I’m a Big Kid Now

by RebShang

The highly anticipated day of my 16-year-long academic career has come and gone. I have graduated college and have a diploma – that coveted piece of paper indicating to the rest of the world that I am an “educated” person and granting me [an easier] access to the big kid job world. Yet that is not in the least bit why I am proud to hang it on my wall. Rather, it is what it truly represents: four years, in which, I have become a different person, one with a spirit of delight for learning.

I entered college thinking that the next four years would be spent in pursuit of a degree. It would be the time when I would study the hardest in my life in a particular field to become a specialist. After all, one must be proficient in something that can help you earn a living, right? That’s why it was highly recommended for incoming students to pick a major, wasn’t it? Perhaps. Grove City is a liberal arts college, but is not purely so. Yet, in my naivety, I came into freshmen year believing that I ought only to focus on my business classes since the mandatory humanities core was inconsequential, the also mandatory “FitWell” and “baby science” classes were meant to be trudged through, and my Mandarin minor was merely a tool to equip me for international business networking.

Boy was I wrong.

In the past four years, I learned to read, write, speak, think, ask, look, and listen all over again. It’s not that I did not know how to do these things before or that I did not do them well (debatable, according to my siblings). Rather, my perspective now is changed. I’ve begun to better see the bigger picture of life, grapple with the facts and details and meanings, and understand my role in and response to it all. And this perspective is refined as my grasp of grace and the Gospel deepens.

Looking back, I am ashamed to think about how I wasted countless hours playing Bubble Spinner on my laptop in freshmen year’s Civ 101 and BibRev, thinking that I was a good enough listener to “multi-task”. I am saddened to think about those many moments spent worrying about grades, so clouding the people and opportunities and beauty around me. I am grieved to think about my time irresponsibly spent being thoughtless and unintentional.

Yet, I have no regret. It was all necessary in order for me to mature in my thinking and develop into a student. And though my days in school are [probably] forever done, I desire to remain a student until I die. My shortcomings are many and I struggle daily with laziness. But, by God’s grace, I have given up my childish ways. Each moment, I am becoming a better learner and lover of His beauty, truth, and goodness. I am becoming a better reader and a more thoughtful, joyful person, and am striving to continually be so.

No mere paper of a diploma can claim credit for that, so here are my thanks.

Thank you, professors. You know who you are.

Thank you, suite-mates and friends, for making it a beautiful (thus unforgettable) four years. Words are insufficient to express what you mean to me. I greatly look forward to the day we meet again.

Thank you, mommy and pops and Judy-tudy and two favorite brothers.

Look, I’m a big kid now.