We had some upheaval in the leadership I work for last night, and there was a comment made that really hit home for me: “I recognize there are seasons for everything and everyone, and this particular season just happens to be over” (I’m sort of paraphrasing here because it was a crazy meeting). This got me to thinking about the seasons of life I’ve been through.
I guess you could say my college years were a definite season (or two). I remember that first day I arrived on campus. My parent’s van was loaded with my foot locker, suitcase, a couple of small bags, and all of my siblings. My mom insisted on unpacking every little thing into my dorm room before she would leave. I remember walking to the parking lot behind the dorm and hugging my parents and then watching them drive away. It was surreal. I think I would have really been scared shitless had I not had my
boyfriend fiance with me. Although we didn’t make it to the altar, I am thankful he was there at that time. After my parents left, we walked to the campus auditorium, did the whole welcome to college presentation, and then I went to my dorm and he went to his. That first night sitting on my bed with my brand new sheets and blanket, I just remember thinking that my whole entire life was about to take off and I needed to make the most of it. I was anxious, scared, excited, and overjoyed to be there. I knew there were a lot of decisions I would make in a short period of time, and every one of them would determine my future. It was overwhelming to say the least.
My first year of college was everything I thought it would be and more. I danced, cheered, fought with my roommate, got involved in everything I could possibly do: band, wind ensemble, theater, criminal justice club, went to football games, fraternity parties, and participated in Rush week. I went to and enjoyed all of my classes and got good grades. I made a plan to graduate in 3 years and complete the Honors program (something that had never been done before at that college). I wanted to graduate early because my sister behind me would be in college during that 4th year, and I knew my parents couldn’t afford for me to go to school let alone have 2 of us in. Thus my quest began.
The summer after my 1st year, I went to Florida to be with my family. You see I was going to college in Missouri, and my family decided after I left home to move to Florida (nice huh?!). So after the last day of classes, I packed up my stuff, said good-bye for now to my fiance, and got on a plane. That was an awesome summer…until I blew out my knee (slight overstatement, but I messed it up really well) playing “touch” football in our backyard with my brother-from-another-mother-and-father. I remember it was 2 weeks until dance team tryouts and I was pissed. I spent those last 2 weeks laying on my parents’ couch and hobbling places. No more beach parties, sneaking into clubs, or being the cool college girl home on break for me.
When I went back to school, everything felt different. I don’t know if it was the time away, the injury that gave me a ton of time to think about things, or what. I just know about a month after I got back, I called off my engagement. He was crushed. He would come by my dorm and try to talk a lot at first. He even came over and just cried once. While I felt bad for him, I had no romantic feelings for him at all at that point. We had drifted into this friendly-not-romantic sort of relationship, and I craved more. I wanted to be swept off my feet. I wanted that heart in your throat, stomach doing backflips, what the heck do I wear for this date, will he finally say I love you and kiss me feeling. I didn’t have that with him…maybe in the beginning. I’m ashamed to say it, but I’m pretty sure I just used him to get out of my parents’ house. It was a bad situation at home, and he was like my golden ticket. The good news is he is now married with 2 (or 3) girls, and I hope he’s really happy.
After that, life was different. I partied a bit more, changed my major, got a job working in the campus library, and did not go home that summer. Oh and I met a guy. Ok 2 guys. Guy #1 ended up being my oldest’s dad and my 1st husband as a result. Guy #2 was a dreamy blond-haired theater major from another college. Yummy. I convinced my parents to let me stay on my college campus that summer and I worked in the library. Guy #1 and I were dating (and I was sort of seeing another guy off and on), and he was working in town at a dinner theater. I hung out there a lot and that’s where I met guy #2. Long summer short, I broke up with Guy #1 and starting getting serious quickly with guy #2 when I realized I was pregnant (after taking an antibiotic for 2 weeks that wiped out my birth control pill). I told guy #2 (who wanted to marry me and raise the baby as his…I wonder how that would have turned out), and we eventually through tears agreed we couldn’t be together. Plus his college was like 5 hours from mine, and the logistics were crazy, and we barely knew each other. ANYWAY…so I married guy #1.
That leads me to year #3. My getting pregnant ended one season and started a whole new one for me. My last year of college was not what I thought would ever happen to me. I did manage to pull off a perfect 4.o gpa for 2 semesters thus earning me a cum laude 3.5 graduating gpa (funny how your gpa changes when you can’t drink and party anymore). I married during Christmas break, and I had my son the day before Spring break started. After break, my professors let me bring my son with me to classes, and the ones I couldn’t bring him (band and my night class), I had a girlfriend of a great friend (ok we may or may not have fooled around once…don’t judge) watch him for me. I remember breast feeding him in the bathroom, and wishing I had one of those car seat/stroller combos because my campus was on a hill. Those last few months were nuts, but I made it.
Walking in that graduation ceremony was one of my greatest moments. My family was there (except for my sister who was a senior that year and couldn’t miss because of her finals), I had reached my goals, and I was very proud. It was a good day.
As I look back at that season of my life, I realize a few things. I grew up a LOT during that time. I had my wild fun, and I made some bad choices, but I would live those years over again in a heartbeat. It was during that season that I started to get a glimpse of who I wanted to be. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of seeds were planted then that would finally come to fruition oh about 5 years ago. Now as I prepare for another graduation, I know that same pride will be present, my family will be there (except that same sister…huh), and another season will be right around the corner. As much as a season ending is sad and probably always filled with at least a little regret, a new season always has so much hope and promise. At least this time around, I stand on solid ground with God, my spouse, and myself.