I am sitting behind this keyboard with too many emotions. Most I am yet unclear how to effectively type them down in the wording they deserve (The delete button is my good friend tonight.)
In February, I was given news that was unbelievable and unbearable. My alma mater was suffering from financial hardship and therefore has to close. While there are deeper roots of politics and anger, this is the cold truth of it. The news hit me like a cold winter's wind. I felt stunned. I felt numb.
This was the place that I felt I had found myself.
In high school I had many issues with bullies and coped with this by blending into my surroundings. I actually took pride in my invisibility skills until I realized how much I gave up of myself.
I felt like I finally shed my invisibility cloak during my time at SJC. I learned it was ok to be my kooky self, even better than ok in most cases. While the evil shadows of self doubt do find their way around me from time to time, I am out of that darkness. I don't need a cloak to protect me anymore. SJC had saved me in many ways and now it was dying. There was nothing I could do and the pain cut me deep.
My initial numb period about this news lasted awhile, with bursts of anger evenly spread throughout that time. It was wasn't until this weekend that I realized something. I was mourning something that I shouldn't mourn for. What I was so sad about isn't dying at all and really never will.
Let me explain.
This weekend was the Little 500 at Saint Joe. This is a go-kart race that the college holds every year. It is a giant celebration and alumni are always invited. Normally you would expect a splatter of alums here or there but this year everyone knew they had to come and celebrate with their Puma family. On this day, I played snapball with my friends, talked with professors that always believed in me, showed off my campus to my two small children, and erased the negativity I had linked to it's name since the news.
The closing cannot take away the friends I made. Yes they are not in one location anymore, but I know they are there for me.
The closing cannot take away the pride I have in myself for what I achieved in those four years.
The closing cannot take away the knowledge I gained there (book smarts and street smarts.)
The closing cannot take away the professors that shaped my life more than I think they realize.
I was mourning the college, yet I have gained everything I need, everything it could give me. Am I sad that others cannot have the same experience I did?... Absolutely! But I am a big believer in "Everything happens for a reason." They will find their experiences, their SJC.
I can only hope that through my actions, my words, my lessons, I can take those pieces of Saint Joe with me and therefore carry on a legacy stronger than a closing sign. I am the teacher I am due to SJC. It will never leave me and never close down. It will then pass on to the students I teach on a daily basis. Whether it's a snapball brain break, improv games in drama club, or the simple stories I tell, the legacy will live on.