I knew it was coming. We all knew it was coming. Mel spent months randomly bursting out in tears over it. It was inevitable. Graduation would be on May 7th, 2016 at 4 P.M. in the Greek Amphitheatre, and there was nothing we could do to change it or stall it from happening.
It was a day that flew by in the blink of an eye. Most of the morning was spent being overly excited and having multiple ‘We’re graduating today!!!’ moments. Then the day became even more real when we put on our caps and gowns and met up with friends who had already received their diploma. Now it was my turn: to line up in alphabetical order, march down the steps into the Greek, and sit as I wait to receive my diploma.
The moment was an exciting blur. I remember my dad running down to give me more leis and then how complicated it was to get hooded when my hair and flowers were everywhere. Then I took a few steps, handed my name card to the lady reading out names, and time seemed to freeze for just a moment. I had forgotten about the hundreds of people standing in the crowds and could just barely remember how to walk. If ever I smiled from ear to ear it would have been in that moment.
Four years of college built up to this day. Four years of finishing my projects the night before it was due, four years of staying up late laughing with friends when we should have been asleep, four years of having the most indescribable ocean view. I always knew that the day would come where I would trade in my status as a college student for a diploma, but what no one warned me about was what would happen after graduation.
In the span of 24 hours you go from sharing an apartment with your closest friends to saying goodbye and not knowing the next time you’ll ever be in the same place at the same time. And even if I were to stay in San Diego longer it would never be the same. There would never be the same people or the same experiences. So I’m stuck in this place of missing Loma and wanting to be back but knowing that even if I was back it wouldn’t feel quite right. There will be moments where I am so incredibly proud of my accomplishments, but there will also be moments where I can’t fathom what it means to not be at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Mel described it perfectly. It’s like sadness is touching all of our core memories. The thought that I’ll never get to watch the sun set and hide below the ocean’s horizon from the balcony of 45 E. The thought that my wonderful chi dev ladies and I will never again get to goof off in one of our classes. The thought that I’ll never be in a community of people who seek to live like Christ and having the opportunity to worship alongside them. The thought of not knowing the next time I’ll get to see Clara or Sarah or Jasmine or Emma or Ruth or Becca or Caleb or Mel or any of the individuals who have made my four years in college so incredibly wonderful. These are the thoughts that have been breaking my heart lately. They’re the sad reminders I’m trying to navigate through as I transition into a new season of life.
But it’s going to be ok, and I’m going to be ok. At the end of Inside Out all the emotions realize that in order for Riley to feel better she has to experience sadness. There are going to be more feelings of missing Loma, but there are so many more delightful memories that I’m going to hold onto. I may never get to do this or that again, but I’m infinitely grateful for all the things I have done while at PLNU.
So even as I struggle to accept this new season of life, I’m reminded that God is always faithful. He has been faithful in the past and there is no reason He’s going to stop now. He was there for me when I left home and started college in San Diego, and He’ll be there for me as I leave home again and start a new season of life in Hawaii. It is going to be scary and difficult and sad, but God is pulling me into a beautiful new adventure.