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Oh, the grief school gave me.

I never romanticized my time at school. I never gave it flowers or love letters or quality time. It was always in-and-out; tough love through and through. Go in, get it done, and get out. Yet, I realized something this afternoon: School broke up with me before I could walk away.

School broke up with me before I could walk away. (Man, is that why it hurts so much?)

Sitting in the empty parking lot of a past season of life was definitely not on my to-do list when I woke up this morning. In fact, it didn't even cross my mind. I woke up from an 11-hour beauty sleep, went on a walk, and made a yummy breakfast accompanied with iced coffee. Nothing like an easy-going Friday morning, right? By 2 o'clock I was craving Chick-Fil-A, so I grabbed my wallet and my Target list, and hit the road. I made a last minute decision to take a right turn and go to a different location, which, eventually, brought me closer to school.

At 4:10, I drove myself to my old go-to parking spot. Silhouettes of past memories replayed before me. To the left is a tactile paving that I slipped on one rainy day. To the right is a tree that I climbed to have lunch with a blonde boy who had me convinced that flannel was the only thing in his closet. Straight ahead is where I broke down in sobbing tears the day before my grandfather died, but it's also the place where the cutest dark-eyed boy I have ever seen casually said, "Hey, we still need to hang out," as we walked to our cars.

I wept away the days I showed up in giant t-shirts and tennis shoes, as well as the days I conquered in dress pants and heels. The days I left feeling defeated, and the days full of hope and laughter and accomplishment. I reminisced the professors who inspired me to dream big and I forgave the ones that belittled me. I let go of the peers that spent to much time prying on my love life and held on to the ones that made me a better me.

I never took on the pride of school, and maybe that's because I'm one who likes to challenge stereotypes. But I walked away with a soft spot in my heart for what I experienced during my 4 years on campus. And as I try to find my closure, I think it's important to acknowledge what is honest and true. The way my student-life ended has not been easy to walk through. I unknowingly skipped my last day of college and I have yet to toss my cap up in the air to celebrate graduation. I hate admitting that I walked away disappointed in a place that I never really loved. But the grief I am processing through echoes stories of grace. For that, I am grateful.

To conclude this Dear John letter:

Thank you for giving me the worst, best college experience of my life. Thank you for strengthening my courage, stretching my potential, and slipping love letters in my locker, even when I didn't feel the same.

I'm breaking up with you too, now.

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Brent Stromwall
Brent Stromwall
18 ביולי 2020

I hate to see my girl sad and crying. Yet so proud of her. I am proud of you for: the work and struggles through which you persevered for four years, breaking up with school, your courage to recognize the loss and feel the sadness, and your boldness to share with & inspire the world! You Rock! 👊🏼👊🏼♥️♥️

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