We are Not in Kansas Anymore

After hearing my phone quietly buzz next to my ear, I jumped out of bed and sprinted into the living room. I would finally be able to check off one of the most important items on my bucket list: a venture to Canada. Because my family knew how much I wanted to go see my cousin, they surprised me with a trip to Canada for my high school graduation.

I hurriedly hopped into my car and waited for my parents to follow. When my family and I arrived at the airport, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was ecstatic and zoomed through the lines at security. After 6 hours in the airplane, I sluggishly walked through the airport waiting for our luggage to arrive. Although I was exhausted, I heard an announcement over the intercom that immediately piqued my interest. A pleasant, calming voice welcomed all travelers to the Canadian airport. At that moment, I realized that I had finally arrived. I had finally achieved a goal that I had patiently waited for so long. My energy was revived, and I quickly walked throughout the airport with a grin across my entire face.

When I walked outside, the clean, crisp, Canadian air hit my face. I slowly took a breath and swiveled my head around to take in the scenery. I was not used to the view that encompassed me. The golden and pink sunset drew attention to the jagged mountains in the distance. The aroma of baby’s breath flowers filled the air. This was it. I had made it. I was not in Kansas anymore.

My family and I hopped into the rental car and took off to the hotel. On the way, I glanced to my left and saw a beautiful lake that quenched my fatigue. My mouth dropped in amazement at the beauty that surrounded me. After a good night’s rest, my family journeyed to my cousin’s house where I got to see her two children, who had grown tremendously since I had seen them last. I went out to eat with my family and took my little cousins to a park nearby. After a few hours of running around, I went back to the hotel where I anticipated the final day.

The last day was probably the most exciting for me because I participated in the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. In the morning, my mother and I rented a paddle-boat and journeyed out onto the lake. While I was paddling, I became completely aware of a creative God who spoke all of this beauty into existence with a breath. With the help of the wind, my mother and I landed on the shore again and walked to the room to prepare for the town parade in which my cousin was participating. Afterwards, my family journeyed to her house where her husband fired up the grill and prepared a mouth-watering feast. The family sat on their balcony talking until the sun slowly faded. Then, over the still waters of the lake, I saw a glimmer of light shoot into the air, followed by a burst of beautiful colors. What a lovely night! I was filled with awe as well as sadness. The trip I had anticipated throughout my life was finished; however, the memories are ever present. When life gets stressful, I simply think back to the crisp air, jagged mountains, and calm lake. In those moments, the chaos ceases, and I feel at peace.

Written by Trisha



Letter to the Graduating Senior

Dear Graduating Senior,

I’m writing you today to share some wisdom, but by “wisdom,” I really mean “thoughts” because, let’s face it, I, too, have yet to graduate and have no room to offer any sound advice for how to handle what’s to come. But, here I am anyways, so just hear me out.

I’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years of my life looking forward to graduation day. While I am still eager to float gracefully across the stage as Pomp and Circumstance loops for the fortieth time, I’m only now beginning to question just how ready I actually am. Am I ready to fly the coop, get a big girl job, and start making a life for myself? Yes, absolutely, one hundred percent. I’ve done my time, and I’m excited to start my journey, but am I ready? Can I function as a human being, on my own, without the comfort of knowing that I can come home to a secure campus with real people who face the same struggles as me? I mean, I don’t even know if “fly the coop” is a real expression, so I’ll leave that for you to decide.

All jokes aside, when I truly and honestly evaluate my preparedness to enter into the “real world,” I do feel as though I’ve been adequately equipped. The Lord has blessed me with an invaluable education, and, while four years seemed incredibly excessive and overwhelming as freshman, I’m beginning to realize now that I can never learn enough. Senioritis is real and distracting, and I’ve definitely missed out on learning some things by being impatient and trying to rush through these last two semesters. It’s hard to absorb new knowledge and information while being engrossed in fantasizing about the future and preparing to begin the next chapter of life; so, here is where the advice comes in:

Enjoy the time you have left.

Appreciate today and the opportunity you’ve had to attend a university, let alone make it successfully to the end of your senior year. When you’re old and decrepit, and you’re telling your grandchildren about your college experience, is your graduation day going to be the only experience worth telling them about? No, probably not. You’ll want to share about the people you met, the places you traveled to, and the memories that have lasted a life time. Enjoy a few more weeks of making those memories, and finish your studies out strong. After all, you haven’t received your diploma yet…

Take some time to reflect.

Believe it or not, a lot has changed in your life since the beginning of your freshman year, and now is the time to reflect on how much you’ve grown. Look through some pictures from the past few years and thank God for the people He’s put on your path. Thank Him for the good times and for the hard times, too, and thank Him for the lessons you’ve learned through the challenges He’s thrown your way. Consider taking your reflection a step forward and start a journal, detailing your time spent on campus. It’ll come in handy down the road.

Always seek learning opportunities.

There is a never ending amount of knowledge in the world, so make it a goal to learn often. Find things that interest you and pursue them. If you’re like me, you’ll apply to Grad school because, while you can’t wait to start your career, you realize that there is so much more you want to know before leaving. You can never find out all that there is to discover, but I believe that, by learning about the world around us, we learn more about the One who crafted it, and there is something really special in that.

Philippians 2:13 states, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Isn’t that amazing? No matter what we might be feeling or what the Lord calls us to do post-graduation, He is working for His good pleasure. While His plans for our lives don’t always align with what we desire for ourselves, we can rest in comfort and know that there must be something better in store that we can use to give Him glory. I mean, if what He’s doing within us is being done for His pleasure, can’t we assume that we, too, can find it pleasing as well?

According to the greatest philosopher to ever live, Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you chose.” This is true, and you’ll probably be hearing a lot of this soon because, hello, what graduation card doesn’t refer to Oh the Places You’ll Go these days? But while you have the power to decide where you want to go and what you want to do, I urge you to consult the Lord before making those decisions. Consider how you can use the brains in your head and the feet in your shoes to honor Him with the talents you use. I promise you won’t be let down.

Happy Graduation!

Written by Haley

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Thank You

Graduation. One day, it’s four years away, and the next, it hits you like a brick wall to the face. For me, the closer I crept toward graduation, the further away it felt. It was elusive, that coveted cap and gown. It was the end goal. But as my days at DBU come to a close, I realize that a degree is only half of it. The diploma, the tassel, the walk across the stage. All those things can never compare to the four years I spent making late-night food runs with friends, pulling all-nighters to study for exams, getting to know my wonderful professors, joining a sorority to be a part of a sisterhood, breathlessly trekking up the massive hills on campus to get to class, watching friends figure out their exciting futures right alongside me, and working at the Writing Center with my extraordinary coworkers to help students become better writers.

All college students experience many of these wonderful things, but I’m fairly certain not many can claim “best job ever” on their W-4 forms (wait, you can’t do that?). My two years, three months, and one day at the Writing Center have been unimaginably exceptional. Working at the Writing Center has not been merely a job. It has been a privilege and an incredible experience.

It’s hard not to look back on my years at DBU with wistful nostalgia. Just a mere four years has managed to transform me from the naive young girl I was in high school into the (slightly) more confident woman I am today. Four years has managed to change my perspective about many things, and four years has allowed me to forge unbreakable friendships and make unforgettable experiences.

They say you don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. I can now say that’s true. As my days left at DBU dwindle, I realize how truly good I had it. I had friendships, experiences, and responsibilities, and I wouldn’t trade any of them, good or bad.

I’m going to miss walking up the monstrous hills to the LC (well, only a little bit). I’m going to miss seeing familiar faces as we all enter the chapel at 10am. I’m going to miss the bustle of midweek when the line to Chick-fil-a is out the door. I’m going to miss seeing the smiles of my Writing Center family as I walk in to start my shift. I’ve built up my life here at DBU, and it’s going to be hard to leave that life. But DBU—and the Writing Center—is a foundation to bigger things. DBU is a part of who I’ve become, a part of who I will be, and it’s time to take that new foundation into the future. It’s time to take what I’ve learned from my classes, my sorority, my friends, my organizations, and the Writing Center and take it into a future, albeit uncertain, beyond DBU Hill. Even in the midst of nostalgia and wistful reminiscences, I look forward to the things that are yet to come. So thank you, DBU. And thank you, Writing Center.

Written by Jenna, Graduate of Dallas Baptist University, May 2016

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Graduation to Now

Graduation. Everybody at university practically lives for that word. It can mean so many different things from freedom, to wealth, to personal growth. So many of our hopes and dreams get poured into such a concept; we work and toil, stressing over exams, papers, and grades. College students might as well be paying for graduation with their blood and sweat. It could be called the culmination of our dreams. It could also just be the day one shifts from training to application. Either way, graduation is a sign of change- a change where the things one has learned can be taken to the rest of the world to produce something for the rest of society. It could also be a change where the poor college student finally doesn’t have to rely upon the financial aid of others and is able to stand on his own. But most importantly, it is a day to consider the past, present, and future: what you’ve overcome, what you’re currently going through, and what follows.

This is probably why I’ve never enjoyed my graduations. From high school to community college, not much changed for me; it was just another shift to a higher form of education. I didn’t even go to the grand event. I celebrated by staying home with a bowl of ice cream. My graduation from community college with an Associate’s Degree was the same; I took a small break, and now I’m back to school at Dallas Baptist University. Despite these graduations, the shift was never quite the same scale as that from college to career.

The truth of the matter is that every college student is going through a time of monumental change. After all, it’s when they start living in a new place with new people and a new set of rules. No matter how much preparation one goes through before the change, the new culture and environment forces growth. But the big thing about this shift is that even if newly-arrived college freshmen aren’t adults yet, they’re (hopefully) heading towards adulthood. There’s room for growth; not everyone is expected to be perfect as soon as they take those first few steps into college. University includes learning how the world works, how the work life operates, how the bills come in, how the food needs to be made, how the rent needs to be paid, so that when graduation comes… you’re ready. So while I might not be close to graduation, I know I can focus on related things. I can prepare, here and now, in the present.

Graduation might be what you’re aiming for, but don’t forget about what comes after. College doesn’t have to only be about what classes you’ve completed and what grades you’ve made; it can also be about learning to live life as an adult so that when graduation comes, you’re ready. Of course, defining what it is to be an adult is a subject big enough for a separate blog post (or five), and since I haven’t actually graduated from university yet, I probably don’t have many words of wisdom about this possible future. But don’t forget, while college graduation is a huge milestone, it’s important to aim for what’s after as well. Don’t just dream about graduation itself; dream beyond it! What career would you like? What hobbies? What else do you want to do afterwards?

You might be about to graduate. You might have to work towards it a while longer like I do. Either way, it’s worthwhile to consider all the implications of graduation: what things were like before, things to learn now, and things yet to come. Who knows, maybe soon you’ll get to stand on that stage, diploma in hand, and take another step closer to your dreams. Maybe this consideration will provide some clarity needed to achieve that.

Written by Isaac

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