Have I spent enough quality time with my parents?
Why haven’t I called him more? Why didn’t I just ask him how his day was going?
Why haven’t I asked to hear more stories from my grandparents?
How much time is left?
– Me, at 4 a.m. this morning.
This happens to me a lot. Especially when big changes are happening or I’m more stressed than usual. Amid the sadness, the nostalgia, the murmurings of all the “lasts,” my final two days as a student here at Carolina have been more eye-opening than they have anything else.
I think the emotions associated with all the lasts are actually just byproducts of an obsession we have with getting from point A to B. We hate leaving behind something good when the next step is more than uncertain. Some of us have the rest of our lives figured out. Others aren’t quite there and may not be for a while. We find ourselves resting our happiness within that job, that promotion, that degree. Or, perhaps, waiting to do so.
But what about the moments in between all of that?
This question was answered, or reaffirmed, in my last two days of being a college student.
John Robinson—he’s proof that professors do care about their students. He’s pushed me, encouraged and believed in me throughout the entirety of the semester with Media Hub, and I can confidently say I’m a better reporter because of his class. But we didn’t part ways with a talk about how to be a good reporter in the professional world.
You see, his send-off speech didn’t include a “I hope you get your dream job one day” spiel, while he did wish us the best of luck. In fact, he said we’d probably hate our first jobs. He didn’t wish us well in ticking off all those stereotypical milestones in chronological order for the rest of our lives–because, really, does that even happen to anyone?
What he left us with was something greater. Something greater than we all had anticipated at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday. This was the potential we all have to change the lives of others and be the light.
And it can be as simple as giving someone a lollipop.
JR showed us this video then handed out Tootsie Pops to each of us.
It’s not about what we do. It’s not about where we go. It’s about the people we impact along the way—it’s about those in-between moments we don’t even consider relevant half the time.
Little did I know what opening my eyes to these moments could really do.
I lost my keys after leaving Professor Robinson’s class. By 5 p.m., I couldn’t buy a drink at Target because I’d lost my debit card and all money to my name.
I knew I had lost my mind. I gave up and went to bed by 10 p.m. Still frazzled, I woke up, ate breakfast, worked on the paper I’d neglected the night before and caught a ride to class from my friend Kelsey. Halfway to our destination, I remembered why I’d had so much trouble sleeping (refer to the top of the blog).
I was caught up in thinking about all of the things I had been, and maybe am right now, missing. Maybe this was the result of JR’s parting words. Maybe it’s stress.
No. I started to realize it had to have been part of divine intervention when I received an email from “fred hall.”
Those in-between moments were beckoning me.
Dr. Hall could’ve kept walking. He could’ve seen my card on the ground and not gone through the trouble to search me on the internet, let alone write a personal email. He could’ve not extended an offer to accommodate my schedule. Such a simple act of kindness turned my day around immediately and made me feel lucky to be surrounded by such kindhearted people who are so willing to be leaders in this way–leaders in creating joy in others.
The divine intervention didn’t stop here, because the professor of the class to which this blogging project belongs, Gary Kayye, also left us with a poignant parting speech that had me in tears. He, too, cares more about sending empathetic people into the world than churning out brilliant millionaires.
Like Robinson, he didn’t part with advice on how to be “successful” by standard means in the professional world.
He left us with a reminder of what it means to simply be a good human being. The rest falls into place.
This is the video that had me in tears.
Whether you’re giving someone a lollipop, picking up a lost debit card and rummaging the internet to find its owner, or holding the door open for someone with a smile on your face–you have a purpose.
You’re already successful. You’re already there–just make sure you know it, too.