Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Last Two Years - Graduation, Reflections, and Looking to the Future

It seems only yesterday I was graduating from Cornell, embarking on my big great adventure into the unknown future, thinking "Oh God. What am I going to do now?"  Not much has really changed:  I still am looking into the future with the wide-eyed uncertainty of a new graduate, wondering what new hurdle and new city God will bring me to for opportunities only He can provide.

It's hard to believe that in two short years, so much has happened, and a Master's has been awarded to little 'ole me.  Although the degree has been conferred, this is under the assumption I will finish all my requirements, which is what the rest of my year will entail, but more on that later.  I did walk across some stage, have someone call my name, and wear a nice dress over which a polyester black (and heat-trapping) gown was worn, with a colorful hood and tasseled hat.  I had friends and family come to see this momentous occasion, became partially blinded by the flashing lights of the stated paparazzi, and smiled so much my cheeks were sore. 

And yet, it seemed a little bittersweet and a tad anti-climactic.  Everyone says that graduation is a happy moment, but I will agree with that, but I didn't really feel it.  Maybe it's because I'm not really done, and still have my practicums to complete.  Maybe it's because I never really felt that connected to anyone in my program.  Or maybe it's just because that's me.

Loma Linda and my time here has had an impact on my life, but it's hard to say what that impact was.  To be honest, I think a lot of it was not as a result of the coursework, or the professors I met, but more because of my student job at the Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness. I had an amazing time working there, and the people I had as co-workers and as collaborators were simply wonderful.  Truly, I have learned so much from my time there, and if God ever called me to be a manager or office administrator, I think I would be well prepared.  Tonight, we had a farewell dinner for those of us who graduated, and I can truly say that I'll miss the banter and repartee.

Grad school was easier than I expected it to be, and I am thankful that God had me go through Cornell and major in nutrition, because it made those classes all the more understandable.  Public health is an amalgamation of so many different disciplines, and it is so interesting to see how they all fit together to create this field meant to address so many of the issues plaguing not only our society, but the world at large.  The courses I took here hopefully have provided the foundation and backbone to successfully work in this arena.

Leaving Loma Linda, as much as I am looking forward to a change of location, still holds some people I hold dear to my heart.  I hate that it takes me so long to really get to know people, and for them to get to know me, because it is only in this last year, that I feel that I've developed the beginnings of some really potentially great friendships, only to have distance make them that much more difficult to maintain.  And knowing me and my track record with long-distance relationships, it is not an easy feat.  Nevertheless, I doubt that I will forget those people, regardless of the lack of communication.

However, as I look into what the immediate future holds for me, I cannot help but be excited for what God has in store for me: SOUTH AFRICA.  It is mind boggling that in two weeks, I will be on my way there to spend 10 weeks developing nutrition components to existing health programs.  How that translates into action and what that actually looks like is another question, and a little (okay maybe a large) part of me is scared of the very real possibility that my knowledge will fail me and I will fall flat on my face.  Of course, looming right in front of me are all the signs that God has let this happen and orchestrated this summer brilliantly, and I, being the ever faithless pessimist, struggle to see it and must focus on that.  Which brings us full circle to how I came to be at Loma Linda in the first place: God's sovereignty.  And by recognizing His will and His love for me, I can never go wrong, and by doing the same, you can't either. 

And that brings us to the here and now.  For the time being, this blog will serve to chronicle the (mis-)adventures of my time in South Africa, and whatever tidbits of cultural goodies and God-things may come my way.  So stay tuned!  Semi-regularly food blogging will resume in September when I move to Los Angeles.

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