When this posts, I should have my diploma in hand. For a conservative Mennonite kid whose culture is hesitant about higher education, it is a bit of a dream-come-true moment. Yet as an older student, I find the emotional-social aspect different than what many of my academic colleagues are experience. Yes, I’ll miss university life but there’s some elements I won’t miss. Let me compile a list of what I will not miss and what I will miss from university life.
What I won’t miss:
Language – college students can possess a rough vocabulary. Whether the use of salty language makes them feel larger, more in control than what they are, I don’t know. Maybe to impress their friends or to appear “in”? It’s possible. Regardless, language is formative and shapes our personalities and our futures. For that reason alone, language should be used with care.
Students not fully engaging in classes or appreciating the effort that goes into teaching. Hand-in-hand with this is disrespect, which is shown in many different ways.
This next one is hard to quantify. What I won’t miss is not feeling truly at home socially, culturally and even in faith practice with others here on campus. That alone can be rough. Yet, when I spend time with others from my home community, I feel a level of estrangement as well. I’m not pointing fingers (I know community members read this blog); I’m stating what is reality for me. Granted, part of that is my fault. Over the past 7 years, I have lived all over God’s globe. In those 7 years, the amount of time I have lived in my home community is probably 8-10 months. So yeah, I’ll take the brunt of feeling estranged.
The constant travels to and from school. The thirty minutes between Bluffton, Ohio and Elida, Ohio gets old. Quickly.
The boring terrain of western Ohio.
What I will miss:
People. I have met so many wonderful folks who I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Professors and administration members who have encouraged me through my studies. Customers of my fry pies and granola bars. Students who have a vision for their life (this is rare; I’m privileged to know a few of these). Others who have become friends from various interactions around campus. People with whom meals, coffee, and conversation has been shared. I’ll miss all of them.
The opportunity for rigorous study. Yes, this can happen beyond school yet it will take much more focused intensity to learn about a subject (and I have a deep distrust for Google).
Singing daily in choir. Ah, this one brings tears. I thoroughly enjoyed both University Chorale and Camerata Singers. And Dr. Suderman has become a special friend.
The culture and community of western Ohio towns. Yes, I dislike the terrain but I do enjoy the people and culture.
Looking forward to:
Dare I say it? Simply being at home and not having obligations academically. Yes, I see people snickering. Sure, life will get busy but it will only be as busy as I let it. Give me a cup of tea and a campfire with family or friends, I’m ready for it. I want normal life to happen. Yeah, including the 40 hour workweeks. Gotta pay bills, right?
Being normal, as much as normal can be normal without being a setting on a dryer.
Experimenting with food and production methods. Along with this, starting my own business.
Catching up on my book reading list. I have books on my bookshelf to read and a “to read” list that is quite lengthy.
Pursuing personal goals (see last post).
Chapters end, doors close and others open, and time moves on. My Bluffton experience has ended. And I’m grateful. Grateful, that along each step of the way, people were there to encourage me. Grateful, that God was present through it all. Grateful, for opportunities. Grateful, simply to be alive.