Get ready for this personal post....if you can pardon my extreme nerdiness with the Lord of the Rings reference (haha!), I'm pretty excited to share a personal shoot of mine. Being in the photography business I find it surprisingly challenging to have the same passion for spontaneous photographing that I once did (can I get an Amen from the fellow photogs out there?). But once the clouds cleared and made way for 60+ degree weather and beautiful blue sky, my heart leapt at the idea of walking along my old alma mater to capture it in all its splendor. It had been nearly a year since I'd been back on the University of Washington campus, but about three years since I've seen the beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom. It was impossible not to be overcome with nostalgia, thinking back on all the fond memories I've had lounging in The Quad with classmates, sprinting from Suzzallo to the HUB to grab coffee before my next 2-hour class, attempting not to slip and break my back in Red Square when it only so much as rained, and of course skipping class every once in a while to catch up with good friends just off campus at Cafe on the Ave. Yes, the education is priceless and worth every penny, but it was more than that that made my years at UW so irreplaceable.
After spending two years at Bellevue Community College (now Bellevue College) to earn my Associates of Arts transfer degree, I was 100% convinced I would go to Western Washington University. My dad was a Husky, yes, and my brother was currently studying there as well...but "the campus [was] way too big, and I want[ed] to go to a small liberal arts college". It wasn't until I had already submitted my Western application and only had a week until the UW applications were due that God put the conviction on my heart to apply to the school I never wanted to go to. Hastily, I threw together my UW application and submitted it just in time. At the time, winter of 2006, I was studying American Sign Language and decided I wanted to be involved with the Deaf community in Seattle in some way; I began doing research and found that UW offered a major called "Speech and Hearing Sciences", where I could study to become an audiologist and, hopefully, become a doctor who wouldn't try to fix deafness but help each individual in a way that would suit them best.
God started opening, and closing, doors. I had been accepted into the Speech and Hearing Sciences major (and a pretty competitive one at that)....without even hearing back about being accepted to UW yet. I think that's when my heart started to change, and I began to live on faith that God would put me in whichever school He had for me and wherever I would serve Him best. I ended up getting my Western acceptance letter a full month before UW even began to send out any of theirs. God told me, "no. Wait.", and I did. I applied for housing 6 months late, and by His grace (and literally a miracle, but that's another story!) I got in to the Five-0 (now University Christian Housing), where I lived during my entire UW education. On that very first day they sent out acceptance letters, June 1st, a large envelope from UW was delivered to my house and I found out that I was officially a Husky. The Lord took care of every single detail, and I knew that He had more for me than I had attempted to plan for myself.
After a quarter in the Speech and Hearing Sciences major I knew it wasn't a good fit (yet another long story), and I decided to declare my major as English. I spent 5 quarters studying composition and literature, and graduated in June 2008 with my Bachelor of Arts degree. God grew me more in the two years I spent at UW and the Five-0 than he had my entire life prior; His provision, His omniscience, and His protection during that time still stuns me -- and His continuation of that work He began in me is a miracle. I found a Bible-believing church with solid teaching, made some of the deepest friendships I've ever had, and met my adoring husband while I went to UW. And for all of that, I am more than grateful.
So, as I ambled leisurely around The Quad, through Red Square, and up Memorial Way, I was overcome with gratitude and pride for my university. It was more beautiful than I had remembered, the stunning architecture and landscape now embedded with memories that will not soon fade. My time there was precious, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am proud to be a Husky.
(above) When I saw this sight, I literally cried; when they began building the new business building they completely tore down my favorite part of campus. Right at the end of this pathway, behind Denny Hall, there were beautiful tall hedges of lilacs that bloomed for only one week during the year -- the week of my birthday. I remember standing there smelling the flowers for prolonged periods every day they were in bloom (and sometimes trying to break of a branch or two to take home). I was SO sad when I saw they were gone.