By Todd Forrest
The title’s question is not one of insecurity, it is a legacy of blessing. As you are closing this chapter of your life as a college student, how you exit makes all the difference in how you will be remembered. What will your current friendships look like a year from now? Whom do you want to keep close in your life and how will you do it? Whom do you need to thank, affirm, and give honor before you make your exit? Most of this comes down to how you want to be remembered. For example, Joseph from Cyprus was a follower of Christ and is known for his intentional investment of encouragement. In fact, people did not call him Joseph, they called him (by how we know him), Barnabas which means son of encouragement. (Acts 4:36)
Pause to affirm adult influences in your life
Along this path over the last few years there have been adults that have made an impact on you. Have you let them know? Whether a professor, coach, counselor, R.A., or Life Group Leader, there are those that have helped to form you and shape you into the person you are becoming. Take a moment and make a list of whom you can give an intentional “thank you.” These means a lot even if it is simply a short email or sidewalk chat. Do not forget all those who clean our buildings and campus as well as those who serve you food! Many people have dedicated their lives and vocations to invest in your future. Be generous and specific with your gratitude to them during your closing days on campus.
Pause to affirm your friendships
You spend time daily with people that you may never see again after the tassel has moved to the other side of your graduation cap after you walk the big stage of graduation. Such a change does not make these relationships insignificant but may increase their value in your life. Throughout your life’s journey, numerous people will slip in and out of the chapters of your life, providing a profound and meaningful partnership in what you are presently facing. This does not minimize the experience or relationship. On the contrary, it just shows us how much the Lord loves us by connecting people to us for a short and meaningful investment during various seasons of life. Remember, we are providing the same investment in the lives of others too. As you prepare for departure, seal these relationships with a grateful heart and honestly explain what they have meant to you for yourself and to those who have walked beside you. Be vulnerable and find ways to depart GCU being a blessing to everyone you can.
Pause to realign future relationships
One of the most emotionally difficult times preparing for graduation is reorienting your life after college. The absence of the daily engagement with friends will be felt and missed. However, the blessing of modern technology is that you do not have to get too distant. Paths of life diverge in different directions, but the relationships forged at GCU amid late-night study groups, Havoc celebrations, and numerous other events can live on if you plan intentionally. For example, my college roommate and I moved to different states but planned a weeklong backpacking trip to reconnect. So, every year and met in different places and took time to hike, fish and catch up for about ten years after college. Just last year we went again just to catch up once again. It was 32 years after our time together in college but we are still close friends. Friendships can be just a phone call away.
Affirming and realigning your relationships must be a discipline in your last 100 days of GCU life. Your schedule only gets busier and if you do not make this a priority in this season, these affirmations will get lost in the shuffle of life and you may miss being a blessing to someone in a way that you never realized. Your intentional thanks and relational connection may be one of the most important things in the life of someone around you. Don’t miss out on the joy of gratefulness and don’t miss out on the joy of being an encouragement to others around you.