I joined the student newspaper when I was 18. For the last three and a half years, I’ve sacrificed opportunities, sleep, and a little bit of sanity to make the publication what it is today. Now, I’m graduating, and I’m faced with the most difficult challenge of all: letting it go.
As college students, we work hard. We pour ourselves so exclusively into clubs, teams, and programs without considering the inevitable ending. While we push hard to make our short time in college mean something, we also accept the hard transition away from the things we have dedicated ourselves to so fully.
Along with my talented teammates, I worked hard to resurrect an almost-dead program. Within two years, I found my responsibility increased from that of a staff writer to that of Editor-in-Chief. I put immeasurable time and energy into creating a publication I was pleased with, and now I have to pass it on.
To keep myself sane, I keep asking myself, did I enjoy it? Was it worth it? Am I content? When I answer yes to these questions, I know that I can leave in peace.
If I had fun, I should not regret the work I put in. I made the most of my experience–and though I am confident in my future team–even if the newspaper spontaneously combusts with my departure, I know that I did all that I could.
If I gained professional skills and improved my college education, it was worth it, whether or not things drastically change once I’m gone.
If this is a publication I left in the best place I possibly could, then asking myself the “what ifs” only wastes energy.
Whether you are a graduating senior or it is simply time for you to move on from something you’ve dedicated time to, this may be the hardest part. As seasons come to pass, we must accept the work we did because it can’t be changed.
I have been learning to be confident in what I have done since I’ve been here. I’m also realizing that letting go means I can’t take responsibility for what happens once I leave. We all commit ourselves to things, and we must understand our own limitations with how much we can give.
What happens after I’m gone is not within my control, and that should be freeing not debilitating. It is not a reflection of me, and there is no point in tearing myself up over it. During seven of my eight semesters at Vanguard, most of my time has gone into the paper. And all I can do is prepare a smooth transition by preparing the future leaders.
There is something beautiful about knowing what I did is complete. It can be sad and nostalgic at times, but my time has come to pass. Beyond this point, I can look back in fondness, but I can’t keep a grip on the past because the whole point of college is to prepare me for my future.
This is also a reminder to put in the work right now at your ministries, programs, clubs, or teams so you will not regret anything when your time is done. We won’t be able to return to the moments we have now.
So whether you’re leaving your responsibilities or are in the midst of them, acknowledge where you are at right now. Put in the effort you will be satisfied with in the future, or be reassured with the energy you have dedicated in the past.
Because we only get as much time as we got. Sometimes we know exactly how many semesters that will be, other opportunities will be less clear. But when seasons of life come to an end, learn to let go knowing you did the best you could when you could.