Note: This has nothing to do with going to the library late at night… I just liked the title!
I woke up this morning with the strangest feeling floating around me. In exactly one week from today, I will be waking up and getting ready to close out my academic career. I was talking to a friend who is also graduating yesterday at my campus organization’s picnic and we were talking about future plans when someone came up to say goodbye. I looked over to her after he had walked off and asked, “Are you feeling how I am feeling?”
Confused, she looked over at me and said “I think?”
I sighed and looked around at all of the old and new people who had been a part of my life for the better part of four years. “When people say goodbye to us now, it’s not a see you later… It’s a I might not see you again but I hope you all the best kind of goodbye.”
And in that moment we realized life as we have known it for the last eighteen years is changing. It’s a bittersweet feeling even. I was in the library last night trying to get my shit together for my final final on Thursday and as I was typing up my review, I realized it was my last time as an undergraduate to come up to the library and get stuff ready for the week of studying that awaits me. Heck! It was my last time to probably step foot in Club Willis unless I go to grad school.
In the last few weeks or so, I feel like I have been holding tightly to or maybe reminiscing of all of the events that have taken place during college.
I broke up with my high school boyfriend the first day of school,
I conquered my severe anxiety,
I found Jesus or maybe he found me and was baptized,
I discovered that I absolutely love school,
I first learned what it meant to be called and subsequently was called to the campus of UNT,
I led girls to Jesus and walked life with them,
I met some cool college kids who are going places in life,
I went tent camping for the first time,
I cried way too many times,
I found my best friends for life,
I learned what it meant to truly follow Jesus yet how to walk away from Him.
I learned what it meant to fight for something and never get up,
I gained close to sixty to seventy pounds, and have lost 30 of it.
I fell in love with someone amazing, only to have it not work out.
I did things I am still not proud of,
I learned what it meant to have no regrets.
I became the master of disasters and discovered how much of a walking disaster I really am.
I learned I loved to boulder and be outdoorsy,
I completed the internship I thought I’d never find and loved it,
I went to Europe and learned all over again what it was like to fall in love with a place,
I spent way too many nights wandering the campus and Denton, both with people and alone,
I figured out my limits (The hard way),
I found new friends and watched old friends move away,
I went to a bar/honky tonk/ dance hall,
I learned things I could’ve gone my whole life without learning…
But I did,
And most importantly,
I became a better person in the last five years. I grew, I was moved, I loved, laughed, and cried.
When I walk the stage, it’s not only a celebration of finally finishing my degree, but also of who I have become as a result of my time in college. I find the biggest accomplishment to be I went from an anxious, shy, and scared 17-year-old freshman who had to be pushed out of the car by my mother to go to class, to an almost 23-year-old super senior who has conquered mountains and crawled in the valleys of life. And I made it out better than before.
In the bittersweet moments, I realize that I am just moving on to the next chapter of my life story and it’ll be beautiful, hard, and wonderful. It’s just the start of something new and scary and that’s okay.