I didn't picture myself writing this blog at home. As I sat at the dining room table, cornbread browned in the oven, NFL football blared from the living room, and the trees sparkled with frozen crystals of ice in the sunlight. I was supposed to be in Clinton, snuggled on the love seat in my tiny apartment, savoring a hot cup of tea, only a stone's throw from the campus that I have called home for nearly four years. That was the setting I imagined writing about my last first day of class, yet things change. The fact that my last first day has come announces this truth: things do, in fact, change. This day signifies that what once began will draw to a close.
Early upon my return to Mississippi College in January of my freshmen year, I woke to my roommate bouncing on my bed and peered out my fifth floor window to see a sea of blinding white: ice and snow. This January the snow and ice returned, but without us present. Things have changed.
The last first day impresses its importance upon us because it signifies the coming of an end. It is the first flake of a blizzard. It is the first beam of light peaking through the snow clouds. After this semester, the world that I, my fellow classmates, and seniors of both high schools and universities inhabit will transform into a new landscape.
This transition can be terrifying. If you have lived in the South, the idea of snow alone causes you to shiver with the fear of such an extreme cold. Or you may long for the cold escape from humid air that has draped over you for your whole life. The key to these moments of transitions - to last first days, to last last days, and to first first days - lies in the moment.
Don't scoff at the first flakes of snow or the wildflowers breaking through the melting layer of snow. Don't long for the future so much that you forget to notice the wildly colored leaves that drift in the air or forget to see the beauty in a glistening field of snow. Take the moments as they are. Take the emotions they bring. Take the planning for the future. Take the reflecting on the past. Take the moment. Take in last first days. Take in the fact that things change, and enjoy it.
Nolie, the senior experiencing her last first day