Goodbye Olivet College

5:16 AM

I came to Olivet College in 2009, graduated in 2012, and finally left in 2014. In nearly 5 years, there hasn't been a Monday morning that I didn't drive to Olivet -- excepting holidays and a brief time after graduation. In two days, it will be Monday morning and I won't drive to Olivet.



That'll be strange. It's almost instinctual to wake up and just go there. What a weird day Monday will be.

***

I left with a very full heart. That's the power of friendship, I guess. The kind reminder of all that was good, while an imaginary hand firmly presses down any memories of stress or concern. All the very best flooded my memory yesterday, as I packed my office. I forgot the insane travel season and the moms that yelled at me. I forgot 50-visit Fridays and the microwave that worked....sometimes. What I did remember was the family I created with the other Reps. The people who also climbed into their cars and tackled the same crazy travel schedule and knew what it was like to have a mom yell at them. The people who collaborated on 50-visit Fridays and carried each other through those afternoons. That's what I remembered.

 But what I remembered most were the kids I met -- hilarious, inappropriate, mega-smart, naturally social, writers, readers, artists, and a few that were downright freakin' crazy -- I met each and every kind. And for the most part, enjoyed each and every one.They made me remember what it was like to be a teenager and to struggle to know where I fit in the world and it was incredibly valuable to be brought to that place. We all should, as adults, remember how much we flailed and how vulnerable we were. It makes you so much more confident to wake up now and say "this is who I am and I'm good with that. Now let's go about the day."

It'll make you thankful that you've grown enough to realize that.

As a student, I had a powerfully transformative experience at OC. I am different because I chose this institution, and be default, I believed 100% in what I did there as a professional. I hope very much that I had a part in changing young lives, as much as my own life was changed. 

I guess, what I'm attempting to blubber, is that I will miss this place. I will miss the way it smelled and the way it felt in the summertime. I will miss the old buildings and the campus in the fall. I will miss the rush of a new school year and the feeling of a campus-wide sigh at the end of a school year. I'll miss the way it feels to be surrounded by first time freshman who are so excited to start their lives. I'll miss their palpable anticipation. 

I grew up here. And then, I became a professional here. But now, I am a first time freshman. I am excited to start my new life, and my anticipation is palpable. 


Yesterday was so bittersweet. So much good and growth, yet so much nostalgia and, of course, the family I leave behind. 

Is it almost too appropriate that this is commencement weekend at OC? That yesterday, campus was filled with changed students, adults, with new paths, dressed in their graduation caps and gowns?

I think, yesterday, I graduated all over again. Goodbye for real, this time, OC. 

Fun fact: I wore red and black yesterday. It was not an accident. 

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