This week marks the end of an extraordinary journey for many CPCC students who are eagerly prepping for graduation and looking forward to the next chapter in their lives – whether it’s taking a much needed break, transferring to a four-year university, or beginning their professional careers. While this is an exciting time, it can also be a bitter sweet experience for some. It’s not always easy to say goodbye, to let go of a life you’ve grown accustomed to for the past few years, and to venture off into unknown territory. But, it can’t compare to the thrilling experience of starting something new (especially if it’s been your dream), gaining more self-knowledge, and expanding your circle of friends.
I wanted to share the following story that I wrote after I graduated from college and reflected on my experience, which included not only great accomplishments but also disappointment and heartache. As I sat contemplating my future, I made the conscious choice to set aside my fears (and everyone else’s expectations of me) and chase after the dreams I held onto for so long. I have never looked back.
Borrow (Nautical): to sail close to the shore
I have been like a ship borrowing – fearful of exploring the open and unpredictable sea. I take comfort in the security of being anchored within a close distance of land. Any movement I make consists of creeping along the shore, ensuring that I do not get lost at sea. The avoidance of risk has provided me with a feeling of discontent as I look at my ship’s log to find no entries worth writing home about.
Occasionally, I examine the structure of my hull. The sides are consumed with barnacles and my anchor is beginning to rust after years of stagnation. Somehow responsibility has crept in, along with unforeseen struggles, which has kept my dreams harbored. I have broken my promise to take back the time that I had borrowed. But as I look to the horizon, I know that there is no better time than now. If I remain in my current position, the powerful waves will force my ship to collide with the headland. I will capsize.
I can feel the trade winds calling me to sea. I have acquired the perfect crew and am ready to set sail, but my compass is unsure of where to lead me. The currents are getting stronger and it is crucial that I leave now; there will never be another opportunity. I know I will encounter storms and unexpected perils; there will be wear and tear on my ship. But, I am willing to take the risk because it is a far better outcome than remaining stationary.
I have pulled up my anchor and am slowly making headway, letting the currents choose my course. I dare not look back to shore for fear that it may entice me back to the familiar. Although I am hesitant to put all my faith in the open sea, I am confident that it will lead me in the direction I am destined to travel. As time has passed on my journey, I no longer feel adrift. I am becoming more seaworthy. The more ports I visit, the more treasures I have worth writing home about.
The message of this story still resonates with me today, especially as I begin a new adventure in Wilmington, NC and prepare to say goodbye to students, colleagues, and dear friends. I don’t know how the next chapter will turn out, but I am grateful for the many blessings that the CPCC community has gifted me over the past five years – in knowledge, skills, friendships, and unconditional love.
For those of you reading this, I want you to know that although you may have some trepidation about the future, it’s important that you continue to chase after your dreams, get out of your comfort zone, seek opportunity and adventure, take (healthy) risks, and never forget that you are worthy of greatness!
CPCC – Thank you for being such an amazing, unforgettable treasure. I will miss you!