1. Connecting with other homo sapiens.  It’s amazing how much you can connect with people when you don’t actually know any of them.  You just have to put in the effort and you can form friendships in a heartbeat.  That’s a huge comfort when you feel like you might be all alone in a place.
  2. Spending time with friends for no other reason than that you can.  It’s not a “Hey let’s do something” kind of day, more like a “Hey I want to be around you” kind of day.  When you don’t necessarily need to do anything with someone, just sit down next to them and do your own thing. And that is a-okay.
  3. When people pronounce your name right on the first try.  Now my name is not that difficult to pronounce, but for some reason people have a habit of botching it.  Since starting school, every single person has pronounced it one hundred percent correctly, which is quite refreshing actually.
  4. Seeing your favorite band in concert.  I got to see Rend Collective today.  I was about twenty feet away from the stage and it was magical.  I am still grinning like an idiot.
  5. Finding cozy new nooks to study.  I have thoroughly enjoyed these past few days wandering around campus and ending up in new places where I can plop down and pull out a notebook and maybe make some new friends in the process.
  6. Feeling free to embarrass yourself.  This school of mine is quite strange in that everyone spends a whole lot of time and effort making a fool out of themselves and having fun doing it.  Nobody judges other people for being a little strange which means that everyone looks crazy together.  Which is how you make friends.
  7. New friends.  I am still in shock from just how many incredible incredible people I have found here.  And the best part is that they think I’m pretty nifty too.  They are a fresh start and a brand new day and I can’t wait to make a world of memories with them.
  8. The great outdoors.  I don’t like bugs.  I would prefer if my clothes did not get muddy or snagged.  I am generally incapable of exercise.  But guys, the outdoors is a pretty nifty place.  I went for a “hike” with some of my friends through a park that was wooded and bordered a lazy river.  We set out as the afternoon was in mid-swing, the sun was shining and a nice healthy breeze tickled our cheeks.  Through bog and forest we trundled until we found ourselves at the top of the bluffs overlooking the river.  From there we could watch as the sun began to blush and make the water sparkle.  The view was downright majestic and it was not difficult to see how God is a phenomenal artist.  There were bugs.  There was mud.  There were pokey plants and scary drops.  But I came back absolutely glowing from the joy of soaking up God’s majesty.
  9. Worship.  How neat is it that we have the opportunity to communicate with God.  We can praise the creator of the universe on a personal and community scale.  We can talk to the God who died and defied death for our sake.  We can hear the word of the voice that spoke creation into being.  And we can do this intimately and personally, but we can also do all of it surrounded by other believers who are just as excited to be filled with the love of God.
  10. Wearing a watch.  It makes you feel sophisticated and classy.  Also, you know what time it is, which is a plus.
  11. Student perks.  There are limitless places where a student ID immediately registers a person for discounts and free things.  I guess they figure we’re already spending enough money to get an education that we might as well enjoy ourselves on the cheap.
  12. Going to a symphony.  I went to the see one of the country’s top symphony orchestras last night and I’m still kind of blown away.  First of all, it is a perfect excuse to overdress.  Secondly, there is no end to the classiness of going to an elaborate auditorium to listen to incredibly talented people play instruments in tuxes.  Thirdly, the rich history of pieces that are played there is amazing.  I got to join the people who have listened to Mahler’s Tragic Symphony for the past one-hundred years, doing it in pretty much the same way that they did.  Although there are always differences from performance to performance, I got to hear the same music in the same environment that my great-great grandparents might have done.  Fourth: There is an electricity about classical music.  Before people could watch epic scenes play out on the silver screen, they went to the symphony to hear the adventures.  It is impossible to describe the sensation of a symphony, but let me be the first to say that it is magical.
  13. Connecting with other people over your mutual love of God.  In case you weren’t aware yet, I love my school.  A lot.  But one of my favorite things is that all of my friends love Jesus.  They are all beautiful strong Christians and they want to talk about their faith.  We have devotions just because we are stressed.  We make a point to go to church every single week, and often to more than one service.  We pray for each other and with each other.  God is working in us to keep each other strong.
  14. Getting mail just because.  There is something special about opening your mailbox and finding something special just for you.  Whether it’s a note or a card or a bag of cat litter, it doesn’t even matter because someone thought of you and thought you needed a little brightness in your day.
  15. Impromptu dance parties.  Someone starts playing music.  Then they turn it up.  Then feet start tapping and the music goes a little higher.  Soon bodies start swaying and mouths start belting and somewhere along the way everyone is flailing around and enjoying themselves.
  16. Getting to know people.  For the majority of my life, I have associated with roughly the same people for eighty percent of my life, so I have never had the conversations where I get to learn about peoples’ families and their likes and dislikes.  Their embarrassing childhood stories, the little things that they love, even their favorite color.  I love now that I get to talk to people and learn all of that for the first time.  It makes me smile to get to know that new person who is officially a part of my life.
  17. Dressing to the nines for a football game.  School spirit is real when it is football time.  School colors everywhere. Face paint.  Things that make noise.  In school colors of course.  And the intensity of the dress determines the intensity of school spirit and the outcome of the game. #GoCoo!
  18. When people come up with cute nicknames for you because they think you are important enough to have a special name in their book.  They love your name, but they want to call you something special.  Something just for them.  That makes a person feel pretty darn loved.
  19. Knowing that the people you love are loving life even if they are in a completely different place.  Since going to college, I have loved every aspect of it.  However, I feel even better knowing that my friends from home are loving their lives too.  I know I could not possibly be as entirely content as I am if I knew they were not happy.  But they are, so I am too.
  20. Doing homework outside.  A light breeze, a blanket, and liquid sunshine. Those are the ambrosia for a worn-out soul.  They may not make for the most productive combination, but they make you feel as if you might burst with life.
  21. Watching the road at night.  The entire vehicle is silent as is rushes along the highway.  The definitions of existence blur and end outside of the patch of light spilling from your silent metal cocoon. Every now and again, another little bringer of light comes rushing toward you one dot of light turns into two vanishes behind you.  Again, all is quiet.  The only noise is the exhilaration of wheels on concrete, going.
  22. When everything is clean and fresh.  It’s stressful to have a mess every time you turn around.  It’s even more stressful to brace yourself, hunker down and actually clean up that mess.  But my, when you do, there’s a huge relief and life is good again.
  23. Dipping apples in caramel.  Fall has arrived.  Pumpkin is everywhere.  And that’s certainly not a bad thing; my mother’s homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are a little slice of seasonal heaven.  But apples are the lesser appreciated gem of fall.  Sure, you can have them all year round but something about apples and caramel just fits with the changing leaves and the crisp air.
  24. Sprinting through the rain.  It begins with the hype.  Standing at the door, trying to gauge whether or not it is going to let up.  Wait a moment longer, surely it will slow down.  Nope.  It’s time for the inevitably.  Like a battle-hardened warrior you shrug your jacket just a little bit tighter around you shoulders, sigh, push open the portal to that drizzly world and make a run for it.  Out of breath and dripping, you stumble across the next threshold.  Sodden, but not defeated, victory is yours.
  25. When you know you should go to bed but you spend an hour or two discussing life with a friend.  One of you had something to talk about then you rambled onto another topic and that led to another and soon your five minute chat before bed has turned into a full-on bonding session.  Someone has probably broken out food at some point, you have laughed, and you have almost definitely cried.  But in the span of just those couple of hours, you have suddenly become so much closer to this person who you love and you know how to love them even better.
  26. Knowing that all of your work is done and you have time to do whatever pleases your fancy.  Hang out at Barnes & Noble for an hour?  No problem!  Go to an event on campus you thought you’d have to miss? Score!  Frolicking through a field of pure joy and astonishment at your unfamiliar situation?  You go Glen Coco!  The day is all yours.
  27. Opening the curtains on a sunny morning.  A chink of light slides back into a wedge until suddenly the whole room is singing with sunshine.  A gloomy room becomes a little bath of happiness to soak up peacefully and it puts a smile on your face that hangs around for a good long while afterward.
  28. Good sermons.  When the speaker is on fire for Christ and everything that is coming out of his or her mouth is pointing right to the cross.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and you wonder why you have never been this ready to serve Christ.  God works in your heart through those moments.  He opens your ears and your mind to receive him and he warm your soul to the message of the Gospel.  Listen to it.  Because soaking in that presence of God is one of the best possible things you can do when he calls you to follow him.  Listen and take his message to heart that you might be filled to overflowing and that overflow might enter the hearts of others.
  29. Hugging people you haven’t seen in forever.  It is one thing to hear their voice or read a message from them, but the amount of emotion in a hug is irreplaceable.  And if absence makes the heart grow fonder, it certainly makes hugs seem warmer and tighter and filled with just a little more love.
  30. Unexpected gifts.  When people you never would have expected decide to bestow a token of their affection on you, you can’t help but be touched.  Whether it is a cookie or a new mug or a cheesy card or even just being goofy at you, it feels pretty special.

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