We were the “Crouching Tigers”: a ragtag group of approximately 50 enthusiastic freshmen who just wanted to have fun and enjoy our community with each other. We had an extensive texting network which was used to communicate group event details and exchange ideas and musings. Through moments of laughter and somber moments of reflection, we formed bonds that would stand the test of time and sustain lasting relationships. We, as freshman, achieved the dream of never needing to be alone, and we rarely were. And then, like the sun at the end of a cloudless day, we slowly began to disappear. For some of us, it meant moving on to another university or dropping out of school entirely. Others went through the traditional, four-year college experience, graduated, and moved away to some exciting job or graduate school opportunity. It was odd to say goodbye so many times, the kind of odd that leaves you sentimental for the past while simultaneously unsure about the future.
It’s odd seeing all of your friends exit the experience with which you are currently engaging in order to move toward something better. It’s odd to attend the graduation you were supposed to walk in but couldn’t because you lost a year doing student missionary work. It’s odd to spend the summer working as a barista to make ends meet while realizing that you could have secured a full-time, field-related job had you graduated earlier. It’s odd watching the university change around you, from the Gazebo’s termination of those deliciously greasy mozzarella sticks to the delightful announcement of Andrea Luxton becoming the first female President of Andrews University. Through it all, that initial sunlight grew softly darker as every beam raced toward a new reality, leaving me in the shade of evening.
Now, it is time for sunset. I will be graduating this August, finally completing the ethereal task that I set out to accomplish so many years ago. I would be remiss to leave you with the impression that I am unhappy, for I am very happy. I have formed new friendships and kept in touch with old friends. Most importantly, I met my wife Mavis, the woman of my dreams, both for her beauty and intelligence. I look toward the future with great anticipation and hope. Still, I will always look fondly upon the tranquil sea of moments past and wish to bathe in its deep blues.