So it’s come down to this. A few suitcases in an empty dorm room. Quiet residence halls. Significant feelings of nostalgia mixed with a dose of excitement and a touch of worry. It’s not exactly the arbitrary significance of commencement tomorrow that has me reflecting on my time at Slippery Rock University, but rather what is not coming in the future. For the first time in 15 years, I will not be returning to formal education in the fall. And while much can be said on the topic of learning and the context through which it best takes place, the end of my undergraduate career at Slippery Rock is still worthy of an earmarked page in my journal and some reflections.
SRU has presented me with more opportunities, challenges, events, and friendships than I ever could have imagined. The very beginning was laced with rocky circumstances (pun definitely intended) that slowly turned into one of the most wonderfully complex experiences I have ever encountered. My friend and mentor at SRU has explained that one of the greatest challenges in life is to “navigate through the inefficiencies,” and Slippery Rock has certainly provided me with opportunities to refine my ability to do just that. It’s been quite the whirlwind of seemingly endless routines of note taking, group projects, research papers, library meetings, study guides, and powerpoint presentations (so. many. slides).
But through the monotony of everyday classes emerged chances to see the country from opposite oceans, learn from the brightest professors I have ever met, study topics that are critically tied to our broader communities, and create dear friendships. With my core group of friends and teammates, I have been able to laugh and learn to love the day to day college experience. Lately, I’ve been hearing the phrase that “hindsight is 20/20,” and never is this more applicable than as one experience draws to a close and another approaches in all its shining new glory.
Commencement may be tomorrow, and while I may be saying “see you later” to my friends, coworkers, and my campus, the journey is quite truly just beginning. Within three days of moving from Slippery Rock, I will be on my way across the country to start working on one of my greatest dreams – showing the awesome love and grace of God through horses from within His great Creation. Completing my internship – and the final 12 credits needed to graduate – at Deer Valley Ranch in Colorado will be the ultimate field learning experience. Moving beyond my familiar summer routine into a new community of fellow Christians will certainly require the guidance of the Lord, and I expectantly look forward to the new adventures, growth, and blessings coming my way.
The past six semesters have flown by, and the next six years may do the same. But for now, I’ll continue to learn whatever I can, observe the world around me, and passionately pursue the plans and dreams laid out for my future.
So long, Slip.