The PRCC program at NYU is typically two years, but it took me three. This was something I was moderately ashamed of for quite some time. Why did it take me so long? I would think. Am I not smart enough? Capable enough? Ambitious enough? Of course not. The answer to all those questions is no. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). And finally, the race is not to the swift (Ecclesiastes 9:11). I now know that while it may have taken others two years (or even less time) to finish the same program, that's not my story. I can't worry about the race others are running or the pace they're going. In fact, this isn't a race at all. My opponent does not exist because the judge is God. I may not know why, but I'm certain I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now.
And that's in the greatest city on earth! New York City has shown me much love. Over the past three years, I've made great friends and broadened my horizons; I've been challenged academically, professionally, personally and ethically; and I've had moments where I could swear I was infinite.
Graduating means the end of one era but also the beginning of another. Everyone keeps asking me "What's next?" Well...I'm discovering and living out my purpose. And I'm trusting God to write my story. Fortunately, that story does include a full-time job now--and my parents couldn't be more thrilled. Exactly one month before my graduation, I began my first big-girl job at Ketchum, a PR agency I dreamed of working at since my undergraduate years. My boss is great and the work I do is meaningful. But know that none of this defines me.
You see, I thought graduating and landing a great job would give me a sense of completion and fulfillment. It hasn't. Don't get me wrong--I love what I do and I'm so grateful to have this opportunity. But this isn't all I was called to do. I'm also meant to leave my mark on this city--and this world--somehow. And in the months of job searching that led up to my offer, the Lord told me as much. He said having a job wouldn't give me the security and freedom I always thought it would. I would have to put my trust in Him for that. That was and still is hard for me as a human.
It means even if I wanted to simply rest on my laurels from here on out...nope says the Lord. The time to slow down is not now. In fact, I may need to even pick up the pace a bit. I won't bore you with the details of my vision, but I will say serving on a missions trip has been on my heart for the past few months, as well as mentoring young girls and organizing a community outreach project in Harlem. I'm also planning summer travel and church conferences with some sisters in Christ. Within a few months of knowing each other, a now good girlfriend of mine told me God gave her Isaiah 45:2 especially for me. It says: "I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron." In many ways, I've taken this and run with it. If God is going before me, I have nothing to fear. Boundaries don't exist and there are no limits. I never really understood it until now, but believe me when I say there is so much freedom in Jesus Christ.
Now, having graduated, I'm FREE from homework and studying and 50-page theses for all eternity! At least, I hope so. But we'll see how the Lord leads me. At the conclusion of the commencement ceremony, the oldest member of the faculty passed the university logo--the torch--on to the youngest member of the graduating class. This is to symbolize this class of 15,000 graduates taking everything we've learned and gained during our time as NYU students out into the world.
Without further ado, I accept the torch and vow to pass it on with the indomitable spirit of my dear old NYU.