Opinion: Advice to Calvin graduates

File Photo
File Photo

As students of Calvin College, we all know the word “community.” The concept of community is far from new to us, we all know that: We Are Calvin.

But leaving the Calvin “bubble” has led me to many questions like: “Where is my home now?” I can’t find my old home in Baltimore, Maryland. Things have changed too much.  Yet I can’t return to my home in Grand Rapids. I’m no longer a college student.  So where do I belong?  Where is the community I once had and still long for?

Many of us find a home while at Calvin. We find friends and security in a growing community that strives towards excellence and love. Then, we all graduate from Calvin after 4 or 5 or 6 years and we find ourselves in another world. A place somewhere in between our college experience and the next step.

So what do we do in this “limbo” stage?  How do we deal with the painful transition of leaving loved ones miles away and finding our old home so much different than we thought possible?

My answer?  We go back to our roots.

As recent graduates, some of you will find yourselves feeling quite alone during your transition. Many friends have left or you have left Grand Rapids yourself. You will miss the comfort of being a Calvin College student. Despite this, I have some very, very good news for you.

We aren’t ever as totally and hopelessly alone as we may feel.

Christ is right there with you and me. He’s been there all along. He started you out on a journey to attend Calvin College some few years ago, and for you, graduates, he just completed it.

There may be fear as life changes, but Jesus promised us a comforter, the Holy Spirit. God, a person who loves community, a being three in one, is going to continue our stories.

The best advice I can give you as a recent graduate myself is that as new chapters of your life unfold, don’t allow fear to cripple you. Don’t allow fear to paralyze you like I allowed it to paralyze me.  I know the real fear of entering the “real world,” but, honestly, the anxiety was not worth it. Anxiety is never worth it.

So to combat against paralyzing fear: you must remember where your roots are. Because where the roots are, life spreads to the rest of your branches. Your roots soak up the nutrients that gives you strength to bear the harsh cold, winters, the storms, and to one day bloom.

We are Calvin. Many of those friendships will last years to come. We hopefully won’t forget everything that brought us together at Calvin, but even if we do, we can’t even forget who needs to be the center of our lives.

So graduates of Calvin College, welcome to the family of alum. You’re ready for this new chapter.  And the places where you aren’t ready, hand it over to God, he has you. Keep yourself rooted in him. For in him, community starts and thrives. His love will give you all the grace-filled nutrients you need.

This article is an opinion piece and does not reflect the view of Chimes, Calvin College, or the Christian Reformed Church

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