NSO: Graduate Edition
Freshman move-in. What a day. It’s crazy to think that four years ago, I was the one anxious to get the car door open and stand in the heat for as long as it took to get to the front of the orientation line. That special spot meant I would receive the packet with my ID card, my room key, and plenty of information that I probably couldn’t even find two days later. The next few hours were a whirlwind. There were hundreds of people in matching shirts wandering around with genuine smiles on their faces and hands eager to carry everything to my Delta room. Delta 1. Who knew I would spend the next three years of my residential life in that hallway–making memories, making mistakes, but making the most out of everything that came my way. I sit here four years later and think of all that has come to pass during that time. I certainly had a purpose here. I didn’t quite know it at the time, but looking back I can see much of what the Lord did through me and the community around me.
As I said goodbye to my parents in Dunckel Gym, I can still remember the look in my dad’s eyes. The tightness of my mom’s hug. The love that freely poured from both of them and the pride they took in all I had accomplished up to that point. They knew I had much more to complete on this earth, Lord willing. They understood that I was not finished growing, and that my next time of growth needed to be here. But none of us knew the extent of the journey I would experience while working through undergrad. I walked in as an Education major with plans to be a middle school teacher, and I left with a Sociology degree and dreams of re-entering University life from a different perspective. If I would have not come to Spring Arbor, I have no idea where I would be now or what my life goals would consist of. Walking through campus today, the pre-fall breeze was almost a comforting reminder to hold on to the hopes and dreams the Lord has placed on my heart over the last three years. Ever since switching my major, I have been drawn nearer to my “calling” of working with college students. I use that term loosely because I believe anyone could be called to anything if they developed a passion for it. But the environment I have been in truly cultivated in me a passion for the journey of a college student, and the barriers one must overcome to complete an undergraduate education. There are academic, relational, social, and emotional factors to consider when one looks at a college experience.
The emphasis should not be one end goal, but rather the hope of experiencing every aspect of the journey. One must trust the administration behind the school, the classes offered within, the opportunities to get involved, the social circles one finds himself in, as well as the faith that he has or has not had the chance to develop pre-college. Once he is out on his own, everything changes. His perspective is altered. Everything he knew and was comfortable with is taken away like a lover and her soldier. But when the comfort is stripped away and the satisfaction is broken, there is a valley of uncertainty the Lord is waiting to fill with new opportunity. College days are a chance to further understand who you are and who you were created to be.
[If there are any parents of freshman reading this by chance, know that your son or daughter is in very capable hands. They will be offered full support and room to grow, while still being pushed outside their comfort zone. They will have staff, faculty, and student leaders who have been prayerfully and pro-actively preparing to walk with your student during their time at Spring Arbor, no matter how long that might be. It is tough to part (on both ends, trust me!), but it is so rewarding when you see what they overcome throughout their first year.]
I cried more than usual at the Parting at the Plaza today. Mostly because for the first time since 2009, I was the one parting from a family I had grown to love. Those incoming freshmen don’t even know what they’re in for–they have been officially welcomed and embraced by a community full of love and support! So many unique adventures ahead. If you have a moment, pray for their upcoming days. The next month or two will be full of transition, both exciting and difficult. They will be forced to make new friends, break old habits, and recreate everything they used to know as comfortable into something that fits their current journey. But the Lord has greater plans for this class than any of them can imagine. Though I am sad to leave, I am excited for the new generation of students to continue giving this campus the reputation it deserves. And I’m excited for MY new journey ahead! More to write about that in my next blog. I’m off to watch my husband provide music for a freshman event tonight–I’m so proud of him!