Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoughts on my last night of being an undergraduate

Tomorrow I graduate from Central College. This is quite likely my last post as an undergraduate and quite possibly my last post from Pella, at least for awhile. My room is almost all packed up. I should be working on it still, but I feel that I’ve made a lot of progress and I want to take a break. My parents are in town and staying with friends for tonight and tomorrow night. I’ll be on campus for 2 sleeps yet. We’ll see how much sleep actually happens….

As I think back on my four years here, one word stands out more than any other. That word is community. The community here at Central has meant so much to me. I don’t even know how to describe it to people who haven’t experienced it. The community here is family. I have professors who will give me hugs tomorrow. My boss gave me a hug today as I ran out of work in a panic (I realized that senior dinner started at 5, not 5:30…It was 4:50 and I was in paint clothes and had paint on me…I was dressed and clean and at dinner at 5). The dietician at the cafeteria hugged me after our last meeting this week. I have friends that I can call at any time and know that they will be there for me. I have friends who see me walking on campus and yell at me out their windows just because. I had an RA freshman year who would spend hours with me making snow toffee. Some of our best talks happened in that kitchen, stirring the toffee forever and ever (after I ate the toffee, serious conversation was pointless, but that’s another story). I had a Christian community that I could worship with at 9pm, 9am, 11am, 3am, 7:30am, 10pm…you get the picture. I had a friend who met with me every morning for the first half the semester just to pray and start our day with G-d. Another friend met with me Thursday evenings to talk about what we had been learning from G-d that week. Friends who would join me for Study Day Picnic on the floor of the cafeteria.

In my four years here I don’t think I have ever walked alone. That is something really special. It’s also something I’m scared to leave. I’ve become used to relying on the community here, to always having someone to call, always having someone to hug, always having someone to cry with or laugh with or pray with. I’ve become used to not having to stand on my own, but to be able to lean on those around me. I leave here Sunday. Many people have already left. I realized as I was typing this that I can’t go upstairs and do night-night hugs because there is no one to hug. I’m going to have to stand on my own. But even on my own, I know I’m not going to be alone. The community might not be so visible around me after I’m gone, but I know they will still be there for me. I can shoot off an e-mail, send a facebook message, make a skype call and there will be someone at the other end ready to keep walking with me. Most importantly though, I can fire off a prayer and know that my G-d always hears me and will never ever ever leave me. No matter how lonely I get, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve had a hug, G-d will always be there for me. Sometime, when I’m stressing and feeling down and alone, someone remind me of this, okay? I’m forgetful…

Central, I’m gonna miss you. Thanks for taking such good care of me these last four years.  May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May he make his face shine upon you and give you peace.  May he turn his face towards you and be gracious to you.

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