For many seniors, the end of our college career hit them back in September. For me, it didn’t hit until January.
Ringing in the new year in 2018, I realized some very big moments were going to happen in my life. I am going to graduate, a few short weeks later marry my best friend and then begin my life in the professional world. While this all sounds like positive things, there is one dark cloud that, I believe, is hanging over many of my fellow seniors and myself.
This is a realization that we are going to have to say goodbye, not only to Franciscan, but to the friends who encircled our lives as college students and supplied us with the memories and adventures that we will tell for years to come.
One of the many blessings of Franciscan is its diversity in locations. Students come from all over the states, and indeed all over the world to this school. It gives people like me the chance to make friends with people who, had God not designed us to be in the same school at the same time, I would never have had a chance to meet. That is a blessing, but it is also a cross.
Many people are at least close in vicinity, but when you have friends from across the country or across an entire ocean, you wonder: “Will I ever see that person again?”
God works in mysterious ways, and you just might see them again. But there are other moments in which God has fulfilled the time you are to spend together, and now you both will move on into completely different spheres. You might stay connected, but you’ll never again have that day-to-day interaction you had for the past four years.
If you are anyone like me, this idea is a little bit … depressing. And seemingly unfair. But the beauty of our faith is it keeps us connected, even when we’re separated by hundreds or thousands of miles.
A useful tip I had gotten from an alumnus was “always live in the present moment.” And that is the advice I needed coming into this spring semester, my last at Franciscan University. Always live in the present moment, cherish the classroom settings and the toughest assignments; you will never have this type of work in the professional world. But more than this, cherish the time spent with your friends, your households and your co-workers.
Be truly present to those around you; don’t let the pressure of what you feel is more important distort your view of what’s in front of you. Go out more often, laugh more deeply and be intentional with your conversations. If you say you should meet up and have coffee sometime, actually do it! Don’t hold back. This is your time to fully cultivate those friendships you have. Even if you don’t know a person well, now is the time to deepen that friendship before you leave.
Many people will come and go out of our lives, but only a few will stay. But it’s up to you who those few are. Surround yourself with your closest friends, cherish them, and you will never lose them. Don’t focus on the depressing thoughts that after May you won’t see each other until who-knows-when. Because when who-knows-when gets here, you’ll look back and regret that you didn’t spend more time focusing on the present.
Remember to appreciate the small things: every conversation and adventure. Each is still a unique page in your college year’s story. Don’t skip ahead to see what’s coming next. Focus on the now. I promise you will not regret it.