This is the story of a beautiful soul I am happy to call my friend, but first we have to start before I met them.
Freshman year of college is both a thrilling and terrifying experience. Especially the days leading up to the first day of class.
Do you remember how you felt before making the official leap from high school to college? Honestly, the majority of people I know that will read this were probably ecstatic to start learning at the university level. But I think it would be a lie to say there was not even a twinge of nervousness at the pit of your stomach as you made such a big transition.
The unknown experience of university life is what produces these feelings. It is an animal instinct. It is natural. Nervousness is a human and relatable emotion. Freshman year of college causes a myriad of changes to all happen at once and nervousness is a normal reaction.
I remember the scariest change for me was moving into my dorm. School was school and homework was homework. I came from a high school full of fucked up social dynamics so I was prepared for the worst. But actually living with people my own age? Away from home and without knowing more than one person who would be on my floor? No thanks.
But there I was, doing it anyway.
My entire life I have lived with extreme and excruciating anxiety surrounding social situations. So, needless to say, moving into my freshman dorm room on East Hall 4 was stressful.
I moved in that weekend and that Monday all my fears about dorm life melted away.
When you live on campus at Fresno Pacific as an underclassmen there are mandatory living area meetings each Monday night. It was at my first mod-meeting, as FPU calls them, that I found my concerns eased.
Why, you ask?
Because I met Kelsey Conklin.
Kelsey was my RA for the year and from the first time I met her I knew she was kind and understanding. She exuded warmth, acceptance, and fun. She has been my friend since then and nothing has changed except for her last name. Kelsey is still all of these things and more.
I have a lot of stories about Kelsey that would illustrate her compassion and willingness to go above and beyond for others. There are many of these that come from the spring semester of my freshman year as Kelsey was a solid rock of support for me during one of the most difficult times in my life so far. She listened as I cried and gave me the best hugs known to mankind. She gave advice when I needed it and loved me with everything she had.
Like I said, not much has changed to this day.
But there are also countless fun and lighthearted memories, too. Spontaneous photoshoots out on the green with our talented friend, Angela. Or the mod trip to Shaver Lake that was full of silliness and my inability to paddle a kayak. Stargazing in northern Fresno and thinking we saw ghosts. Or my dorm room actually being haunted by a ghost we named Katie.
One of my favorite things about Kelsey is how much she and I have in common. Most of these things are little and nuanced, based on the time and place. We order the same coffee or want the same item of clothing. We express a similar sentiment about something and shout “See, we are the same person!”
When I think about the good things about Fresno Pacific I think about Kelsey first and foremost. Kelsey resembles everything positive FPU has to offer a person. Love, growth, support, compassion, and grace.
She is the type of woman who is always down to grab a good cup of coffee and chat about life. She will always find a way to make time for you in her schedule. And she learns quickly how to love you best and makes you feel valued.
Someone like Kelsey in your life is like a foundational pillar in the construction of a building. Pillars hold a building up. They are fundamental to the structure, they keep it from collapsing. Kelsey does all of these things and more for the people she loves.
All of this to say: I really hope you have a Kelsey in your life. Because Kelsey’s are priceless and they do nothing but add value to your life.