By Christina Capecchi
I know how you’re feeling: light headed and faint hearted.
You’re trying to process the culmination of four long years that flew by, trying to smile pretty and keep it straight – left hand takes diploma, right hand shakes, tassel flips from right to left.
You’ve managed to master biochemistry and the sociology of the cafeteria, Professor Martin and two inexorable roommates, and yet, these simple instructions have you feeling criss-crossed.
The hard part ought to be behind you, but you suspect the greatest challenge awaits: how to properly punctuate your college career.
You’re treading in the deep end of emotion, torn between a weep and a cheer. Each goodbye you extend feels sorely inadequate.
I couldn’t imagine life beyond college. I hated to leave the close quarters and the strong, sustaining circle of friendship I’d been living in. I was sure I would never again experience anything like it.
And I was right.
But I can assure you that the end of one good thing makes room for the beginning of another. You’ll come to love your post-college life, with its new blessings and different rewards.
It, too, is deeply satisfying – perhaps more so, because you become a contributing member of society, not just a college student. You make your mark on a broader canvas.
So here is my summons to you: Instead of dreading this change, embrace it. Invite and absorb the grace of a new beginning.
“When the heart is ready for a fresh beginning,” wrote the late Irish poet John O’Donohue, “unforeseen things can emerge. And in a sense, this is exactly what a beginning does. It is an opening for surprises.”
Heart-stopping, soul-stirring, life-giving surprises.
They won’t arrive immediately, though. You must be patient.
As you wait for your future to unfold, take heart in this month’s Scripture readings. “Beloved,” St. John writes, “we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.”
It will be, he promises. “We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
That is what we do know, and it is enough for today: Every change that brings an uncomfortable waiting period will result in clearer vision to see and mimic God.
St. John offers additional solace later in the month. “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”
What a stunning promise, to leap from childhood to adulthood, from being unready to unlocking “all truth.”
As you prepare to graduate, remember St. Rita, whose feast day is this month. She is the patron of impossible causes, which your job search may feel like.
St. Rita faced a terrifying crossroads when her husband and sons died. The convent she yearned to enter refused her application. But she prayed fervently and its doors swung open.
Prayerful patience will open doors for you too.
Look beyond the obvious as you assess your current state: yes, you have a paper degree and deep debt to show for the last four years, but you’ve also developed a broader mind and a bigger heart, which the world desperately needs.
Keep your head up as you walk across that stage. You have so much to look forward to!