Seasons of Change

A few years ago, I was attending an orientation for my summer mission trip to Orlando. Around me during the session on Culture shock were students who were going to China, Africa, Asia, far more exotic places than Orlando, Florida. I almost tuned out during the whole session, because really, what’s so shocking about the culture in Orlando? They have air conditioning and toilets just like we do. I am so glad I listened though because I received the best piece of advice that day:
“It’s not bad, just different.”

There’s a point in the culture shock process where the butterflies and romanticism of the new environment has faded, and in its place comes frustration and anger at everything that is strange. This could range from irritation at a person who speaks different, disgust in new type of food, or just anger at the weather. The guy speaking at orientation told us to say to ourselves during those moments, : “It’s not bad, just different.” I used that phrase a few times in Orlando, and even more in my semester abroad in London. I used it again today, and I plan on using it many more times the next few  weeks.

Over the last four years, I have not spent more than 3 months in one place. I was in school, home, school, home, orlando, school, home, school, London, school, home. Graduation, home. That’s a lot of culture, a lot of adjusting. Through it all, I was a student and I did adjust overall to this season of my life, a season of college. And for the last 12 years or so, i’ve been a student, inn the season of learning, writing, reading, researching, growing, being around my peers, being mentored, and mentoring, volunteering, serving, studying,, procrastinating. Well, I graduated college yesterday. My season as a student is over. That chapter is closed. As I think about this next part of my life, I know it will be nothing like college. College is unique, and amazing experience, Post-college life is different, its not bad, just different. I can’t live my whole life in on-campus apartments (that’s illegal…and expensive), I get to learn how to live alone, start a career that the last 12 years has been preparing me for, I get to learn all the adult things that adults do (although, I’ll feel very much like a child in adult clothing the entire time.)

I’m going to miss college so much. I already do. I miss the people, the professors, the environment. I don’t miss the homework. There will be times when this post-college season sucks, and is irritating and frustrating. However, I plan to remind myself that this part of my life is not bad, it’s just different. And that’s okay.

I’m thankful for this new season, the new faces, the new challenges and opportunities that will come

(And also I don’t have to write any more 15 page papers…so that’s a plus.)

–A recent college graduate,


the last day

We’ve all experienced the “last day,” whether it be a last day at a job, last day of school, last day in the neighborhood you grew up in. I experienced a pretty big ‘last day’ recently. I arrived in Texas on Friday after 3 months of studying abroad in London, England. (I’ll blog about it later.) I knew that I had 3 months and 3 days in London. Near the end of the experience, people began to countdown. 2 weeks left, 11 days, 3 days, 24 hours. When Thursday came, the last full day in London, all of us were so excited to make the most of our last day! We spent days planning, we asked each other what we wanted to do. I went to sleep that Wednesday imagining what the next day held: sunshine, roses, cotton candy machines, everyone skipping joyfully and smiling. In reality, that Thursday was just like the other 80 some odd days in London. The only difference was the knowledge that this was our last day in this city.

This applies to any situation where we know its our “last time.” My last day of high school was the same as the previous four years, writing my last college paper felt just like writing all the other papers I wrote. The last time I rode the tube in London, felt just like all the other times. We expect so much out of our ‘last’ moments that we forget its just another day. I had to readjust my mindset about half way through the day in London, I had to lower my expectations: the last day wasn’t going to solve all my problems  (i got 99 problems and leaving London was one),  the last day was not going to provide ultimate satisfaction (only Christ can do that), and certainly Chris pine was not going to fall out of the sky and propose to me (psst Chris pine! I’m in texas now!!) It was just another 24 hours in London.

I think i’m beating this point to a pulp. Moving on.

So, fellow sentimental beings,  what do we do with our ‘last day?” (Again, i’m not speaking of death here, just the end of careers/experiences/etc.) Exchange that feeling of expectation, that “me, me me” attitude, and turn it into action: be intentional. So this is your last day! what are YOU going to do with it? Don’t wait around for the day to serve you, go serve during the day. Be intentional, be proactive.  Make every moment count. stop counting the moments. I think I got that from a t-shirt or an e-harmony commercial,  or something.  Next time, don’t wait until the end to make it count! Start early, be intentional when you have several weeks left. Shoot, be intentional from the beginning! Because when I really think about it, we don’t really know how much time we have in the grand scheme of things.

So, friend, go make today count.