Exactly one week from today, I graduate college. I will walk across a stage, hear the announcer’s sorry attempts at trying to pronounce my name correctly, and be handed a piece of paper that tells me that I am officially a big girl college graduate and I am no longer a student.
The walk across the stage signifies the end of my undergraduate journey, and for whatever reason. Nothing feels different. Maybe this is because it hasn’t happened yet and I still get to walk around my campus for a few more days. Maybe this is because I am not making some drastic change and moving across the world come the end of May. But still, the fact that I still haven’t had some emotional breakdown or sad parting time feels wrong and brings up a huge fear.
I’m so scared that I am living in denial of the things that are passing and suppressing my emotions about leaving these past four years behind and leaving this college campus.
A lot of times, we do not feel the weight of closing chapters because we neglect to acknowledge that the change is even occurring.
Yesterday, my best friend Brenna and I were sitting down at our favorite coffee shop that we have eaten in at least 200 times over the past four years, and we talked about how weird it is that nostalgic feelings have not risen within us concerning graduation. She expressed how in the past, when she has had to leave cherished things in her life, she never said goodbye because she didn’t want to admit the end of these things.
A year and a half ago, she studied abroad in her favorite city in the world, London. Her time there was one of the most growing times, and when it was time to leave, she ran away from admitting all of the moments of pain and beauty that grew in on the other side of the pond. Now, because of this suppression, she can’t talk about London without getting emotional because she never actually got to say goodbye or cherish the moments enough.
She made me promise her that I wouldn’t let her do the same thing with leaving college.
So, she had a proposal and sent this text message to all of our closest friends.
“Guys. This is random. But I’ve been really scared that I won’t healthily process the massive thing that is graduating college. I don’t do very well with letting these kinds of things hit me. The places of huge heartbreak in my life come from realizations that things will never be the same again. I live in crippling fear that I didn’t cherish the moments enough…It’s not good, and I want to do things different this time.
With my best friends and with Jesus. So I have a proposal…
I am asking for all of us to meet on campus and take some time to relive memories (good and bad) with each other. Verbally process all that has happened to us in these four years… I don’t want to be strong and attempt to bury my feelings like usual about such a monumental change. I want to be human and feel it with you guys. A total emptying out of emotion and then a complete filling of Jesus…”
We all opened the text and immediately said yes and sent back praise hand emojis. In fact, it was the first thing to even feelings of nostalgia within my heart.
Intentionally saying goodbye to the good moments is so beneficial and it will help you to healthily process change.
So, as you walk into new things and say goodbye to the old things, say thank you for the conversations that you had in your freshman dorm room that lasted until 4 a.m., remember the times that you woke up at 6 a.m. to watch the sunrise on the roof of the parking garage, go to the table where you received a phone call that changed your life, walk into that coffee shop that became your safe haven and order your favorite breakfast sandwich one more time. Go celebrate with your friends and don’t let the anxiety about your future keeping from enjoying the remaining days of this sweet season.
Don’t fear leaving good things behind, but recognize them, thank them for their presence, remember them, and then walk forward knowing that more goodness will follow you all the days of your life.