Falling leaves, changing wardrobes and a growing crispness in the air.
It’s easy to tell when autumn finally arrives in Oxford. But this year, the changing season feels different. This year, it feels permanent.
My last trip through the Butterfield Farms corn maze.
My last Oxford Halloween.
My last stressful class scheduling endeavor.
My last fall in the town I’ve called home for more than three years.
As the last remnants of summer fade away, I’m left with a pit forming deep in my stomach. A knowing feeling that the memories I make this year will soon be just that. Memories. And as we round out midterm season, the ticking of a clock counting down toward graduation next May only gets louder.
I feel a sense of urgency with every passing moment. Like if I don’t make each one mean something, they will amount to nothing.
But when I’m overwhelmed with this urgent need to make memories out of each moment, I try to force myself to pause. To take stock of all I have been able to do thus far.
I remember the countless hours I spent in Hepburn Hall’s basement common room freshman year, meeting new friends and solidifying years long friendships.
I remember the late morning breakfast dates with friends, discussing our collective foggy memory of the prior night spent Uptown.
I remember the nights I spent working various MAP events, laughing and dancing more than I actually worked.
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But above all else, I remember The Miami Student. The family I’ve made here. The skills I’ve learned within the lime green walls of this newsroom that will (fingers crossed) propel me into a meaningful career.
And these memories help ground me. They bring me back into the present moment and make the inevitable pain of next May more bearable.
Because there is inherent pain in endings. One that comes with knowing that an experience has served its purpose in your life. That you’ve grown, so much so that your current settings begin to feel cramped.
But there is beauty in endings, too. A beauty in knowing that a place and its people have impacted you so greatly that leaving will be harder than you had imagined.
A beauty in the new beginnings that lie just ahead, beckoning you into the unknown.
And after all, isn’t that what life is all about? The journey from where you came from to where you’re going.
Even though these fast approaching endings feel permanent, there’s really an impermanence to them. New beginnings are predicated on endings. The next great thing can’t arrive until the current one fades.
So as I breathe in the crisp, autumn air, watching the leaves float down from their trees, I want to honor the endings, the new beginnings and every beautiful moment in between.