Farewell Tribute and Senior Spotlight from The Pulse Leaders
As a senior that would have “graduated” last week, I look back fondly on my time as a Cougar, English major, and member of The Pulse. Many nights were long and I cried a lot of tears over Brent Cline’s classes, but when I look back on my four years, I don’t see those exhausting, sleepless nights. Instead, I remember the times like winning Arbor Games, eating pizza with my Alpha 1 floor at 1 a.m., seeing the elephant on the library roof while walking to class, the first Almost Chapel video, getting hit in the face by a hotdog at Porchfest and so much more. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that the next stage of life does not include Spring Arbor University (SAU) anymore, but what I’ve learned from this place, the professors and my friends will never leave my head nor my heart.
At first, I struggled to figure out why embracing new beginnings was so hard and realized that this time, it was because moving out meant moving on too. Moving on means change, and personally, that’s not something I do very well with. This year, it means a real, full-time job (which I still do not have), more expenses, a working schedule, less free time, and not seeing the people I have made such deep friendships with every day. But changes like these, whether big or small, aren’t always a bad thing. While I’ll miss being able to lead newspaper meetings and eat cinnamon pizza during Pulse production nights while laughing at nerdy English jokes, I’ve been prepared by the entire campus in some way to go on and make an impact in another place. Staying would mean not embracing this fully, and as hard and scary as it is to go, I cannot live life in my comfort zone.
While times may be uncertain and the future is unclear for now, I leave you with the reminder that we do not need to fear the what-ifs. If Jesus says “do not be afraid” 365 times in the Bible, we really don’t need to worry about the future when we are only able to see such a fraction of the overall perspective. I want to give my sincere thanks to every faculty member, fellow student I never knew personally, every Dining Commons worker, and especially every one of The Pulse leaders, whether I worked with you or not over the last four years. I have been shaped in some way by your influence and I leave changed because of you. Thank you, SAU.
I am not a graduating senior. I am a transferring sophomore, so do not think I’m trying to steal the attention of graduating seniors. I congratulate all who are graduating this year, and will be praying for your future jobs, further education or whatever else you plan to do. However, I would like to put a few thoughts out there to those facing transition decisions, as I have, while I still have this platform.
First, transferring is not a failure move. It does not mean you have made some wrong and costly mistake that will haunt you your whole life. Transferring means you have decided your college education will be better continued elsewhere. That is why I am transferring. The SAU community has nourished me and given me personal confidence in my ability to question God and the universe. Dr. Moore’s World Literature class has given me a passion for old books, like the Odyssey and the Aenied. I have even kept every book from that class to return to at some point in life. Chuck White’s J-term New Testament class (yes, I took that class) was challenging and exhausting, but taught me so much about the Bible, and gave me a new found love for the books of Acts and Roman. I could go on, but the point is, SAU transformed me into a more thoughtful person, teaching me ideas and practices that I will take with me to my next destination.
Second, we learn best from the people we disagree with. I came to SAU with the mindset that people would disagree with me on many political issues, and I was right. Instead of ignoring these people, I challenged them, and they challenged me. Through this, I developed a better understanding of other people’s opinions. Also, this practice doesn’t just have to be political, it can be about anything. If you are Protestant Lutheran, talk to a Roman Catholic. The point is to challenge each other and see why someone believes what they believe. This creates empathy and understanding. It will make debating less personal, and more issue driven, and you will be friends with those whom you couldn’t personally agree with about anything.
Last, don’t be afraid of change. Change can force us to rely on God because it is uncomfortable. If you are unsure of if God is calling you to change, pray, fast and read your Bible, but also question your motives and perceived outcome. Having a perceived outcome will give you steps, and lay out a map for you. My choice to transfer did not come without long nights of thought, but God was calling me to that choice.
The long nights working to edit and design the Pulse were stressful, but they confirmed that I was going in the right direction. Thank you to the Editor-in-Chief, Caralyn Geyer, for working long and hard to assure this magazine would be published timely. Thank you to Dr. Baker and Dr. Moore for helping me enjoy old books. Thank you to Dr. Dan Runyon for making my writing better (no matter how frustrating it got), and to Mark Edwards for your well-taught history courses that contributed to my understanding of thought and analysis.