what a cruise taught me about college graduation

 In Culture, Personal Growth, Relationship with God

I’m officially a college graduate. I’m still getting used to the reality of that statement! May 5, 2013 was an exciting day as one chapter in my story came to a close and a new chapter began. To celebrate, my sister and I set sail on the Norwegian Sky for the Bahamas.

On the last night of the cruise, I sat on Deck 12, journaling some thoughts about graduation, next steps, and this crazy, exciting new season I was stepping into. One big idea stuck out to me: graduating from college is a lot like stepping onto a ship and sailing into new, untouched territory. It’s parking your car, and stepping away from a way of traveling that was extremely familiar…and completely defined by guidelines and mile markers.  Take a peek into my journal to see what I mean…

A thin layer of salty sand cloaks my sun-kissed skin, the ocean’s parting gift at the end of my Bahamian vacation. When I lick my lips, my tongue is greeted by this sugar of the sea, lingering warm and natural—as if it should always be there. I’m lounging poolside, the final rays of sunshine penetrating my skin, whispering, “just a little bit more.” 

The ocean seems endless, ongoing, and unpredictable. From my vantage point, it doesn’t seem like there’s a path to follow…there are no highway signs, no double yellow lines dictating which side of the road you travel on. The ocean, in stark contrast to a road, is open and free, an empty, inviting slate. Yet, in what seems like a giant bowl of bright, blue kool-aid that we could get lost in, we always ended up where we needed to be, settling in a port, ready for the day’s sunny excursion. At the end of the day, the control room of the ship, hidden and unseen by the average eye, is what guided the Norwegian Sky to each port of call. Without our Captain, we wouldn’t have reached our destinations safely.

I know there are many technicalities to this, but this is all I see: the vast horizon and endless possibilities. I can’t help but think of this new chapter, or season, of my life as something like this. I’m sailing in the midst of bright, huge territory, where the opportunities and possibilities seem massive and endless. Exciting and terrifying all at the same time. In the end, the core foundation to this season is trusting God to guide me and learning to follow His markings. It’s tasting every flavor, savoring every moment, and drinking deep the rich friendships surrounding me. It’s gazing at the horizon with all the hope and intensity I can muster—and loving every minute of the journey.

Welcome to the journey of uncharted territory. When I walked across that stage in the O’Connell Center, I ditched the road map and signs along the highway. This is a season to embrace a God who’s bigger than what I can see, and trust that He knows what’s best.
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  • MelissaLynne2001
    Reply

    Congratulations on graduating!!! Best Wishes to you and for whatever you choose to do. Great blog too. You’re a very writer.

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