“What are all the tears about?” That was what my dad asked me just over a week ago when I graduated from Cedarville University. My poor family…I don’t think any of them have ever seen me cry, but that day I was a MESS.
That afternoon, my tears were tears of sadness, tears of joy; tears of relief, tears of fear; tears of anticipation and tears of excitement. It was an incredibly sad day because it meant saying goodbye to so many good friends, not knowing when (or if) I would see them again; it was also an incredibly joyous day, because after 4 years of hard work, we’d reached our goal. Graduation was a day of relief…we’re finally done, but also of intense fear…holy crap, we’re really adults now. I was so overwhelmed with so much anticipation and excitement for the future…but it’s still so unknown.
College was an incredible time of life and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world. I have no regrets about anything…of course, I probably made a poor decision or two (or three or four), but ultimately those became lessons that I learned from and shaped me into who I am today. Sure, I could have been involved in more on campus…but could I really? I mean, seriously. If I had tried to squeeze one more extracurricular activity in my schedule, all of them would have suffered. I did A LOT in my four years, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I had.
Top 10 Highlights
- Freshman year- Spring Break missions trip to Syracuse NY; it was a significant time of growth for me and learning what it means to serve the least of these.
- Freshman year- community ministry at Dayton Gospel Mission, spending time playing games and leading bible study with inner-city kids. I think this was really when I began to consider the bigger picture of 21st century racism, inequality and injustice.
- Sophomore year- living in a hippie town with a really old lady. She had some incredible stories about being friends with Coretta Scott King, growing up during the great depression, and raising her kids during the Civil Rights Movement.
- Sophomore year- the Civil Rights bus tour. Myself, about 5 faculty/staff, and 20 or so other students took a tour of the major scenes for the Civil Rights Movement–Birmingham, Memphis, Atlanta, and so on. There is something incredible about physically being exactly where history took place.
- Junior year- leading a discipleship group through a book on selflessness. It was such a great opportunity to be in a position of encouraging and mentoring underclassmen women. At the same time, the leadership group I was a part of was such an encouragement to me.
- Junior & Senior year- living with great friends in a teeny, tiny house. It was quite an experience of learning how to budget, grocery shop, cook and clean…I still need to get the hang of cooking for one though 😉
- Senior year- serving as the president of Psi Kappa Theta, the psychology organization. It was so much fun working with my incredible officers and our faculty, planning events for the org. Being the boss wasn’t too bad, either.
- Senior year- applying, interviewing, getting accepted with, and preparing to work with Teach for America as corps member. Oh my gosh…I could talk about this organization for hours. I am SO SO SO excited to move to Atlanta and begin working with such an incredible movement, transforming the lives of special education students.
- Sophomore, Junior, & Senior year- standing beside several of my friends as they said their wedding vows. I am so grateful that I had the privilege to support many dear friends on the biggest day of their life.
- Sophomore, Junior & Senior year- being involved with the Getting Started program at the beginning of each school year (freshman orientation). I loved seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of the incoming students; it was always so refreshing and energizing!
Actually, I lied. I do have one regret: not taking pictures of some really cool experiences.
The best relationships I could have asked for
I was so blessed to have had some incredible relationships. Even during my freshman year, I had awesome men and women in my life who were a listening ear when I needed one and gave me advice than only an upperclassman could give, but more than anything they pointed me to Christ. I’ve had my fair share of friends graduate years before me, but I am still so thankful for those who took me under their wing and guide me through the last 4 years.
These people don’t just include other college students, but faculty/staff members and families at the church I attended. There have been countless coffee dates, walks around the track, and office meetings with people who poured into me and discipled me. Going to a Christian university, I was constantly around people who wanted nothing more than for me to be thriving in the Lord and walking in His will.
Thank you to every upperclassman who took the time to give me advice about getting through college, buying textbooks, choosing professors, and becoming a mature adult.
Thank you to everyone who prayed with and for me. Thank you for discipling, teaching, and leading me in ways that help me reflect Christ well.
Thank you to each friend who listened to me vent about how unfair my professor was being; thank you for listening to me whine about how stressed and tired I was; thank you for putting up with my crazy.
Thank you to each roommate who didn’t interfere with my obsessive-compulsive organizing; thank you for all of our late-night conversations, inside jokes, and not being psychopaths.
Thank you to each friend, mentor, and professor who believed in me–even when I didn’t; thank you for not giving up on me or lowering your standards and expectations when I got lazy.
Thank you to each friend who spoke truth into my life, even when it involved tough love and hurt feelings; thank you for pushing me to become the best that I could be.
Thank you to each employer, supervisor, and mentor who took the time to invest in my well-being and success; thank you for helping me learn from your experiences.
Thank you to each family who allowed me to a part of your own; thank you for the nights spent watching movies, playing games, and simply talking about life.
Thank you to each professor who genuinely wanted me to learn and apply the knowledge that I often thought was generally useless.
Thank you to every friend and mentor for allowing me to be a part of your life; thank you for allowing me to pour into, push, and encourage you.
Be Thou My Vision
Our class song could not have been more appropriate as we leave CU and branch out across the world. It has become the prayer of my heart, and I know it has for many other graduates as well.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, put first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight; Be, Jesus, my glory My soul’s satisfied
Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight; Be, Jesus, my glory My soul’s satisfied
My Jesus, you satisfy; My Jesus, you satisfy
High King of Heaven, my victory won; May I reach Heaven’s joys, bright Heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight
Be, Jesus, my glory My soul’s satisfied
I already miss Cedarville; it became home to me. I never thought I would become so attached to a town that’s technically a village and is literally surrounded by corn. But somewhere along the way, I did. I interned at the high school. I was friends with families who lived in the community. I went to church with the locals. I was deeply invested in the culture and atmosphere of Cedarville. And I miss all of it. I miss my friends that I’ve built so many memories with. I miss the 3.5 mile route I’ve been running for the past 4 years. I miss driving the back roads that reminded me of home. I even miss Cedarville’s ridiculous wind and bi-polar weather. I must be a huge nerd at heart, because I already miss my favorite table in the library.
I stayed in Cedarville for a couple of days after graduation, but I am finally ready for this season to end. As much as I loved Cedarville, I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to see what lies ahead for me in Atlanta. I’m ready to make new friends; I’m ready to find a new church; I’m ready to map new runs; I’m ready to invest somewhere new. I am ready to continue building meaningful relationships–in new ways.
I’ve learned that the end of a season does not mean that you forget about it or replace people…you simply remember it fondly and say new hellos.