As I’ve been thinking about the idea of transitions, the image of hugging comes to mind. In my life, hugs have symbolized happy endings. Before leaving for my junior year of college, I hugged a great group of friends that I had met that summer. I hugged my friends from Spain before going back to the United States. I hugged all my friends from college before graduating.
A few weeks ago, I went out to eat with my friends for the last time that we would all be together. We had a great time taking pictures and laughing. At the end of the night, we all hugged each other. Afterwards, we stood there and talked for a few minutes. We hugged again, but then we talked. Finally, we all just said, “OK, one more hug.” We enjoyed one last hug together, and then we parted ways.
Some seasons are easy to leave. If there’s a job, a class, or situation that I do not like, it will be easy for me to say goodbye when it is time. However, there are times where we don’t want to move on to the next season. Graduating college was one of those times for me. I was very comfortable living in a dorm with women my age that encouraged me and supported me. I enjoyed eating with my friends, having classes with my friends, and studying with my friends. It seemed that community followed me everywhere.
By the end of March, right after Spring break, talk of graduation started. Students would come up to me and remind me that I was graduating within a matter of weeks. One of my friends who was graduating with me posted a countdown on his Facebook. Professors began to ask me what I was doing after college. Everyone was ready to finish, but I still had about a month and a half before I had to think about graduation.
I am not going to deny that college was difficult, or that I was excited to graduate. However, looking at my calendar in March, I was sad to leave the place I had called my home for four years. Walking around campus, I remembered the laughs, the tears, and the conversations I shared with other students. Once I would walk across the stage, I knew that my life would be different.
In my last few weeks of school, I decided to make the most of every opportunity. I spent time with my friends. I studied with more strength and fervor than I ever had before. I made healthy decisions that allowed me to take care of myself. Rather than complaining or letting life pass me by, I enjoyed every moment.
In an instant, all of the friends, programs, jobs, and classes that I had enjoyed appeared to cease as I graduated. I said goodbye to my status as a college student, my job at the writing center, my friends from my major, my favorite classes, my professors, my job as layout editor of the college newspaper, my dorm, and all the people that have blessed my life during this season.
There came a time where I had to say goodbye to my season as a college student. I had to let go of what I was leaving behind and embrace what was before me. Since I enjoyed my last few weeks in college, I had no regrets when I graduated. Because of the blessings I had received as a student, I look forward to how I will be blessed in the future.
If you are going through transitions – whether you are graduating, leaving a job, finishing a program, or changing schools – I encourage you to enjoy the last moments that you have. Instead of counting down the days until it is over, think about something unique that you can do now. What is a privilege that you have where you are right now? What do you have now that you will not have when this ends? Whatever you do, do it with joy and excitement.
Take some time to reflect on the good memories you have. It is easy to recall the difficult and stressful times, but the fun memories are the ones worth remembering. If you like to journal, write down some memories that make you smile, and reflect on the obstacles that you have overcome. Be thankful for the blessings that you have received from God. Use the hope of these blessings to give you hope for the future.
It’s OK…you can run back for one last hug.