College is four years of transitions. There are constant shifts of lifestyle and schedule each year, and as soon as routine begins to settle, the semester ends and a whole new routine must be created. New classes, new residences, new leadership, new activities. Learning how to cope with the change in routine becomes the routine.
Then sometimes, the transitions are not as minute or routine but life-altering ones. Switching majors. Leaving leadership. Moving off campus or maybe moving back home. Changing jobs. Graduating. Marriage. Those changes we see approaching in the distance and yet creep closer and closer with every tick of the clock. Soon it comes upon us, and we must decide how to react.
There are those who thrive in transition. They see the next adventure on the horizon and race to claim it. Others hold back, moderately in denial that any change is happening at all. They hold onto what they have for as long as they have it, and clutch to the memories of it once it’s past.
Then there are those in the middle. They are excited about the change and possibility ahead. But they also experience a sadness in moving on, a bitter-sweetness in leaving the last season behind.
The majority land in this between place. Transitions can be hard and frequently unpleasant. This is particularly difficult when the transition is out of a good and enjoyable season.
My good friend Hannah Stratton once told me, “It is healthy to mourn a good season lost.” In a society where innovation and moving ahead are praised, admitting the sadness associated with moving on can be hard. But taking part in the mourning process is healthy. It allows the individual to fully process the previous season, reflect on the coming season, and fully experience the emotions associated with both. There is an honesty that comes in the grieving, helping you understand yourself and the situation in a greater capacity.
Transitions are hard and, fortunately or unfortunately, prevalent. Rather than rushing or resisting them, it is important and healthy to process that time of change. Take time to mourn. Take time to reflect. And then take time to rejoice moving forward.
Danielle Crowley is a staff writer for the Daily Runner.