A Year After Graduation

May 6, 2012 I graduated from college. I wasn’t to thrilled about it. I didn’t want to attend the graduation ceremony, because I didn’t care. I borrowed my sisters cap and gown from two years before because, I didn’t care. Honestly, I hate impersonal ceremonies. Some would say I did a lot with my college career, but all of it is just fluff. I only attended because my family asked me to. I would have been content staying home or just going about my normal Sunday routine. I hate the pomp and circumstance of it all. I know for some people it is momentous because they are the first in their family to graduate from college, or it took them a long time to complete college. However, I just didn’t think much of college. I have a degree in Psychology (which means nothing, just ask all the psychology majors who didn’t get into PhD or PsyD or Counseling programs). Honestly, I don’t think it mattered because nothing in college really shaped me. Honestly, I feel like all of it (jobs, classes, people, friends) were experiences that are rapidly fading into the nether regions of my brain. Gosh, that was harsh.

We do the same thing in college that we do in high school. We climb social ladders that lead to nowhere. I did it as well. In college I associated myself with the Incept office as if I had nothing else to offer the world. I mean that is what I did for three years in college and the truth is none of that matters. I bought into this lie that if people know me that it is something special. It’s not. The more people who know you; the more people who don’t actually know you. I graduated and Incept and where I worked on campus and anything related to Georgia State (including my degree) did not mean squat. In the next few days people will get the harsh realization that everything that invested in means nothing outside the context of college. You know maybe if I had a more carefree personality I would feel differently, but I hate believing people do things without purpose. Look, I don’t regret going to college and look forward to attending seminary, but I don’t look back a year ago and wish I had mustered up more excitement for the graduation.Truth be told, the last “academic year” of my life has taught me more applicable skills that any on campus job or student organization.

I am a relational person. I love people. I will always love people. I am the person who goes into a job and wants to have deep friendships with my coworkers. I don’t like shallow. I like real problems and real people. Jobs will come and go, but people are a constant in the world. So would you rather use all your energy and resources in roles or in relationships?

I have had a new sort of education since last September. If there was a title to the courses, I would call it Relational Management 4000, because it is not easy. I spent 6 months of my time in Houston as a foster parent working for a nonprofit managing the relationship I have between myself and my kids and myself and my coworkers. Not easy, but in time it leveled. I loved learning with them. Everyone was so open to the experience that in time our constant was splendid. However, the second semester rolled around April 10th, and the classes got harder. Managing the relationship between me and my kids is pretty fantastic, but myself and coworkers is harder because I am readjusting to new people with different personalities, and I have two new classes: being in charge and managing relationships between myself and administration. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. God used the time in my old house to pull out some roots of pride in my life. I am forever grateful for my old house. In this new home, I am learning a lot as well. God is not withholding anything to teach me patience. Obviously, I am calling on Him more frequently.

A lot of my class time is working everyday with my kids. Since I have been here I have had 15 children in my care. Fifteen. College is not a reflection of who you are. You are not members of an organization or on executive boards or in a fraternity honestly there comes a day where none of that matters. My fifteen kids have been a mirror reflecting back who I am. With my kids it is not about the role I play, but about engaging with them as Tosin. I value this past academic year in Houston more than my four in college. I don’t regret the people I met or the work I did, but it was so embedded in the mantra of networking that you have to question the motivation of people’s interactions with you. With my fifteen it is not about networking or who I can use as a reference or any other self-seeking relationship. It is about them and about how I live out my life for them. It is about loving them for who they are. It is about loving them for surviving. It is about humility and grace. It is about abounding in love when you are so burnt out. It is about long days filled to the brim with tantrums and longer nights with newborns. It is about living not for yourself. College was all about me. This has nothing to do with me. I am merely a piece in this puzzle. I genuinely love what I do. I love my kids. It is not simply volunteering; I am parenting and this time has shaped me.

It is harder than psychological research methods. It is not clear and clean-cut. It is messy, and still I get to see beauty in my children. You have not lived and you have learned NOTHING until you live a life that is not about you.

God, I pray for all the people I know graduating. God just make your plans clear for them. Some people are disappointed about not getting into the program they want or not getting the job they want. God, I know first hand Your plans are better than my plans. I know nothing about life, but what You have mad e clear to me. Direct them as well. As, some people are made freshly aware that they are at the bottom all over again use this time of humility to teach them.

God thank you for my time at Georgia State. I am not ungrateful for that time. It served a purpose and brought me closer to You. However, I do not cling to it. It is not the best days. There are many more days to come. You have taught me more that I could learn in the past 8 months, and I look forward to all that I have left to learn. Make me quick to hear and slow to speak. Thank you for everything.

Amen.

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