I don’t like change. In fact, I don’t even like it when minor changes disrupt my daily schedule. Like, ummm, no I can’t meet you for dinner tonight, I already have plans to pet my make-believe dog. I’m a routine type of gal and that’s the way I like it. Some people can fly by the seat of their pants and others keep a schedule down to the exact second they will brush their teeth. I’m the latter. 

There are some pros and cons to being “this way” aka having OCD out the wazoo. I’m the most organized person you’ll ever meet. (Ask me to find anything in my room and I’ll be able to tell you EXACTLY where it is.) I’ll never miss a deadline. (Procrastination just doesn’t exist in my world.) And, I KILL THE GAME in everything that I do. (Good luck trying to beat me.) But, it makes transitions feel as if I’m about to be shipped off to war. (In other words, pretty freakin’ terrible.)

So, when I graduated from JMU, I got thrown for a loop. Everything in my world came crashing down and I experienced the worst time of my life. I spent four years becoming a kick-ass human being all while having the time of my life spent with some pretty amazing peeps. (You know who you are.) Now, an entire year later, I’m doing alright. Finally employed, but nowhere near as happy as I was and still longing to feel that amazing connection that I had with JMU. Time has definitely helped. But, when I went back to JMU this weekend to see one of my closest friends take that final strut across the graduation stage, all of my feelings came rushing back. It’s a strange feeling, really. I miss JMU and I miss my friends, but mostly I miss the person I was at that time and at that place.

So, to the Class of 2016, YOU DID IT! Enjoy this next week with your people in your place and bask in the glory of everything that you’ve accomplished over the past 4 (maybe more) years. But, do me a favor and take a minute to let reality hit you. Let it hit you like a ton of bricks and look around thinking back on all of the memories that you shared with the people that became your family, the nights spent with perfect strangers, the drunken nights, the sober nights, the laughs, the tears, the hook-ups, the break-ups, the stressful all-nighters, and most importantly the smiles, because no matter how hard you try, that life with those people at that place has now come to an end. Look back, walk away and know that you did it big!

LIFEErika Hineman