“How did it get late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon,” Dr. Seuss wrote. “December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
How did it get late so soon? How did the time go by so fast? I remember setting foot on campus in August 2012, wearing my LeBron James T-shirt. I remember walking through all the buildings, getting my picture taken for my student ID, connecting my laptop to Cedarville’s wireless network (which has worked more often than not) and meeting my Getting Started small group leaders. And I remember thinking that all of this was so big. I felt small. I was overwhelmed.
Now, three-and-a-half years later, the ending is just days away for me. I know some of you can’t wait to leave this place, to get out into the real world and get married and make money and have kids and send them to this school to repeat the cycle. But personally, I’m going to miss this place.
In my creative writing minor, I’ve written dozens of stories, both fiction and nonfiction, and if there’s one thing that my stories have in common, it’s that they don’t turn out how I thought they would. I begin a story with an idea of how it’s going to end, but very rarely does that idea stick around long. For example, I started a story about a young writer whose mother dies in the end. But as I traveled along the writing process, I realized that this would not fit with the theme or tone of the story, so I scrapped the original ending.
It’s the same with life. At the beginning of my college career, I thought I knew how my time at Cedarville would end – with me transferring to Ohio State after my sophomore year.
But something happened during my sophomore year. I took a couple journalism classes, felt that it was what I wanted to do, declared a major, made some good friends and was offered the position of sports editor here at Cedars. I decided transferring would not be the best idea, not when all these good things were happening here.
If you leave college the same as when you arrived, then you’ve missed something along the way. I stepped onto the campus of Cedarville University directionless. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t care for friendships. I didn’t know good journalism or good poetry. I couldn’t make a free throw. Biggest of all, I did not want to be here.
Now I know I want to be a journalist and a novelist. I’ve met people that I will be friends with for a long time. I know how to write good articles and good poems. I can shoot over 70 percent from the free throw line now. But most importantly, I don’t want to leave this place.
Endings are a part of life that most people don’t like. But there’s nothing we can do but accept them. We can’t deny them because they will come sooner or later.
I’m looking forward to heaven, where there is no ending. Things will just keep going and going and going. No more goodbyes. No more wondering where the time went. But I think it’s scary as well. My human mind is only capable of understanding a world where time exists, so I can’t fathom a land that operates outside of time. Sometimes when I’m trying to fall asleep, I try to wrap my head around the concept of eternity. I imagine living for a million years, then square that, multiply it by a billion, cube it. And however big the number ends up, it won’t even be a fraction of a fraction of eternity.
Whenever I do this, I feel tiny and insignificant. But then God reminds me that he is going to be around forever. Why should I fear eternity when I have him by my side? He is bigger than eternity. He is bigger than the future and all the unknowns that it holds. He is bigger than any problem that we will ever experience or hypothesize, and that’s a very comforting thought.
I’m graduating along with several hundred other students, but many of you are here for at least another year or two or five, so enjoy the time you have left. I’d like to leave you with three of the most important things I’ve learned during my time here.
1. You have to balance your academic life with a social life.
What’s the good of growing as a student if you’re not growing as a human being? Like I’ve said many times before, you are at college, first and foremost, to get an education, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying your time here. If you love doing homework in your room every night, that’s great. But if you’re not like that, make room in your schedule for the things you enjoy. That 4.0 Mug is nothing but a cup with a number. It’s not going to change your life.
2. Speaking of a social life, make friends.
Good friends who will help you grow, friends who you wouldn’t be embarrassed to introduce to your family. For some of you, this may be really easy, but for others, this idea might scare you. My freshman year, I fell into the second group. Either you’ll find friends, or friends will find you. I’ve been on both sides of this coin. It might take a while, but just be patient.
3. Finally, when you’re stressed, turn to God.
You’re going to have stressful moments; they’re just a part of the college experience. You will be swamped with homework or problematic relationships or personal issues, and it will be very easy to think that it’s out of your control, that you can’t do anything. This is true. Many of our problems are out of our control. But they aren’t out of God’s control.
When I stressed over a big exam I had to study for or a portfolio I had to put together, I would take a step back and look at the situation. I would see that my problem, which I thought was huge, paled in comparison to God.
1 Peter 5:6-7 has been my go-to verse in times like these: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
Dr. Seuss was right. The time has flown. My time here is almost done and now I must fly. To where, I don’t know, but God does. And that’s all I need.
It’s been real, it’s been fun, but it’s also been real fun. Have a good life, everyone.
Jonathan Gallardo is a senior journalism major and sports editor for Cedars. He has no idea what he’s doing, but he knows he’s doing it really, really well.