’m enjoying getting to know my roommates better, too. They’re both good guys and we’re all getting along great. We’ve started working through Disciplines of a Godly Man together and it’s been going well. I have all my classes and most of my breakfasts with Brown, and I tend to study and hang out with Cheatam a little more (just because he’s usually in our room when he’s not in class or at some other event, as am I.) The two of us have already had couple adventures together that are a little too long to type up.

Alright, I better wrap up. I have a bunch to do today, still. I love you all so much! All of you have been (and still are) a huge blessing in my life and I’m so thankful for you! I’m praying for you all every day!

Here are a few pictures of my dorm, for those of you who haven’t seen it.

View out the window from left to right:

Inside the dorm:

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