Meet me as an eighteen year old sassafrass in her first week of college:
Meet me as a twenty-four year old student mom on her way to her last day of classes:
I started college at the University of Missouri a few weeks before my nineteenth birthday. Mizzou was the only school I applied to and I'd only applied there on a whim after realizing my two best friends (one of which was the dark haired girl pictured above) were going to move on and I'd be stuck in Lee's Summit with not a whole lot to do. Prior to that, I'd never had a big desire to go to college since I figured I didn't need a bachelor's degree to be a writer or photographer but in the end, I decided I had nothing to lose so off I went with a pre-journalism (photojournalism) major.
A year later, I saddled up and moved to Salt Lake City. I'd loved Mizzou, but while I was there I'd become a lot less active in my church and decided that I should move somewhere where I could find more people with my beliefs. That probably sounds cheesy to anyone who hasn't been in that situation, but what can I say? It's the truth. A year after moving to Salt Lake City, I moved to Provo and enrolled at BYU. A year after moving to Provo, I saw Andrew Chandler for the first time on a day I looked like this:
My roommate threw a party at her aunt's house one afternoon and, when I got there (after spending the day riding roller coasters and sweating), I saw a dreamy looking boy that I'd never seen before. I thought about talking to him, but then he went off by himself to sit on a hammock and, as luck would have it, the flirtiest girl I had ever met in my life followed him onto it which I'm sure was awkward for my fresh-off-the-mission future hubs. Little did I know, he'd seen me the night before and, since he thought I was cute, he'd turned and walked away as soon as he saw me walking into the yard.
Which worked because most of the time I was there, my roommate and I did this:
I only saw Andrew a few more times before January, which is when we got together. But before that happened, I continued being a study-a-holic as I kept workin' towards a double major in History and English. We fell in love while I worked two jobs, was enrolled in a feminist class (among other credit hours) and while I worked on an editing staff for the History Department's student journal. We drove everyone we knew crazy because after we had our first conversation, we were in love within a week. Then we got hitched five months (and a day!) after our first date and less than four months after that, I had a bun in the oven.
Which is when things in my life really changed.
Basically, after I was pregnant, I kept biting off way more than I could chew which means I've spent a lot of the past year and a half as a ball of stress or as a ball of stress with a bad case of the baby blues. The past year, Andrew and I have both been worked to the bone in almost every area of our lives and, frankly, I've been a bit of a mess. I'm a lot better than I was last month which was a lot better than I was a month before and that, my friends, was a whole lot better than I was for most of last fall. I've wanted to be a stay-at-home mom without academic obligations ever since I found out Max was on the way and while I'm beyond happy that I'll be getting my degree (finally!), I'm mostly happy that I finally get to move up and on with my life. I've worked so hard to graduate that, despite the lowest grades in my academic history, my own life has taken a backseat to mothering, schooling, and wifery ever since my first bout of morning sickness and while, right now, I'm stressed out to the max about taking my finals, I am so, so excited to trade in student enrollment for a degree and a whole lot more time to pursue the dreams I've been dreaming from the time I was a little girl... baby on my hip and husband at my side included.
Finals, here I come.