02 May 2011

that time of year - an open letter to SNU's class of 2011

My amazing wife (@mishelleyb) is speaking in senior chapel tomorrow. One of the great things about being married to a great public speaker is that she tries all of her stuff out on an audience of one (that's me) before anyone else gets to hear it. I get to hear the raw emotion she shares before she becomes the professional speaker as she steps on stage. All of that to say, SNU Seniors (Class of 2011), if you haven't attended chapel at all this semester, you don't want to miss Senior Class Chapel tomorrow. BTW, its in Cantrell Hall at 10:50am.

She's going to share some things that will run the gamut of emotions:

  1. Tears - this is a new beginning and we'll be saying some (at least short-term) goodbyes in the next few weeks.

  2. Tears - the pride that we as your class sponsors feel at seeing you walk into the world as some amazing adults.

  3. Laughter - sharing some fun times we have spent over the last 4 years together.

  4. Reassurance (is that even an emotion?) - even though some things are in doubt in your future, we are sure you are fully prepared to meet the challenges that lay ahead of you.

  5. And finally, Joy - you have come to the end of your undergraduate career (except for those couple of folks who are taking a victory lap, you know who you are).

Graduation will be bittersweet this year in a way that is exponentially more meaningful for me than in years past. I have been blessed (as I know Michelle has, too) to be allowed to be the class sponsors with you guys over these last four years. I have learned what it means to live a life committed to Christ through the example of many of your lives.

I remember thinking about whether we should become sponsors for this class back in the summer of 2007. I didn't really know what it meant to be a class sponsor, but I can't think of a group of people with whom I would rather learn than all of you. We've been told we are great class sponsors, but I would say we have been fortunate to have the right group of people with whom it is so easy to build a relationship. Rest assured, deciding to become your class sponsors was one the most-rewarding things I've ever decided to do.

We've spent some late nights in class council meetings trying to figure out what to do when the class president decided to leave SNU in the middle of the year. Finals Fling during freshman year, did we really even plan anything for that? I don't recall. I've slept since then.

We've spent some REALLY late nights working to put together a totally new event, "Who's the Man?" What a blast that has turned into!

We've had what amounts to a high school prom for a bunch of Juniors and Seniors in college at a high school! (no dancing, not even Linda G!) Making the promotional video for this event was more fun than I have had in a long time! I love getting to play the "mean teacher", it wasn't much of a stretch, I suppose.

And just 4 short weeks ago, we made a mad dash to Colorado where we rode an uncomfortable bus all night so we could sleep in even more uncomfortable beds so we could have more fun than Christians should be allowed to have doing things like rock climbing (for the first time ever!), rappelling, zip-lining (is that a verb?), and running all over town, only to end up at the oldest Pizza Parlor west of the Mississippi so we could laugh so hard I nearly peed myself.

What a great life I have been privileged to live so far with the students of SNU. I can't wait to see what the next opportunities bring. I have met some of the most amazing people: marketers, managers, musicians, artists, designers, lawyers (to-be), ministers, teachers, athletic trainers, mass communicators, researchers, and all around non-specialists (you know who you are). If those of you reading this have lost faith in higher education, rest assured, the class of 2011 has some people who are going to do great things. I'm blessed to have been a part of your life for 4 years. Here's to the next chapter, its just the beginning!

Hey, Redwine, there ARE going to be other opportunities aren't there?!?

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