Saying Goodbye to Semester

By Sarah Whitaker (Kentucky)

There are a few major events in the average person’s life that are recognized as great, and which permanently impact him or her for better or worse.

While some are easier than others, these events are nonetheless viewed as accomplishments. Difficult or easy, almost every person in the world will accomplish one of them:

  • Graduating High School and/or College
  • Getting Married
  • Having a child
  • The Death of a Loved One
  • Starting a new Job
  • Retirement.

These are important because they are milestones, they show where you are in life and mark a supposed maturity. Unfortunate for the world and Summit Semester alumni, society doesn’t count graduating Summit Semester as one of these milestones. But those who have done so know it is such a milestone; it is one of the greatest marks of maturity you can have, should you properly take advantage of it.

So going home to us is a heartbreaking victory.

We look back and cheer “We made it! We did it!” and immediately following our hearts sink and we want to wish back every moment. We want to restart, love deeper, go wilder, and dream bigger. We have regrets but we are still proud of where we are, and with the help of staff and past alumni, we come to realize there is no going back, only forward, and forward is home.

We must step back into the same life but not as the same, now instead as transformed and refreshed disciples of Christ who have learned what it means to live out true friendship, what it is to love with a good love and to live a good life.

We have learned what it means to BE a human being. Now we are called to live it out.

Most of all we have learned to be selfless, to put Christ, the community, and the church before ourselves. I believe every day I will miss the serenity of the woods, the refreshed and satisfied feeling after work crews, and the daily, intentional, uplifting conversations.

But I will go home will a full heart, with friendships I couldn’t have ever imagined and perspectives that will benefit me through my entire life, and that, that pushes me forward when my heart longs to stay.

The experience of Summit Semester grants us hope which the world had sucked out of us.

Semester urges us to wonder constantly when the world says to be satisfied with a few answers. Most of all, this place gives us a voice in our mind that most people don’t ever hear, a voice which pushes us to have concise thought and to be well spoken, a voice I am not sure I’ll ever escape.

So we tip our hats to that voice in fear and appreciation, we tip our hats and say “thank you, thank you, Dr. Bauman.”