As I mentioned in a previous post, I am leaving the wonderful job that I've had for the past seven years. In fact, today is my last day. My boss has always said that he hopes that anyone who works here looks back on the job as the best one they have ever had, and in many ways, I think it's going to be hard to top.
This job has been fabulous...I've been working for the BEST university in the entire world-a private Christian University in NWA [I drank the Koolaid, ya'll-even though I don't work there anymore, I'm pretty sure I'll never stop recruiting] and I think I could have stayed forever. But in July of 2013, I felt like the Lord told me that this would be my last year working in the admissions office.
My "job" was basically to serve people...help students and parents figure out the whole college thing....and I often found myself in the middle of helping them figure out very difficult parts of their lives, like adjusting to college life after the loss of a parent, or balancing school and taking care of a baby as a single parent. Or making difficult financial decisions.
I have seen the best in people, the worst of people, and found myself in some pretty ridiculous situations. I had a mom tell me with pride that her son had broken up with his girlfriend because she put his hand on her boob (he was sitting right next to her and this was the first time I had met either of them). I had a dad yell at me for a good half hour because his daughter's ACT score wasn't high enough for an academic scholarship. I had a mom make a quilt for me when she found out I was getting married. I was promised homemade salsa grown out of a family's garden [I later prayed that they would forget to deliver on their promise after they told me what they use in their compost pile. That prayer was answered]. I had a parent send me a plant after her son closed his application to attend another university. I had a man call to talk about going back to college and subsequently tell me that "I looked like a girl who wore my hair up during the day and let it down for her man at night." I had a student take off his shirt in the cathedral during a tour to show me his tattoo and his mom spent quite a long time touching his fleshy back explaining the meaning of each image to me (it reminded me of bread dough). I've had baked goods galore show up on my desk from parents after new-student move-in. I've read some of the most bizarre essays on the planet and seen some email addresses that were clearly not thought through before creation. So many things that I remember and even more that I've forgotten. I basically missed the opportunity to write a very entertaining book.
As cliche as it sounds, I can't even begin to describe the blessings that I have experienced working there. And the people that I've worked with really are like a second family. There is a lot of turnover admissions offices in general, but in a rare stroke of luck, I've worked with the same group of people for two years in a row. Of all the teams I worked with over the past seven years, this one was THE.BEST by far.
A month or so ago, we all got together for a going away dinner since several of us are leaving...one going off to Duke for grad school, one moving to Tennessee, on starting a teaching career, and me moving into children's ministry at our church [talk about the Lord using the least likely...but that's another story entirely]. There are several little traditions that we have when saying goodbye, like hanging our desk name plate and magnetic name tag from the ceiling (yes, it looks horrible) but this group of my favorites got creative on me. Since I lasted seven years (5 years past the normal "life-span" in admissions), they decided to do something a little more elaborate. As a farewell, they surprised me and all got tattoos.
I've always had a hard time closing the door on a good season and throwing myself completely into the next. And the past seven years has been a particularly amazing season. But, as impossible as it may seem in the transition, I have to remember that there has yet to be a new season that hasn't been better than the last.