I remember someone told me one time that your junior year is the best year, because you know the most amount of people. You know the people in the class ahead of you, and below you. I definitely agree with them. I remember walking around senior year and wondering where I was because the majority of the people I didn’t recognize. But it’s even stranger being in a familiar place; familiar buildings, sitting in familiar seats, checking the same CPO box, but yet not seeing any familiar faces. Being a fifth year senior is a strange phenomenon.
I’m watching and hearing my class and all the extraordinary things they are doing. I’m hearing how new relationships are starting, people are getting married, getting full time jobs, moving on in their life. They are finally in the real world, living their own life without people from Wheaton anymore. And here I am. Sitting on the same seat, in the same cubby hole in the basement of Buswell library that I have sat in for the past 4 years at Wheaton, studying. It seems as though the world has left me behind, and they are kicking the dirt up behind them.
It’s as if I’ve been forgotten, life doesn’t move on for me because I’m stuck in this hole that feels endless. People outside of this hole, like my friends who have graduated, don’t understand what I’m going through. The people who are running up to the hole (the class I hopefully will be graduating with) don’t understand where I’m at either. I’m virtually alone in my predicament. And it hurts. In particular, one of my friendships has been terribly hurtful. This person will never know how much they have hurt me, but they have moved on in their life and it doesn’t seem like my pain matters anymore. Watching this person move on has been particularly hard because of their involvement in my life during college. It’s made me realize that college is fake. The friendships I’ve made here aren’t as real as I think they are. I’ve lost a huge steadfast relationship in my life; a person who I thought I could count on, who I thought would always be concerned for me. That loss has brought me to my knees. It’s ripped my heart out and torn it to pieces, but it’s taught me that I can’t trust people. I can only trust God.
Yes, being a fifth year senior stinks, I honestly wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s awful watching your class move on and being forgotten. But in so many ways, through the sheer pain, I’ve been more blessed this year with limited friends than I have my entire 4 years at Wheaton. I am here, at Wheaton, sitting in the same seat; in the same cubby hole for a reason. God has put me here and he’s teaching me so much. I’m bored of my monotonous routine, but it takes up the majority of my day. I have no time to think about how everyone is moving on in their life and I’m stuck here alone. That’s a huge blessing. I’m weary in every possible way, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and academically, but I’m still here. I’m being sustained by the God of the universe and I can feel it now more than ever. The loneliness I feel is deeper than the loneliness I felt the first time I was living by myself. It’s deeper because there are still people here, when I lived on my own for the first time, I was actually physically alone. But the loneliness I feel now is deeper because there is a huge crowd of 2,399 people around me. I shouldn’t feel alone but I do. But, this deep loneliness has shoved, pushed, and dragged me back to Christ. In my emotional loneliness, I am constantly in God’s presence and therefore not alone in any way.
Although walking around campus and seeing unfamiliar faces makes me feel alone, the gathering of those unfamiliar faces has taught me something greater. In chapel, sitting in a seat next to two people whose names I can’t even remember is a reminder of how great, and vast the Body of Christ is. I feel like I belong when I sit in Chapel. When I leave Wheaton, I know I will miss chapel, and being surrounded by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The gathering of 2,400 Christians that are my age, I may never experience that again on this side of heaven.
Relationships have been severely damaged in the process of change and me being left behind. I’m still looking for the blessing in my broken relationships. I can say one thing, it has led me to Christ. The brokenness of my relationship with my best friend hasn’t led me to someone else, or to find that comfort and familiarity that I miss so dearly in other relationships with people. It has led me straight to Christ. I have cried endless hours praying to God to heal me and to heal her, but it will be in His time. I trust him fully, through the pain, frustration, and betrayal I feel. God is still good, and he will always be good despite the brokenness of my relationships.
I have to admit, I’ve had more fun this year so far than I have my entire 4 years at Wheaton as well. Ok, maybe that’s a lie. Freshman year was incredibly fun. But… I got a membership to the Morton Arboretum, I’ve found a group of people that are just plain hilarious, and I’ve been able to spend time with people who I value. I’ve been able to talk to people on the phone that I would’ve never wanted to do if my friends were here. I’ve been blessed by people here, and I’m thankful.
Being a fifth year senior, I’ve felt abandoned, forgotten, and incredibly alone. I’ve been left behind, but I’m here for a purpose; a greater purpose than I know now. Despite the pain and frustration, I’ve been learning more about myself, about God and what he has planned for me. I’m growing to become more and more like Christ, and it’s painful and hard, but so incredibly good.