I had the opportunity to reminisce about my college graduation when I assisted my office at today’s commencement ceremony. As I worked, I saw students who looked like they couldn’t wait to move on to the next stage of their life, ones who looked mortified that their parents were buying flowers for them, and ones panicking about having to leave the place they had called home for so many years.
Seeing these different outward reactions to such an influential event made me think about how I responded when I walked across the stage to accept my undergraduate diploma. So like anyone who keeps meticulous journals, I decided to hunt down the entry that I wrote on May 7, 2016. Here it is:
Today I graduated from college. Wow, how crazy is that? I remember years ago when people would say that I could not finish college, even if I wanted to. To be honest, there was a high chance that I would not have finished because I used to be incredibly unmotivated and lazy. That is such a change from the person that I am today, and I credit this to my time at college.
During my time at college, I learned how to set goals and reach them. Obviously I am thinking of my year without dessert, but I was becoming adept at setting and accomplishing goals even before that year-long dessert fast. Through seemingly simple tasks like making a schedule and sticking to it or studying hard for an exam, I was able to begin morphing my personality from an unmotivated one into the goal-setting, determined one that it is today.
As I sit at the hotel that I am staying at with my parents, I can see out into the cornfields stretching for miles past the window, and as I sit here, I cannot help but think how much I have come to love living in Ohio. It is not the state itself that I love; rather, it is the myriad of memories and relationships that have formed during my time living here. I will always think of Cedarville when I see a cornfield in the future, and those memories will be wonderful ones.
Yes, there were more hard times at Cedarville than I could ever begin to count, but for all of those hard time, there five times as many good times. Times when people showed the depths of their love towards me, when I saw how blessed I was to be able to attend such an incredible institution, and when I began to see a person in the mirror who I did not despise. All of these happened during my time at college, and that is amazing.
So now what? I am going to be taking a few days to process all of this change, because it was really overwhelming today. I said goodbye to more people than I can count, and the full effect of those goodbyes will probably take a few days to hit me. But in the mean time, I plan on working on a personality transfer. I want to make sure that the person that I became in Cedarville comes with me to New York. It took four years to become the person that I am today, and I do not want to become lazy and let that disappear when I get back home.
Cedarville, thank you for being the foundation of my most life-changing years. I will always remember you fondly. In the future, I hope to visit you to see the places where so many beautiful memories were formed. I know that I spent lots of time disparaging you in the past, but as I stand looking back on my time with you, I know that I could not have been any place better. You may change throughout the years, with new majors and buildings being added, but my memories will never change. Thank you for a great four years.
First, I want to say that I apparently had a pretty loose standard of writing when it came to my journals in 2016, but more importantly, I want to point out the incredible full circle in which my life has gone.
I wrote about being scared to leave Cedarville, but little did I know that I was only leaving for a few months. Before long, I returned to the place where my life was transformed, and I was able to begin an incredible new chapter in my life. Sure, I sometimes feel restless, but reading that journal entry reminded me of how far my life has come and how far I hope it will go.
So yet again I will say, “Cedarville, thank you for being the foundation of my most life-changing years.” And I will add, “I cannot wait to continue building on it in the years to come.”