During my final week of college, I was asked to write an article for Jewell's newspaper, the Hilltop Monitor. Of course, I wanted to write a snazzy blog post about this momentous life change but instead have decided to be lazy and plagiarize myself. The reality of leaving Jewell forever and opening a new chapter has not sunk in even a little. When it does, I will attempt to collect my thoughts, but until then:
In eight days I will walk around the Quad for the last time. The bagpipes will play, the professors will nod their heads in approval, and I am not too proud to admit that I will get sad and nostalgic and possibly even weepy. Plus, if Dr. Sallee is giving the commencement speech, how can I keep those tears from flowing? The answer: I cannot.
As I begin my transition out of this little haven of mine, I find myself simultaneously thrilled and terrified - thrilled that I will not have to write any more papers or take any more tests, terrified that I will not know what to do without those papers and tests. In the real world, there will be no Kettle Corn Day and no CUA Formal. I won’t get to walk Dr. Reynolds’ puppy twice a week or skip class to eat lunch with a friend or practice yoga outside with Airam.
The past four years have taught me that, yes, Jewell can be annoying and frustrating, but it can also be a home. It can be a source of wisdom and encouragement. It can be a foundation and a launching pad for future endeavors. If you utilize its resources, build relationships with the professors, faculty and darling cafeteria ladies, and seize the abundance of opportunities that our tiny liberal arts college has to offer, it can become your sanctuary for a time.
Through my experiences at Jewell, I have discovered how to be an activist, a thinker, a questioner and a dreamer. I have grown and transformed into a full-fledged adult through unique and challenging experiences over the past four years thanks to the opportunities that Jewell has provided and the risks I have welcomed.
Jewell has taken me to four continents. I studied Liberation Theology in Central America. I drank coffee with guerrilla fighters in Guatemala. In El Salvador I drove an old beat up truck down a remote highway in the dark with a blind nun instructing me on how to drive a stick shift. In Venezuela, I may (or may not) have lied to immigration in order to get back to my study abroad program in Nicaragua. In Amsterdam, I painfully translated the stories of women who had been forced into sexual slavery. And I revisited the little African village in the mountains of Ghana that forever changed my life and shattered my worldview forever.
Through these travels, I have gained a deeper sense of who I am and who I want to be in the future. I have learned to embrace the uncomfortable and relish in the outlandish experiences that life so readily presents. And ultimately, I have gained a sense of belonging to an adventure greater than myself.
Where to now? Well, in the fall, I will embark on a new chapter of my life - one that will take me far away from my beloved Jewell but much closer to my dreams and passions. I will hop a plane to Ecuador with a lovely curly haired boy. We will live on the beach, eat our weight in avocados, correct an abundance of grammatical errors, hike to Machu Picchu, and maybe even raise some chickens. I will be ever so removed from my little sanctuary here on the Hill, but it is time. I am ready.