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University life isn't what Caitlin expected. Her roommate Liz is hostile to her faith — tormenting her with raunchy music and sleazy boyfriends. Worst of all, suddenly Caitlin doesn't understand herself anymore. Why has she regressed to being the shy, insecure girl she was in junior high? She doesn't even fit in with her new Christian fellowship group! Caitlin tries not to envy Josh and her friends at Christian colleges, but suddenly all she has are questions and few answers. In the story of Caitlin O'Conner's ...
University life isn't what Caitlin expected. Her roommate Liz is hostile to her faith — tormenting her with raunchy music and sleazy boyfriends. Worst of all, suddenly Caitlin doesn't understand herself anymore. Why has she regressed to being the shy, insecure girl she was in junior high? She doesn't even fit in with her new Christian fellowship group! Caitlin tries not to envy Josh and her friends at Christian colleges, but suddenly all she has are questions and few answers. In the story of Caitlin O'Conner's soul, this frustrating year is the most significant one yet, as the homesick freshman eventually remembers there is one companion she can always trust.
In her first year at college, Caitlin's diary reflects on her homesickness, the challenges of rooming with a non-Christian, and evolving friendships, old and new.
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Tuesday, September 3 (Independence Day)
It’s what I’ve been wanting for ages–that irresistible reward that parents hold in front of their kids just like the old proverbial carrot–that tantalizing treat that only comes with “time and age and experience.” Okay, I’m talking about independence! Today’s my official “Independence Day,” and let me tell you, it feels totally great! All right, Caitlin, let’s settle down, girl.
Of course, I had hoped to sound much more mature when I started journaling in my first college diary (or maybe I should call it a journal now). After all, I might be an aspiring writer, journalist, or who knows what? But honestly, I did want my first college entry to sound–well, more grown-up.
On the other hand, a girl needs some place where she can just relax and be herself–let her hair down, so to speak. Especially when I’ve been acting so grown-up and mature for my parents lately, assuring them that I’m really ready for this, that I’ll be okay, and not to be so concerned–you know the kind of stuff we tell our parents to get them to chill a little. But the bottom line is, I really do believe God is watching over me, so what’s there to worry about?
And then, today–the big move in. I had to keep reassuring my dad that I was perfectly fine with this new transition. I thought I had him pretty convinced too, until it was time for him to leave. Then, with a stricken look on his face, the next thing I know he’s double-checking the dead bolt on my door and making sure the phone is working. Sheesh, he even tested the smoke detector and then actually grilled me about which was the quickest fire escape route, which fortunately I had noticed on about our fourth trip carrying my stuff up the stairs. (It’s at the end of the hall to the right.)
“Don’t worry so much, Dad,” I told him. “Hey, I even saw a fire extinguisher a couple doors down, and I’ll bet it works just fine.” I made a real effort not to laugh at what I know he feels is fairly serious business.
Finally we had all my boxes and bags and stuff stacked in my room, piled high and strewn all over the place like a tornado had blown in. (Dad believes that haste makes waste…) Thankfully my roommate isn’t here yet, so I might actually finish getting the last of my things put away before she arrives. I hadn’t realized I’d brought so much STUFF. In fact, I thought I was being somewhat of a minimalist. That is, until I saw all that crud heaped all over the room. As I suspected, Mom had thrown in a few extra items like an emergency food supply box, a first-aid kit, and even a mini medicine chest complete with Pepto-Bismol among other things! I guess she still doesn’t think I can take care of myself, or maybe she thinks that I’m going to get ulcers here on my own. But I have to admit, it was sweet. And now that most of my stuff is stowed away, it doesn’t look half bad around here.
Anyway, when it was time to go, my dad gave me this nice long hug, and then said all those typically parental things like: “We really believe in you, Catie. We know you’re going to do just great.” Nice stuff like that. And I’ll admit I cried, although I tried not to show it since I didn’t want Dad to feel any worse than necessary. I cried a little more after he drove away. But as I walked back toward the dorm, it hit me. I felt this wonderful rush, this new excitement, almost like adrenaline pumping right through me. I’m free! Independent! On my own! It felt so totally cool to realize this. It still does.
My mom had wanted me to join a sorority–her old one to be specific. And despite my concern that it might not be a very Christian atmosphere, I actually looked into it (mostly to please Mom). Then I was informed that they had a mile-long waiting list. Still, I could’ve gotten on the list if I’d really wanted and if I was willing to go through rush week. Which I was NOT. I really don’t care for the idea of herding a bunch of girls around and trying to pick out the best among them. And the truth is, I think sororities are kind of shallow and superficial. Consequently, I liked the idea of a dorm better–plus it seemed more independent.
I’m sure I could be wrong about these things, but that’s the general impression I got when I checked out my mom’s old stomping grounds. I know my good buddy Josh belonged to a fraternity when he was here last year, and he thought it was great. But then it was a Christian organization. He’d even encouraged me to look into a Christian sorority he knew about, but I figured if I wasn’t going to join my mom’s, I probably shouldn’t try to join another. I mean, her feelings were already slightly hurt when I told her I wasn’t interested. No need to rub it in. So here I am.
I already know my roommate’s name is Elizabeth Banks and that she’s a sophomore (since it says so on our door). But that’s about all I know. I could have requested a specific roommate if I’d known anyone coming to the university, which unfortunately I didn’t.
Andrea LeMarsh thought she was going to come here, and we’d talked about rooming together, but then she found out her dad had lost everything in the stock market last spring. And even though her tightwad step dad has plenty of dough, he wouldn’t spring for tuition plus room and board, so she decided to live at home and go to community college for a year. And, of course, Beanie and Jenny and Anna are all on their way to the Christian college even as I write. But here’s the kicker: After all Mrs. Lambert put Jenny through last year, she actually let her take a car. I couldn’t believe it–that woman has really been changing lately!
Speaking of cars, my parents and I decided it was best to sell mine. I must admit to feeling a little blue at first, but I know it was the smart thing to do. There’s no way I could work to make payments plus car insurance and go to school full time.
Besides, everything’s within walking distance here, and Dad even talked me into bringing my bike, just in case. But I still miss that little car–my first car. And it was a good car too. It took Jenny and Beanie and me (the three amigas) all the way to Mexico and back! Now I have to finish unpacking, just in case the mysterious Elizabeth should arrive tonight and trip over my shoes still piled on the floor.
Wednesday, September 4
So far no roommate. But that’s okay with me. It gives me a chance to sort of catch my breath and get my bearings. I’m completely unpacked now, feeling almost at home with my familiar bedding and pillows and whatnot all around. I hope Elizabeth doesn’t mind that I took the side of the room that’s away from the door. I didn’t really do it on purpose. I’ve just always had my bed on the right and automatically took that side. Hopefully she won’t care. And if she does, I’ll offer to switch. Although that means moving everything and taking down my bulletin board and posters, which took me forever to arrange just right. Before Dad and I left town, Beanie Jacobs stopped by to say good-bye and to give me this cool poster with the Lord’s Prayer on it. I hung it right where I can see it from my bed.
“God bless you, Caitlin,” Beanie said as she hugged me tightly. I could tell she was crying, which was making me cry too. “I can’t believe we’re going to be so far apart.”
“We’ll e-mail,” I promised, suddenly feeling the gulf that would soon separate us. “We won’t lose touch.”
“Right.” She stepped back and wiped her nose. “And Jenny says that if we miss you too badly, we’ll just hop in her car and drive on over.”
I forced a laugh. “That’s about three hundred miles, Beanie.”
“Jenny drives fast.”
“Well, tell her to take it easy.” Then I waved to Beanie as I climbed into Dad’s SUV, wishing I’d said something more meaningful, something profound and memorable. But I suppose that’s kind of silly. I mean, it’s not like I’m never going to see her again. In fact, I think I’ll e-mail her tonight and see how their trip went.
I got an e-mail from Josh yesterday. He wrote to me as if he were personally welcoming me to the university(like he was still here). He invited me to attend his fellowship group, told me the best place to get coffee, reminded me not to be late to registration (which is tomorrow, by the way), and then warned me that dorm food usually stinks. I e-mailed back assuring him that I’m fitting into things just fine, thank you very much. Not that I didn’t want his advice, but it did come across as a little overbearing. And this is something we specifically discussed several times this summer.
You see, as much as I like Josh, he sometimes has this annoying habit of coming across as–hmmm, how do I say this nicely–acting slightly superior or perhaps even chauvinistic. Okay, maybe those aren’t exactly the right words. I’m not even sure how to describe it. But sometimes I almost feel as if he’s telling me what to do or how to think. And I really don’t appreciate it.
Now it’s not that I don’t respect or appreciate his wisdom, but it’s more that I don’t care for how he dishes it out sometimes. Of course, I never put it to him in quite those words. But that’s kind of how I felt, and for the sake of our friendship, I did try to communicate it to him. And I must give him this: He does listen. And he says he wants to change. I just think it’s an old habit or something. His little sister Chloe said he’s always been like that. She calls it “just plain pigheaded,” but I think that’s a bit strong. Still, I’m glad I can be honest with him and he doesn’t get mad.
I guess that’s one of the things I like about our friendship–I feel free to tell him things that bother me, and he doesn’t take offense. And I think our friendship really grew this summer. Although to be honest, it made me a little uneasy to have him around so much. He was working in town, and as a result, it seemed as if we spent a fair amount of spare time together. Now, despite Jenny and Beanie’s teasing, it wasn’t a dating situation. Not really. I mean, both Josh and I had agreed from the get-go that we were not dating or romantically involved.
And to prove our point, we almost always had either my little brother Ben or Chloe or one or more of our other friends with us when we went anywhere. I know it sounds silly, but I also know it was for the best. And since this is a diary–and a secret place–I will say why I know this to be true.
You see, early in the summer, shortly after graduation, Josh stopped by our house one afternoon and just sort of hung out. He and Ben and I shot baskets for a while until it got too hot; then Ben went inside to get ready for a baseball game, and Josh and I decided to make an ice cream run. No big deal, right? We got double cones and then drove down by the lake just to talk and catch up and stuff. We walked out to the end of the dock, took off our shoes, dangled our feet in the water just like a couple of kids, and chatted away. But somehow, we started splashing each other with our feet. Just goofing around, it seemed.
But the next thing I knew, we’re really going at it, kicking up water and screaming and laughing, and I thought I was actually getting the best of him. So then he grabbed me, and before I knew what hit me, we’re both in the water, still laughing hysterically. And then we got quiet. I remember looking up at him and thinking how, even sopping wet, he looked totally handsome with his dripping blond hair hanging into his eyes–and maybe it was the lake, but his eyes seemed bluer than ever.
And suddenly–I can’t even remember exactly how it happened–he kissed me! And I was TOTALLY kissing him back! Right there in the water.
Oh, man! Even as I write this, my face is burning with embarrassment and well, who knows what else? But I knew it was wrong. And he knew it was wrong. But the truth is, we didn’t stop kissing right away. And when we did finally stop, there was just this dead silence. All we could hear was the lapping sound of the lake and crickets chirping. We climbed out of the water and both sat there stunned and humiliated, and I’m sure a little breathless. I know I didn’t know what to say, and I suppose I felt like it was all my fault somehow. I mean, hadn’t I been the one to start splashing in the first place?
“I’m sorry,” he told me in a quiet voice.
“I’m sorry too,” I echoed back, feeling slightly numb inside.
“Guess we better go now.”
I nodded. Then we both stood and tried to shake off the water, which was drying fast thanks to the heat. Then we walked back to his Jeep without even speaking.
We didn’t even talk as he drove me home. He apologized again at my house, and I just nodded and walked away, feeling like a total fool. What would Beanie and Jenny think if they knew? I wondered if I would ever tell them (as it turned out, I didn’t). And even now that makes me feel like a hypocrite. But I immediately went up to my room and got down on my knees and prayed.
It had been more than a year since I first made my commitment to God not to date. And the main reason I made that promise was because of the way things had gone between Josh and me–it’s like we could never keep our hands off each other when we were going out.
So anyway, I told God I was really sorry and that I was wrong. I asked Him to forgive me, and I know that He did. But I must admit it took me a while to really forgive myself. Some people would think this is nothing, but to me it was something. I felt I’d disappointed God–and myself. Still, I reminded myself that I’m human and God doesn’t expect me to be perfect–just to be changing daily and becoming more like Him. So I pretty much tried to forget about it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve given it much thought since then.
Josh e-mailed me that same night, saying once again how sorry he was and how it would never happen again. He also promised to make sure we didn’t set ourselves up for that kind of situation again.
But even now I am humbled to think how susceptible I was (and still am) to that sort of thing. To be perfectly honest, I think I had some sort of misplaced pride (like I was above falling into that kind of trap again), but God showed me differently–I’m simply human. And I think it was the same for Josh.
The good thing is, as summer progressed, we did avoid falling into that kind of temptation again. And I believe our friendship deepened and grew. As long as Josh wasn’t telling me what to do (in that superior way he sometimes has), we got along fine. Even Chloe mentioned (just last week) how cool it was to see a guy and a girl who could be such good friends without being all romantically involved. I do plan to set her straight on some parts of that theory though–without incriminating her brother, that is. I mean, it is possible for guys and girls to be “just friends,” but you have to keep a pretty close eye on things to succeed at it. Unless you’re a saint, which I certainly am not!
Tuesday (after the missions conference)
It’s a brand-new year, and it seems appropriate that I should begin a new diary today. And yet, to be perfectly honest, I don’t feel much like writing. I know that seems crazy since so much has happened in the last few days—like I should be blabbering on for pages and pages. But I guess I’m feeling a little bummed right now or maybe just confused. And even that doesn’t make sense, because I’ve had such an unbelievably awesome time here at Urbana. I mean, I’ve heard and seen more about worldwide missions than I’d ever imagined possible. And it almost blows your mind to see how many organizations exist! Still, that doesn’t exactly explain this weird mix of emotions I’m having. To start with, I feel pretty small and insignificant at the moment (and I realize how self-centered that sounds). But it’s the truth, and I guess it’s because I’m just one among thousands of young people who God might be calling to some sort of missions opportunity somewhere around the globe.
I know it doesn’t make sense. (I should be glad that so many kids really want to serve God.) Maybe I’m just tired and ready to go home. Or maybe I’m feeling a little slighted that Josh Miller has been so obsessed with the conference that he acts as if I don’t even exist. Now how’s that for shallow? (On my part, I mean.) Not to mention painfully honest! Okay, I know, I’ve made this big commitment not to date, and I’m trying really hard to stick to it, but, sheesh, how does it make a girl feel when someone like Josh won’t even give her the time of day? Wasn’t it just a year ago that Josh (my number-one hottee) was first getting interested in me—little Miss Nobody? And look at us now. It’s almost funny. And yet…
Thankfully, we’re about to hit the road! But before I sign off on New Year’s Day sounding so gloomy, I must admit I do feel somewhat hopeful too. And I did get the chance to talk with several missions groups who focus on helping the most impoverished children, kind of like the kids at the dump in Mexico. As it turns out (sad as it seems) children who live at garbage dumps aren’t all that uncommon (especially in Latin America). And so, I gathered up all these brochures and e-mail addresses and stuff, and I’ll be communicating with the missions groups for more information and advice (not to mention praying that God will lead me!). And that all seems pretty worthwhile.
And if it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be feeling pretty discouraged right now. There were times when I actually wondered why I’d come to this conference. Because almost every missions person I spoke with kept saying, “You need to go to college before you seriously consider going to work in Mexico or anywhere else.” One old guy practically read me the riot act; he said it was “inexperienced people like me that gave missionaries a bad name,” thank you very much! Well, let me tell you, that really made my day.
Still, one nice woman suggested I might invest my summer vacation down in Mexico and continue my college studies throughout the rest of the year. That was a little encouraging. But for the most part, I just sat there in the stands, a face in the crowd, looking out upon all these thousands of kids (most of them partway or even finished with college). And the embarrassing truth is I now feel like this teeny, tiny droplet in a great, big ocean. And I wonder what possible difference little old me can have on anything? But then again, I’m probably just tired, and I do have a cold that’s making me feel kinda down too. So, I suppose it’s times like this that I need to remember my verse about trusting God with all my heart.
I must admit, I’m looking forward to seeing Josh and the other guys during our trip back home. Naturally, they stayed in one of the men’s dorms. (I was in the women’s.) And like I said Josh mostly ignored me—okay, he completely ignored me. But I suppose that was a good thing. It did allow me to focus my attention on missions without being distracted by his great Matt Damon good looks, although I did notice a few other girls looking as well as what appeared to me to be flirting! Okay, okay, I’m not jealous. Well, not exactly. I think I’m mostly just tired and need to go home. Man, I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed!
Thursday, January 3 (after a grueling trip)
Sheesh, I thought we’d never get home. A nasty snowstorm blew up shortly after we took off, and we had to go painfully slow and be careful. We took turns driving around the clock for two and a half days. Thankfully, Josh had a cell phone so we remained in touch with our families. But everyone got so tired and grumpy that I was afraid we might slide right off the road and get stuck in a snowdrift and end up just like the Donner party! Well, I doubt we actually would’ve turned into cannibals, but we might’ve killed each other off. Suffice it to say, I am quite glad to see the old homestead again. And it makes me wonder just how serious I really am about going down to Mexico to live. I mean, that’s a long ways from home. Something to think about, I guess. But maybe I’ll think about it tomorrow…after I’ve slept for about, say, nineteen or twenty hours! By the way, I don’t think Josh and I exchanged more than a few sentences the entire time. Oh, well, I guess I should be thankful.
Friday, January 4 (back to the norm,
whatever that is)
Even though I was kind of exhausted, it was something of a relief to be back at school today and back around kids my own age, who are just doing ordinary things like complaining about the basketball team’s latest losing streak or soggy french fries in the cafeteria. Although, at the same time, it did seem slightly odd that no one here talked about saving the lost or feeding the hungry or getting Bibles to some third world tribe. And I suppose it all seems just a mite shallow in contrast to where I was only a week ago. But naturally I kept these thoughts to myself.
At least my best friends Jenny and Beanie seemed really glad to see me. And I think they were actually relieved to hear that I wasn’t planning on dropping out of school my senior year and hitchhiking down to Mexico to save the world or something equally absurd. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both thought I was about to go off the deep end and do something totally weird and fanatical.
But speaking of weird, here’s what’s got me scratching my head today. It seems that Beanie has this new “romantic interest” in her life (Joel Johnson). And this has got me a little concerned. Not so much because I thought she and Zach Streeter would ever get back together or anything, because I know they’re only “just friends” now, and Josh even told me that Zach probably has a girlfriend at college. (Although I don’t think Beanie knows this—or maybe she does!) But the thing is, it’s been only about six months since Beanie promised God she would abstain from sex, and I suppose I sort of thought that meant she wasn’t going to date either. And she hasn’t. Well, until now, that is. And, of course, it’s her life—and it’s her decision—and I have absolutely no right to judge her. But, sheesh, this guy isn’t even a Christian. And quite frankly I just don’t get it!
Jenny told me that Beanie had been talking about Joel a lot last semester (and I’m wondering where was I?), and she said she wasn’t a bit surprised when they finally went out—to a movie on New Year’s Eve, as it turns out. But then, how could Jenny understand my concerns about Beanie? I mean, Jenny still thinks it’s okay to date and stuff. I’m not even sure where she stands on the abstinence issue. And she and Trent Ziegler have been going out since before Christmas, and he’s not a Christian either. But it’s really none of my business, right? So why should any of it even surprise or bother me?
Maybe it’s just that I’m feeling a little like the odd man out right now. You know that old fifth wheel thing. Or maybe I’m just afraid that we’re all going to grow apart or that Beanie and Jenny might stop taking God seriously. Already it seems like those two are living in their own little world. I mean, they live together and work together and the fact is, I feel kind of out of it just now. So how can I possibly step in and say that I’m all worried about their spiritual conditions without sounding like a total nerd? I mean, it seems like I should be able to tell my two best friends how I feel, but I’m not so sure. What if they see me as some kind of religious fanatic? (Am I a fanatic?)
Oh, maybe I’m just overreacting to what is simply normal high school behavior. To be perfectly honest, I feel pretty confused right now and I’m thinking I better just pray about all this stuff and try really hard to keep my big mouth shut before I’m really sorry. (Now, wouldn’t that be a good exercise in self-control!)
DEAR GOD, PLEASE HELP ME NOT TO COME DOWN ON MY FRIENDS (OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER). AND HELP ME NOT TO LET THEIR CHOICES INFLUENCE MY DECISIONS. I KNOW HOW YOU’VE ASKED ME TO LIVE AND I DON’T WANT TO COMPROMISE. I WANT TO STAY STRONG FOR YOU. AMEN.
Posted June 20, 2013
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Posted September 6, 2011
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Posted March 25, 2008
Caitlin just graduated from high school and is going to be a freshman in college. Everything seems good until she meets her roommate, Liz. At first Caitlin thinks she¿ll be okay but then Liz starts to really get on her nerves. She goes through many hard times just trying to understand Liz but Liz is so stubborn. Will Caitlin be able to live a whole year with Liz? Or will she change roommates under Liz¿s pressure? Read ¿On My Own¿ of the Caitlin series of the Diary of the Teenage Girl Series. What I liked about this book is how Caitlin does everything. How she understands Liz and also Josh Miller. What I didn¿t like about this is how Caitlin can get really preachy. Sometimes it¿s all she talks about in a chapter and it gets a little annoying. This book is part of the Diary of a Teenage Girl Series. It is the fourth book in the series. There is also other Diary of a Teenage Girl Series with the Kim and Chloe series. I think that teenage girls would enjoy these books. If you enjoy reading any of the other Melody Carlson books you will probably enjoy this series too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 6, 2006
A girl, Caitlyn, goes to college as a lonely little freshman. She enters her room to find out she has an evil roommate named Liz. Liz is a mixed up girl without Jesus on her side. Caitlyn gets picked on all the time because she is a Christian and in Liz¿s eyes a ¿Little Miss Goody Two Shoes.¿ On the other hand she is now in college and her high school boyfriend also goes there she is so tempted to ask him out but she made a commitment not to date. Open this book and discover the temptations of love and commitments! One thing I didn¿t like about this was the dialogue the narrator was talking and all of a sudden they start talking. One thing I like about this book is that it is suspenseful and it keeps you hanging off the edge of your seat and asking questions like: What will happen next? Why? What For? Will they ever become friends? This book is number four in the series the first three in the series is: Becoming Me, its My Life, and Who I Am. This book cannot be read unless you have read the first three this book sort of reminds me of Full House. The Author is Melody Carlson and she also wrote the color series where they have colors such as: Green, Black, and Orange I have not read this series and I plan to eventually.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2006
Posted February 16, 2005
Posted February 8, 2003
This book was great. I'm not in college yet but it I could cope with some of the stuff Caitlin was going thru. I love reading all about Caitlin! And the things she goes through aren't out of the ordinary. They're real life problems that could happen to anyone! And you pretty much fall in love with Caitlin, Josh, Byrce, Steph, lil Clay, Jenny, Beanie, and Anna. I love them all as much she does. This book as well as the series is great! :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2011
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Posted May 14, 2012
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