In the first graduation I attended, during my freshman year, I knew very few graduating seniors. Cheryl Storer, who I accompanied to Spring Formal, was there as the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award winner and recent Biochemistry graduate. It was an honor to be there as her guest and as I looked on toward the speakers, officials, faculty and students, it felt like an honor to be called a student at Campbell University.
I just came across this thought from last May and found it to have a lot of meaning for me now especially as I start into the difficulty, fun and challenge know as senior year. I hope that I can go through it as gracefully as the graduates did last year, and that I enjoy it just as much.Each year of my college career I have attended a graduation ceremony in Buies Creek. This year will be my third graduation. It marks the year before my own senior semesters at Campbell and it also brings with it the departure of many many close friends.
In my second graduation, I knew quite a few more seniors. I worked with some in the Haunted Trail run by Circle K that year. Some where TA’s or RA’s I knew, some were friends who I saw all over campus and some very close classmates who made my year extremely enjoyable. I even wrote a few of them notes to say thank you and passed those to them when we met, they in their black robes and me in my blue suit with a Junior Marshal shash. It was an honor to be there.
In my third graduation, this year, I will know many more seniors than in either of the past years. So many in fact, that it has become even more overwhelming to consider it. It will be a very happy occasion with great joy shared between hundreds of people and I look forward to that. However, it will also be a bittersweet occasion marked by hundreds of people splitting ways for a very long time. Students will begin jobs, transfer to other schools, matriculate into graduate programs and go home for the summer. Students will leave teachers and friends will leave friends. Likely not for forever, but for quite some time indeed.
This has taught me a lot in the past about appreciating what I have when I have it. It is easy to complain and forget about all the great things all around me, but luckily I have the reminder of those great things as they slip away every May, year after year. People, wonderful people, cannot stay here forever. They grow and move on, learn and share their knowledge, prepare for and then live their lives. As I prepare and grow, I have to move on too. My senior year is coming and I have a lot to do too. I am very grateful for all of the wonderful seniors who will be leaving this May, and I do not regret a single moment I have spent with any of them. I hope that they feel as special as they are and that they are excited about what opportunities lie ahead of them. I know I certainly am.