Friday, May 27, 2011

That Overwhelming Feeling

You know that feeling? The overwhelming one you get right before you make a major change in your life? I can only imagine that feeling is universal, and though it may be fleeting, I think everyone experiences it from time to time. As I try to fall asleep tonight, I have that feeling. Not in a bad way, but in a big way.

In two days I will move from my family's home in Washington, Illinois to Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha isn’t such a scary place. It is a city I’ve grown to love in the last four years. I’m moving into a beautiful apartment, with new furniture, where I’ll be surrounded by old friends, as I anxiously await August 10th, the first day of medical school, where I will go to pursue my dreams of becoming a doctor.

Why the overwhelming feeling then?

Three weeks ago I was in Columbus, Ohio saying goodbye to dear friends I have made during my year as a Leadership Consultant for Kappa. While we all knew it was goodbye, I don’t think it had hit any of us yet. Who knew that a group of women who worked together, yet almost never saw each other could become close friends? We are eight independent women who traveled the country, learning and experiencing things that you can’t quite articulate to others. Many people try to understand, but there are only a few who have stood up in front of a room and said, “Hello! I am the Leadership Consultant visiting your chapter this week.” If you’ve said those words then you get it.

This past year I lived my life in week-long increments. Each Sunday afternoon I flew into a new city, where I was greeted by new Kappa sisters, who introduced me to a new chapter at a new university. Sometimes I loved my visits so much I never wanted to leave. Sometimes chapters frustrated me so much I wanted to hit them over the head with their Leadership Guides. Sometimes I stayed up late sharing stories and laughter. Sometimes I walked into situations so difficult; I admired the collegiate women who worked through them with strength and poise. But each Friday morning, no matter how much I loved or didn’t love a chapter, it was time to say goodbye. And so I packed up my things, into two suitcases and a laptop bag, and was off to the next place.

This past year was new and exciting and adventurous. Next year will be stable, but also challenging. If I was at a chapter that didn’t build sleep into their recruitment schedule, if I was at a chapter where the weather was unbearably cold, or if I was at a chapter that refused to listen to a word of advice I offered them; it was only five days. I could do anything for five days. Anyone can do anything for five days.

Next year is the start of the rest of my life. Medical school will blossom into residency, and residency will lead to the start of my career as a physician. There are no more week-long increments. No more walking away after five days. And I don’t want to walk away. But this is it. This is me growing up. This is the start of the rest of my life.

I’m excited, I’m ready, but I also have that overwhelming feeling.