Don’t Hurry: Lily Whitmoyer’s Senior Column

I don’t remember the first time I saw Penn State’s campus — it’s just something I’ve always known. Before I ever thought about which college I’d attend, I walked past Old Main and East Halls, and I tasted as many flavors at the Creamery as I could. I learned the rules of football while sitting in Beaver Stadium, and I remember thinking Rec Hall was a lot bigger than it actually is.

I’ve been thinking about the younger me a lot lately. Graduating from Penn State was her dream, and now I get to live it. It feels like it all went by really fast.

On the last day of the spring semester, my English professor gave everyone a picture of a sign that says, “Why are you hurrying?” I didn’t think much of it at the time, and I forgot about it until I found the picture at the bottom of my backpack the other day. Now, I can’t stop thinking about it.

I like to rush. I work well in the midst of chaos, and I have no patience for anything slow. I’m always anticipating what’s next, and “living in the moment” is something I’ve never been comfortable doing. The problem with the way I live is that I rarely notice time passing until it’s gone. I live like I have an infinite amount of time, and I don’t. No one does.

A few weeks ago, my family found out my grandfather has terminal cancer. While that is his story to tell and not mine, I can’t write about my college experience without mentioning him. My love for Penn State only exists because my grandfather fell in love with it a long time ago. He was never a Penn State student, but he understands what it means to be a Nittany Lion anyway. While his children (my mother and uncle) were the first in the family to graduate from Penn State, I know our legacy actually started with him.

Time becomes more precious when you know you’re losing it.

I’ve been rushing a lot less lately. I have a lot of goodbyes to say soon, and I’d really like to beg time to slow down a little. Of course, I don’t have that kind of power, so all I can do is treasure the time I do have. That’s not to say I don’t waste time. I do love to procrastinate. But, I’ve found some joy in pausing, looking around, and noticing the beauty in the world around me. There is so much to see when I choose to not hurry.

I think little me would be happy with the life I get to live. She would think I’m fearless, strong, and the luckiest person to be graduating from Penn State. She’d be wrong, though, in saying that I’m fearless. I’m afraid of any type of change, and making decisions overwhelms me. However, if I learned anything these past three years, it’s that every time I almost didn’t do something out of fear, it turned out to be something great. Otherwise, I never would have joined this blog and gotten to take pictures of important events on campus. I never would have led Relay For Life at Penn State to raise over $35,500 for the American Cancer Society. I never would have worked as a Youth Ministry Intern and realized that I wanted to change my major and pursue social work. I never would have decided to graduate from Penn State after three years and go right to grad school. I certainly wouldn’t be leaving for Florida the day after graduation to do that.

As Glennon Doyle Melton said, “If you can’t beat fear, just do it scared.” So, that’s what I’m doing. I did it scared when I moved into East Halls three years ago, and I’m doing it scared as I Ieave. That’s all I can think to tell anyone who is reading this. Whatever it is, do it scared. Do it sad. Do it joyful. Do it angry. Do it annoyed. Do it excited. You never know what you’ll get to experience or who you’ll get to meet.

Look forward, but also look around you. Be all in wherever you find yourself, and don’t waste too much time thinking about what’s next. There will be enough time for you to worry about the future once you get there. If nothing else, remember there’s a little you watching how you live your life. Enjoy it for them.

When I walk across the stage on Saturday, I’ll be thinking about the little girl I used to be — the one wearing pigtails and who stared at Old Main with wide, awestruck eyes. I’ll be thinking about the other little Lions who dream of being a student here. I’ll be thinking about the generations who came before me — including several members of my family — and the legacy I had the honor of continuing. I’ll do it proud.

And, I won’t hurry.

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About the Author

Lily Whitmoyer

Lily is a senior studying human development & family studies from outside of Reading, PA. She loves reciting "Friends" lines whenever possible and collecting Penn State apparel. If you want to swap cat pictures or see the random pictures she takes, follow @whitmoyer27 on Twitter or @lily.whitmoyer on Instagram.

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