It is the end of an era. Saying goodbye to my parents in what we now affectionately call “The Crying Parking Lot” seems like forever ago.
“One Sunday afternoon in June” is very quickly becoming “a Monday morning in May.” That very expensive piece of paper is almost mine. But I don’t want it.
I’m not ready to leave. I’m not ready to get a big girl job. I’m not ready to start over.
I love it here. It’s why I prayerfully chose Gardner-Webb. God has grown me and used me here.
I’m not the same woman I was four years ago when we cried in the parking lot outside of Suttle Hall. All too soon I’ll be crying in a different parking lot. Pulling away from a place that has shaped me, formed me, and made me who I am.
As my peers discuss what dorm they’re living in next year, I ponder what state (country?) I’ll be in. As they plan their schedule, I look at the classes I wish I could take.
Four years ago, when my parents, sisters, and I said goodbye, I walked back to my dorm while their van pull away. I never looked back. Will I be able to do the same in a month?
Based on how easily the tears filled my eyes tonight, no.
I refuse to count the days until I walk across the stage. Instead, I’m being pulled towards it kicking and screaming. Even my pullers are screaming.
“I’m going to have a hard time when you graduate.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to add an seventh major and stay a little while longer?”
But, unfortunately, it’s time.
The rites of passage passed and the mile stones crossed. Those “one day in the future” events have become items to be crossed off the to-do list. Yet still it hurts.
I’m comfortable here. Four years will do that.
I cannot walk across campus without stopping to chat. I know the chain of command for almost every problem and situation. I’m not afraid to jump to the top of the chain, I know the loop holes, and I call people by their first names. I keep emergency numbers in my phone, and I have used them.
This is my school.
This is my home.
I understand now why people linger long after graduation. Part of me hopes I become one of them. I’m not ready to say goodbye to this 4.2 square mile town, its one stoplight, or its millions of friendly faces.
Please don’t make me go!