A Senior’s Reflection On Her Time At Liberty University
I said goodbye to my parents on the sidewalk between Commons One and University Boulevard when they dropped me off at college for the first time. I remember little things about that moment –the sounds of hall leadership cheering and packed cars going by as we prayed, and some of my dad’s final words to me: “Whatever you do, don’t bring home a Cowboys fan.”
I remember the abrupt realization that as an oldest child, this was probably a more poignant moment for my parents than it was for me.
I remember internally mapping a strategy that unbeknownst to me would prove useful over the next few years and through many painful good-byes, especially after my brother enlisted in the Marine Corps. The strategy goes as follows: I hug my family, silently wave goodbye so my voice doesn’t catch, and then immediately turn around and walk away.
Four years later I still employ that strategy whenever I leave home – but I have now realized that it doesn’t get easier.
In fact, I think good-byes are much harder when we have done them before – when we understand the gravity of them. And that’s why I have been absolutely dreading saying goodbye to my life as a student at Liberty University in one week.
In high school we were slightly deluded to think that graduation was a formality and things would stay the same moving forward, or at the very least we would still consistently see the same people. We knew that it was the end of an era, the last page of a long, action-packed chapter, but we didn’t know what that meant.
Over the past four years I have made amazing friends. I have gone through the hardest moments and made the toughest choices of my life. I have experienced deep joy and immense growing pains.
Those big things were great, and I wouldn’t change them for the world. But now I know that the small, less memorable moments are the ones I am going to want back.
Moments like getting my breath taken away daily by the contrast of the sunset against the Blue Ridge Mountains as I walk out of Green Hall. The many casual “Rot?” texts followed by lunches that last far longer than expected because of good conversation. Hearing thousands of my peers sing praises to our Creator in Williams Stadium on Wednesday nights.
I am cognizant of those moments now because I remember their parallels from high school. The time spent sitting in the hall working on group projects for class. The camaraderie that came from struggling together, whether it was with a tough practice or an AP class. Exhaustively laughing on bus rides back from meets.
I didn’t know I would miss those moments the most back then, and now I am more aware of them heading into this season of abrupt change.
Last Wednesday, the last Campus Community of the year, was riddled with those moments. I sat there and tried to take everything in. Hearing Pastor David say “If you’re taking notes, write this down” for the last time. Watching my peers come forward to accept Christ as the Vines Center erupted in cheers. The last song we sang was “Great I Am,” and we ended it with an acapella chorus. Singing those last words together and recognizing the gravity of the moment felt like a punch in the gut. I was struck with how unique Liberty is, and how blessed I am that some of my most special college experiences have been worshiping our Creator as thousands joined together in one strong voice.
But as hard as all of these lasts are, we have so much to look forward to as a graduating class. As Pastor David mentioned in this past week’s Senior Convocation, God will not stop being faithful or being God just because we leave Liberty.
He was faithful to us when we got on the bus on our first day of kindergarten. He was faithful when we transitioned from elementary to middle school. He was faithful during both the pivotal and mundane moments of high school, and He was certainly faithful when He led all of us to Liberty University. Because of this – and simply because of who He is – we can trust that he will be faithful as we take a large, blind step into the next chapter.
Kayleigh Hamer is the graduating A Section Copy Editor. Follow her on LinkedIn at @KayleighMorganHamer.