I think a lot of times, we miss the sweetness in life because it goes by so fast. We get so caught up in everything going on and forget to stop and soak it in, only seeing the beauty after a season has passed (how lame is that?) I’ve been lucky enough to see how special my time at Samford has been all along, cherishing the time I have had in such an extraordinary community. I am not naive in thinking Samford is perfect, since no man-made things can be, but I know Samford to be a place with a warm and inviting culture of welcoming friends.
Samford, you don’t have to make yourself fit into any sort of mold. In a world that is framed by enneagram tests and Greek affiliations, I think it is so easy for people to confine themselves to stereotypes, utterly terrified of being something different. Trying to fit in and doing what “everybody else likes,” you are greatly limiting yourself in the joys of life. Quite frankly, I think a world where we all like the same things would be so boring. A place with no differentiation. With no varying opinions. If you like something, do it. Say yes until God says no. We also have to be so careful not to judge and put others in these same boxes. Who does that help? What does that accomplish? What does that make better? I think it is impossible not to love somebody when you know their whole story, so placing limits on an individual, you are limiting your love.
Next, I want us all to encourage more. No matter how confident a person may seem, everybody needs affirmation. Everybody knows the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I wish I could add, “If you have something nice to say, say it!” You never know when the last time a person had a kind word spoken to them or the next time they will be lifted up, either. People don’t always remember what you say to them, but they do remember how you make them feel, and I think a kind word can go much farther than we sometimes think. By encouraging others, we can allow the love of Jesus in our own lives to overflow into others’.
Finally, I think it is important to never place expectations on God. I’m so glad that God has never met my expectations because then he would never have the chance to exceed them. That is all he has ever done: exceed them. Don’t pretend to know better than the creator of the world, who loves us all unconditionally and deeper than we could ever fathom.
I think the heartbreak of leaving Samford is a testament to all of the amazing people I have gotten to know and adore these past four years. How exciting is it that a place so stranger to me four years ago has now become the source of so much laughter and joy? I love Samford University so much — not for the institution — but for the compassion I have received from my parents, professors, and friends that now feel more like family.