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I may have the most generic Scandinavian name but I like to think I’m far from ordinary.

For 20 years of my life, I have rocked the suburbs like Jon Bon Jovi did, except that he was talented (as Ben Folds would say). In high school, I was involved in speech, debate, concert band, marching band, and volunteer work. To this day, I enjoy tossing the Frisbee disc with friends, reading an absurd amount of books, writing poetry and listening excessively to every genre of music excluding country.

At Concordia, I play the flute in the Symphonic Band, play ultimate frisbee, am an orientation leader, am a leader in science academy, work for the admissions office, do biology research, and am working to bring an organization to campus called Girls In Real Life which is meant to improve the self esteem of women everywhere. I also enjoy volunteering at Sanford hospital on the weekends. My majors are biology and history with a minor in chemistry and I will be graduating in 2015. I hope to join the peace corps after college and then attend graduate school for public health and possibly law.

In the future and in the present, my main goal is to make a difference in the world. I believe people are inherently good and I search for the upside in every situation. People have described me as a ray of sunshine, but I’d just say I am an opportunist who believes in love and lifelong happiness.

Madeline Johnson

The Last Post

Posted in Madeline Johnson on December 20th, 2014 by mjohns65 – Be the first to comment

This is my last CobBlog post. I thought about waiting till the end of this post to notify the reader and leave it to be a surprise. But I’m going to be upfront and say all my loyal fans (mostly, my cat) will not be hearing from me again. On Wednesday, I graduated from college in three and a half years with  a double major in biology and history as well as a minor in chemistry. I thought I would have something profound to say, but mostly I am numb and thoughtless, sleeping excessively and trying to relax for the first time in a long time.

Here are the top three things I have learned in college (in no particular order):

1) Good friends matter. As much as I wanted to study constantly in college (and some weekends I did), good

A yummy holiday cookies I gave to my beautiful roommates Maddie, Melody, and Caitlan.

A yummy holiday cookies I gave to my beautiful roommates Maddie, Melody, and Caitlan.

friends will remind you of what matters in life. My best friend Maddie ensured I socialized. My friend, Rob, brought me to church a year and a half ago and I have been going ever since. My friend Skyler ensured that I pass organic chemistry by studying with me. Find good friends and keep them close.

2) In the long run, despite failures, don’t forget what matters and who you truly are. As cheesy as it sounds, this message is an important reminder for me. I get emotional when I realize my grades aren’t good enough or that I don’t know what to do with my future. But I love my family. I have friends who care about me. God walks with me every step of the way. Helping others through volunteer work is my passion and that is a lot more important than what my GPA is.

3) It’s ok to let go of things that were once your passions to make way for new passions. I have played the flute since 5th grade and this semester I didn’t play at all. I hope to again find my passion for music, but until then, I am leaving my life open for other passions and loves.

 

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A New Best Friend

Posted in Madeline Johnson on December 13th, 2014 by mjohns65 – 1 Comment

Some only have one best friend. Others, like myself, have multiple. A best friend from high school, a best friend from childhood, and a best friend from college. But I never really thought that a boyfriend could be a best friend. Sure, you go to the movies with them and give each other silly mixed CDs, but really, it wasn’t the same relationship you had with a friend. It couldn’t be.

This past summer, I worked at Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp, where I developed my personal relationship with God and fell in love with reading the bible. I also left camp with a boyfriend. A lot of people start relationships at camp, there is no denying that. It is like you are in your own little bubble of a world for 3+ months and you are bound to have a crush on 1 of the 80 staff members. My crush was Nick. He is hilarious, athletic, and has a heart for service. Not only that, but he is on fire for God and for experiencing the world. For some reason, he liked me too.

My best friend.

My best friend.

Dating at camp doesn’t really work. We were both responsible for 16 kids each week, so we really only talked on the weekends. But our relationship worked because we both remembered the reason we were at the camp: not for each other, not for ourselves, but for the kids. We left the camp stronger knowing we had impacted the lives of many children and we had a stronger relationship.

When I started liking Nick, I knew it was dangerous. I knew he was going to be gone for 6 months after camp on a YWAM (Youth With A Mission). However, we decided that we were going to intentionally try to make our relationship work. When he left at the end of September for Honolulu, there were a lot of tears (only on my end). However, during the last 3 months, we have become close, laughing late at night on the phone, reading the bible together daily, and playing Guess That Song (our own made up game) on Skype. He is one of my best friends. Today, my best friend left for Nepal, meaning he can no longer call me on the phone after 9PM and that his internet will be spotty. I don’t know when I will get to hear from him next. But I couldn’t be more proud of him and his dedication to service. I’m pretty lucky to have a best friend like him.

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Finding Joy

Posted in Madeline Johnson on December 11th, 2014 by mjohns65 – Be the first to comment

The past three days, I have been a living, breathing stress ball. Last night, nothing I did calmed me down. Praying, reading the bible, and showering provided me with no relief. I was half way sobbing, half way hyperventilating and overall concerned for my well-being. Finally, I was able to fall in bed and sleep, but not after a good long cry. Why am I sharing this with you? Doesn’t it seem a little too personal? Yes. But I am a big believer about being honest when things aren’t ok. Social media would tell you that everyone has the perfect life – look, they are smiling in all of their profile pictures! But having nervous breakdowns happens. My life isn’t perfect.

While studying (actually talking on the phone), I was also eat sugar snap pea pods, a delicious treat. The pea pod outer shell looked like lips, so I made makeshift lips. And look at that. Hopefully this picture brings you joy.

While studying (actually talking on the phone), I was also eat sugar snap pea pods, a delicious treat. The pea pod outer shell looked like lips, so I made makeshift lips. And look at that. Hopefully this picture brings you joy.

The semester ends for me next Wednesday and with that, also my undergraduate career. I’d like to say that college has helped me figure things out, that I am on the road to success, and there is no turning  back now. But some days I just want to move back to my parent’s house and hide from the real world, eating my mom’s cookies. In college, I have learned the importance of finding joy.  Everyone processes joy differently – some need more joyful people, others need their joyful time alone. I’m a mix – though independent, I also like my people time. But there is something majestic about going grocery shopping by yourself or walking a new path to class – doing little things like this make me feel like I have control of my life, even if I sometimes do what society would consider weird, like eating in a restaurant by myself.

So no. My 7th finals week in my college career isn’t any easier. I have extreme doubt that I can organize my essays to a point where I am satisfied with them. Memorizing the phylum of zooplankton isn’t always easy. But I do know that joy will come with the end of finals week. When I finally get to drive home next Friday and am greeted by my loving family, I will find that joy. For now, I am going to have to push through the stress and let my notes become tear-stained.

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Concordia Christmas Concert

Posted in Madeline Johnson on December 6th, 2014 by mjohns65 – Be the first to comment
Photo Courtesy of the Concordia College website

Photo Courtesy of the Concordia College website

You’ve probably heard of it before. There is a mural spanning memorial auditorium full of color, joyful people, and baby Jesus laying in a manger. Arise, Shine, For Your Light Has Come lights up around the manger, leaving the audience short of breath at its beauty. It’s the Concordia Christmas Concert, a yearly event that thousands attend. I went tonight with my friend Caitlan and it was amazing. I loved the modern twist they provided when quoting people like Mother Teresa and the Nigerian Christmas Song was so much fun.

The Christmas Concert reminds the public of the true meaning of Christmas – that the Savior was born.  My roommates Maddie and Melody were in the concert as well as my good friend Becca. It was wonderful to hear my friend Rob from camp sing a glorious solo. I would highly recommend coming to the concert – to see the Cobber spirit, feel the Chirstmas cheer, and enjoy a couple of hours of happiness. There is one more performance tomorrow and then there are some performances at Orchestra Hall next week in the cities.  Overall, I love carrying on the tradition of the Christmas Concert and feeling the magic of the singing.

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Cats

Posted in Madeline Johnson on December 5th, 2014 by mjohns65 – Be the first to comment

As I near the end of my time at the CobBlog (graduating in 2 weeks!), I reflected on some of my favorite blog topics and why I turned to these topics so often.

1) Food. In college, you finally have the freedom to decide what you want to eat. This can be good and bad. Good when you realize that you want to try out being a vegetarian and stick to it. Bad when you realize that 12AM is the perfect time for taco bell as a study break, but your body doesn’t think so. This is why I have so frequently blogged about food – I don’t have much money, so when I get good food, it’s a happy time. This is the typical college student lifestyle.

Cat copy

Me with a cat at my friend Tucker’s house.

2) School.Some people manage a social life and go to fun college events on campus on the weekend. I’m not saying I don’t do that, but I don’t think I have been able to do it that often. As a double major in biology and history, I am either cramming my head with science facts or furiously typing away at a paper. So that’s what I write about. Because that is what my life is. School and more school.

3) Cats. I never realized how much I like having a pet around until I came and lived in a dorm room where there were no pets. I miss my cat dearly – he sleeps at the foot of my bed every time I come home. My favorite part of finals week at Concordia is that there are cats in the library – how fun! Whenever I go to a friend’s house and they have a cat (or a dog) I latch onto it and make it my best friend. I can’t wait till I am stable enough financially and can own my own pet.

Food, school, cats – the most popular topics during my last 3 years of blogging! I will miss sharing these things with all my blog readers.

 

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