Thursday, May 08, 2008

and tomorrow say goodbye

Today is my last full day working for Saint Joseph's College. It's been a strange couple of weeks. It just sort of feels like everything happened so quickly, from the time I had my first phone interview with Big Time University to the day I faced my biggest fear and gave verbal notice of my resignation to my boss.

It's hard not to feel like I'm just going on vacation for a few days. This last week in the office has been filled with the creation of address books, contact sheets, and instruction manuals for whoever fills my seat. A couple times, I've had to correct myself from thinking, "Oh, I can do that next week - no big deal." Next week I will not work here anymore. I'll have two less keys on my ring and one less parking pass dangling from my rearview mirror.

I keep having to remind myself that I'm only leaving a job - not the people I've met or places I've discovered along the way. I guess it's been particularly difficult for me because Saint Joe was never just my place of employment. It's also my alma mater, but it's even more than that. It's the place where I literally discovered myself - the place where I learned about who I was, wanted to be, and am. The place where I learned the rules and the steps necessary to become the kind of person I've always wanted to be.

It's always been the home to the memories I have of the incredible people I met who accepted me as a shy, clueless freshman and embraced me as a young woman with newfound hopes and dreams and goals. Staying on as an employee after ending my work as a student felt like an extension of those memories. Every day, I pass by the apartment where I lived with three of the most remarkable women God has ever created. I eat lunch in the tree-lined Grotto where I prayed, contemplated, and relaxed countless times over four years of personal and professional stress and heartache. I walk the sidewalks of a campus where I learned the means of becoming a respectable and intelligent person.

It's been easy to remember these things because I never left. In many ways, I still feel like a student. It's been difficult, over the last three years, to remind myself that I'm no longer a student. I wonder how long I'll be reminding myself that I'm no longer an employee.

Now I'm just an alumna. I'm a face in a crowd of 10,000 alumni, all returning to their alma mater for sporting events, reunions, and award ceremonies. And I'm looking forward to living my life as a full-time Saint Joe alum, where as I've had to put that status on hold as an employee. I'm excited to come back and enjoy Homecoming with my friends instead of running myself ragged staffing all the different events of the weekend. It'll be fun to come back and see a play or football game without having to worry about taking pictures for the PR photo archive. I can hardly wait to come back in the fall and see the leaves change instead of having to miss it because I work too many hours.

I guess it's the time of the season for these bittersweet emotions, though. I worked at my last SJC Commencement last weekend, and in seven years, I've never heard such lovely and heartfelt speeches. I left the Fieldhouse that day feeling inspired, grateful, and, above all, lucky. I spent the day feeling proud of the fact that I ever had something to do with the Saint Joe community. And while I was surrounded by a couple hundred tearful graduates hugging and celebrating, I was quietly saying goodbye to the sights and sounds that I've grown to consider my own over the years, taking one last, long drink of my campus and savoring the flavor.

I'm excited for a change - really, I am. I couldn't be happier that everything worked out with Big Time University, and I'm looking forward to finding other ways that I can serve my alma mater outside of employment.

It's just the transition that's taking a little out of me. The breaking of routines and the forming of new ones. The changes.

8 comments:

Alicia said...

Change is always hard.
I used to love it and as the years have gone by, I find every change more difficult than the last.

In this case though, I see your move as a necessary one; a sort of leaving the nest, a sort of moving away from mama's home, because after all, that's how alma maters feel like: home.
It's time to move on, though. The place where you grew your wisest, strongest and most beautiful will always be there.
I, for one, can't wait to hear about the new place, with all its renowned fanciness.
Best of luck to you, Becky!

KC said...

Change is scary - but good. You have outgrown your cage - so to speak and now it's time to grow!

Aunt Becky said...

Time for you to fllllyyyyyyy!

KiKi said...

So did "girlfriend" ever get over herself and wish you well?

Proud of you... keep on, keeping on.

Phil said...

So how was your first day at Big Place?

annie said...

So, so proud of you. The Joe is home -- but home will survive without you, and you'll see the beauty of all it is and all it was in a whole new way after stepping away. Congratulations, Bec.

Phil said...

You know....as a blogger with loyal followers, you aren't allowed to take more than a week off at a time.

KC said...

I'm with Phil - we miss you!