Monday, December 8, 2014

Repost: Identity Graduation

Every other week my blog will feature a reposted work. I had been a contributor on two different sites that have since closed or no longer include blogs. I will be reposting pieces that had originally been featured on one of these two sites.  

This was originally posted April 30, 2011

Today was graduation.  I didn’t graduate, though.

I have now worked at Indiana Wesleyan University for four school years.  This was the fourth time that I have walked through the crowds of robes and cameras and given hugs and congratulations. However, this time was different.  I work in a hall for male first-year students so this was the graduation for students who came in when I did.  It was their senior year and mine as well. 

Time passed quickly and it doesn’t feel like they should be moving on.  I do essentially the same thing every year, they’ve been moving on to harder classes, different living areas, different majors, and spouses (for some of them).  Now I look around and I wonder what my IWU experience will be without them.  My entire understanding of IWU includes certain students, some working in the cafeteria, some at the coffee shop, and some hanging out with my wife and me (and losing in Settlers of Catan).  They have been part of this journey with me; it seems odd to continue without them.  I don’t know whether to think of it as the same journey without them, or as a different journey altogether. 

Students inevitably move on.  These particular students are not in the job description, yet I don’t know how it will look for me to do this job without them. These specific students they cannot essential to the IWU experience, but it feels like they are. What will IWU be without them?

This makes me think about how things are properly defined and, more specifically, how I define myself, my identity.  Who am I without certain people to bring certain characteristics out of me?  Who am I without this job?  Who am I without my wife and son?  Who am I without the books and movies that I like?
Who am I at my core?

Who are you at your core? 

What is it that would have to be stripped away for you to find out?

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