It's What I Call "That Time of Year"

I'd like to believe that there isn't a correlation between school shootings and approaching graduation dates. It's that time in the school year when jubilantly expectant friends and relatives may have to be told that graduation celebrations will have to wait a semester or two; perhaps even indefinitely. It's that time of year when all the efforts of hard work and studying add up to nothing more than a job at a fast-food restaurant and ever growing student-loan debt.

For those of you who might be in this place of your academic endeavor, take a long, deep breath and pause. Go on, take another one, and pause again. Now, hear me loudly and hear me clearly as I offer this assurance. No matter how perfect a picture elder family members or seemingly flawless friends have painted, it's all a grand illusion. There have been times in their past when they have had to acknowledge the indefinite postponement, or unexpected delay of an event. There have been times in their life when they have not completed a task in the time they or others had expected for them to.

Are you standing in the mirror today, wondering how to tell friends and relatives that your college existence has been a bit of a uhmm, four-year party? Are calendars marked with big colorful balloons highlighting the upcoming graduation parties others have planned for you, even though you know there will be no graduation, thus no need for parties of this kind? Take my lead.

First, put on your adult hat, and say, without explanation, there will be no party. There will be no graduation. Send an email or text, or make a phone call, whichever is easiest for you, only to those who are hosting celebrations. That’s it. Let the "shock" wear off for them, as well as yourself. This reality may take days or weeks to sink in, depending on their level of being open to processing your words. Only allow brief responses from those who know the value of responding with compassion and acceptance, requiring no details. Depending on how high strung the individuals in your life are, have peace that they may not call for years. Be prepared to be okay with that. Also, be prepared to accept that whichever direction you choose to take beyond this season of your life will be your own.

I've lived long enough to know to expect the unexpected. In disclosure, I'd like to share with you that repeating a course in the final semester has happened to me. I was a candidate for cum laude honors; and after repeating the course went on to receive the accolade. Countless others, some I know personally, have had this same experience. Some marched grandly across the stage, and had the celebrations, never telling a soul that they were shy a few hours of graduating. They accepted the graduation gifts and went on with their lives, doing quite well I might add. Others, as me, have quietly repeated the final three hours, and without fanfare moved on with the more important things in life.

The key phrase here is "moved on with their lives". Never let anything as temporary and unguaranteed for success, determine your future successes. While we'd like to journey through this life never feeling the pit of despair that disappointment can bring, that's simply not reality. I assure you, despite how you may be feeling right now, there are worse things that can happen to you than not graduating in a timeframe set by others. At most universities, the hours you've accumulated are good for a decade or so. Who knows, this delay may be God's way of tweaking the plan that takes you in a whole other direction.

No matter your age, you're young. You have tomorrow to pick up the project of the degree completion. You may find life is just fine without the piece of paper that will hang in a glass frame, rarely looked at by you or others. For me, my writings always have a bottom line. In this case, it's that you have a choice to accept this as the minor hiccup in life that it is, and continue onward to fulfill the Divine purposes for which you were born, or do something so heinous and drastic that life as you know it, will never achieve the picture you painted for yourself.

If those involved in your life can't accept and love you with your imperfections and disappointments then you're probably better off realizing that what they're requiring of you keeps them from having to examine the big plank in their own eye. Choose to take a deep breath. Enjoy a big hot pot of chamomile tea. Wait a few days or weeks before deciding when, or even if you will continue with the program, or pursue a path that requires you to think outside the box.

Don't do anything you can't reverse. You can't reverse killing someone, no matter how much you wish you could. You can't reverse snuffing out your own life, and risk the reincarnation belief, leaving you to cycle back in to repeat this same life process again.
Forgive me for appearing to make light of something as disappointing to learn that your plans have been altered or put on hold; but it's called the inevitability of human existence. Everyone who's honest has walked in your shoes on some level, having to accept a last minute roadblock or detour towards a goal. It's really not as deep as it appears on the surface. Simply put, life happens; and most often not in the exact order we thought or planned it would.

In conclusion, don't let your emotions take you to a place you wouldn't want to go tomorrow (i.e. prison, grave). Suck up this less-than-joyful moment. Take life's blow as an adult. While you may be on the ropes, you're not down, and you're not out, if you take this glitch in stride. There is a tomorrow. It's up to you if you will choose to take the journey in the light of hope, or the darkness of despair.

Be blessed above all things. Seek help if you're feeling desperate. And remember you are not the first, and far from the last person who has to renege on a plan, college related or otherwise.