Saturday, April 16, 2011

What's in a picture?

I've had my SAU ID card all four years. I've left it at the café twice, and misplaced it in my room many times. As I walked in to my room just now, the lights on the door-lock flashed green and red (usually it just flashes green for a brief moment). I guess that means my card is really wearing out.

I'm not too surprised. It has ridden in my running shorts (see the muddy shorts in the background -- I just came back from a mountain -bike ride) through all my long runs on the biology trails. Speaking of the biology trails, they've been making "improvements" -- widening existing trails, closing the old steep / narrow trails, and blazing new trails through the woods. I've spent countless hours running on the old trails, and as much as I enjoyed my mountain-bike ride, it hurts to see the changes.

I've really loved my time here at Southern. I feel like reminiscing.

Freshman year:
GB and GChem were overwhelming. I treasured study times with my lab partners Kelsey and Martina. I got involved with the SAU garden -- which really meant learning from Luke Fisher about how to grow veggies in Tennessee. Barry introduced me to a wealth of good friends, and I was intentional about making friends in the Café. I turned down a lot of options for extra-curricular stuff, and tried hard to learn how to learn.

Sophomore year:
On to Ochem, Genetics, Cell, and Precalculus / Trigonometry. Luke Fisher left, and Andrew Fisher came: we worked together on the garden and developed an incredible friendship. I enjoyed many backpacking trips with the Ellers, and filled out my time as a GB TA. Spring semester was very tough for relational and philosophical reasons. Barry and I spent hours talking to each other from our bunks in our dorm room. I continued to struggle to master my inconsistent motivation to study. I knew I wanted to go to medical school, but it seemed like a very far-off dream, especially in light of a few B+'s and A-'s.

Junior year:
Doug Baasch and I tackled Biochem in the fall. We trained for and ran the Mystery Mtn. Marathon together, and to our own surprise -- came in 3rd and 4th overall. I also took Animal Physiology, worked feverishly on the SAU Garden (Andrew was gone as an SM), wrote a 10 page ethics paper for the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics, and worked as a GB TA. I went on to run the Pine Mtn. 40 mile trail run in 7 hrs 31 minutes, the same day that Doug Baasch played his senior cello recital. Second semester I took Human Anatomy and Ornithology.

Senior year:
Fall semester I took Parasitology, Ecology, and Vertebrate Natural History. I ran the Mystery Mtn. Marathon and Pine Mtn. 40 again (this time I shaved off 21 minutes chasing Jessica Marlier, who finished ahead of me!). After much prayer and thought, I asked Martina Houmann to start dating me. To this day, that was the 2nd best decision I've ever made ... the first being to follow Christ. The story of how God led us together is remarkable in its own right. I worked through my medical school applications after having taken the MCAT the previous summer. I'd scored high in several practice tests, and an MCAT score of 30 ensured that I would have to trust in God entirely for my success or failure in applying to medical school. This second semester, I've taken 19 hours of credit, and worked as a Human Anatomy TA. I learned only recently that I've been accepted to both LLU and Tufts University Medical schools: God gets the full credit! Of all the years here at Southern, my senior year was by far my favorite: thanks to God and MLH!

In just about 2 weeks, I will graduate from Southern. I'll miss it -- but maybe it's just in time, that ID card won't work forever!

As I hit the "Publish Post" button yesterday, I realized that my "summary" had really been a study in omissions. Here are some of the more egregious ones:
1. Mom and Dad have been an incredible support throughout college. Without their prayers, applesauce, granola, over-the-phone consults with dad on my scrapes and bangs, long talks with both about life and learning, I'm not sure I would have made it through!
2. I mentioned Barry as my roommate, but failed to recount what an amazing roommate he was. We existed like two mad howe hermits -- which in fact we were. Billy Snow was my roommate my junior year -- we had an incredible year... Billy taught me a lot about studying and keeping my things organized. Stephen Thorp has been a fantastic roommate this year: we've philosophized, danced to Bach cantatas, and shared many excellent meals. I'm so thankful for all of my excellent roommates.
3. This semester, I auditioned the Lalo Cello concerto for the SAU Concerto Competition, and lost.
4. I've genuinely grown to love Biology. My teachers are incredibly committed to helping us to understand and appreciate God's creation. Thanks Drs. Snyder, Norskov, Ekkens, Foster, Trimm, Thornton, Azevedo, and Spencer!