Farewell Friend: A Letter to Samford

Dear Samford,

How are we already saying goodbye? I feel like I just waved goodbye to my parents from the second step of Vail.

Freshman year was tough. You have Connections and all, Samford, but boy was I an awkward 18 year old. I thought I knew everything. I was just getting started. With every class I took that semester—and every semester since—I have been exposed to so many new and challenging ideas.
It hasn’t always been easy, Sammy U. Many times, I’ve felt too different or not good enough. What makes Samford so great is sometimes what makes Samford hard: This place holds some of the most incredible leaders I have ever met, so it was easy to compare myself along the way. It’s tempting to look around instead of up for your source of strength. Instead of comparing myself to fellow student leaders, I finally learned to work with them in a variety of ways. We are so much stronger when we work together as a student body. We all have such unique gifts and talents and passions.

Samford, many things have improved during my time here. I want to say thank you. The Caf is loads better, believe me, freshmen. We’ve acquired some breathtaking property for Health Sciences and built a new business building. We opened Freshens (shout-out to the Mexican Rice Bowl) and Einstein’s AND Starbucks. We chartered a new fraternity AND sorority. We created a shuttle system and so much more.

More importantly than all of those things though, Samford, I have seen an increased commitment to love for one another and love for the world. Love is the Gospel, and although we may not always agree on everything, we agree on the one thing that matters.

The little “t” truths grow dim in light of the Truth. Samford, I am proud of you. Hard conversations are happening in light of Truth. I know it’s hard to talk about big topics like diversity sometimes, but it matters. You know this. Keep it up. Keep asking minority students how we can continue to make them feel like this is just as much their home as it is for the majority student. Keep making sure each person that drives through our gates knows they are loved, not for what they will do or have done, but for who they are.

Samford, I’m not going to lie; I’m scared. I’m scared to leave the green grass and the almost simulated blue skies and beautiful Georgian brick buildings and the stinking awesome community. Lots of seniors are scared. You can’t always act scared as a senior, because people look up to you. But we are.
So much has changed in our four years and will change in the next four years and the four years after that. There will be a class of students coming this fall that I will not know. That’s hard for me to think about. But my favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh, says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I never knew what that meant until this moment. Saying goodbye to this place is a lot harder than any other life transition up to this point. Thank you for that.

Thank you for the little moments like encouraging notes when I’m up late studying or walking across the Quad during a sunset and the big moments like becoming president of my class or presenting research for the first time. I have loved every nanosecond. I will miss you terribly, but far greater things lay ahead than those that lay behind. I hope I have planted enough seeds during my time to become trees for others to sit under one day.

All my love forever,

Julia Jordan-Lake
Jordan-Lake is a senior psychology major.

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