And then she was done.  But there was no cheering or noise or acknowledgment of any kind of the fact.  Just the passing of one minute to the next – not enough time to transfer 18 years of education-oriented focus into a mindset of life AFTER school.  It would take some time to recognize what was happening… maybe it would be more recognizable when the wedding day came, or the first child, or the graduation of the youngest child.  Maybe then she would be able to clarify… “it’s over”.

But see, then again, maybe it doesn’t take so long.  Already, as she walks down the hall out of her building, the walls don’t seem so enclosed.  The classrooms don’t look so intimidating.  The campus isn’t demanding to go, go, go, get the next thing done.  It’s inviting, soothing, warmly calling out, “come here.  Stay awhile and rest.”  Only pending grades loom still overhead, but even those don’t pose much of a threat anymore, because she’s done all she can for them so now all she must do is wait.

No, suddenly it seems that now beyond the campus borders looms the threat; the questions and the unknowns and the adult treatment.  How can she do it?  She’s a labeled adult now, but she’s just a baby at it.  The experience, it seems, is lacking.  It’s time to start over again, to begin something new.  It’s time to dive in and try and fail and succeed and find her place in this new thing.  She’ll leave the safety of school that she was never quite aware of.

Maybe just a few more minutes beneath the clocktower of her school – it’s hers still, for a little while longer – and then she’ll venture out.  She’ll try her best.  And life will happen.  Just remember, though, she’s new at all this.  She’s still learning…