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The End of a Chapter

Today is the last day I will park any where on Taylor Circle with my faculty and staff sticker. Today is the last day I’ll be the last one on my team to walk into work. Today is the last day I will check my 2570 voicemail box. Today is the last day I will wonder what wide-eyed student is going to walk through our glass doors. Today is the last day I’ll hear Christalee booking a family’s visit to Southern. Today is the last day I’ll hear Bradford and Shana laughing outside of my office door. Today is the last day Fred will ask me about any current event. Today is the last day Castwell will give me “that look” every time he opens the door. Today is the last day I’ll hear Rick laughing after one of the Engage students in his office said something funny. Today is the last day I’ll hear Ruben tap on my door frame asking me, “You good?” Today is the last day I’ll look up and see Maggie or Lis coming over to get water. Today is the last day I’ll hear Daisy, Lauren and Carine telling me how much my outfit is slaying.

Today is the last day as Lauren Brooks, admissions counselor.

As I was cleaning out my files on my work computer, I came across a paper I had written for a final for one of my MBA classes in 2015. The paper was about leadership theory and how I was going to practically apply what I had learned in the class to my personal life, job-wise. It’s inspiring looking back to your past, even if it’s only been 18 months, and see a different person. Although I might have seemed happier then, I know in these last 12 months I am not who I was and I have grown more than I ever thought I would. It hasn’t been easy–there’s been a lot of pain, heartache, stress, tears, maybe even a few triumphs and joys in these last 12 months, but here I am looking forward to a new city, new job, new church and eventually a new group of friends.

I want to share a snippet of my paper with you out there in the blogosphere.

“I can look through my journey, thus far and see where I’ve come from. I can also see how much more I have the opportunity to learn and grow into the leader God has called me to be. I know that won’t always mean in my job, it might be in my church, with my friends or whatever unique opportunity comes my way. What I have learned in this class is that I am a leader. It is so fascinating to look back on key moments in my life, with the people He placed in it at the perfect time, or opportunities—like attending a public school, that shaped me into the leader I am today. There is no doubt He will use my strengths and weaknesses to change someone’s life and I can’t wait to see how He uses me in those ways. These unique characteristics that He has created me from makes irreplaceable connecting points to the many people I come into contact with. Trust, growth, challenges, weaknesses, passion and motivation are not only part of my story, but part of who I am. These are what He will use me to connect with people in a special way, whether it is through leadership approaches or simple conversations.
As of right now, I know God has called me to be an admissions counselor. I mentioned it before, but I never dreamed this would be the beginning of my career. I have found so much value in this job and the opportunities it has created by connecting with the different people I come into contact with every day. I am truly blessed, not only because of what opportunities this job has brought me, but the experiences God put in place throughout high school and college. I know He has an amazing plan for my life and I see the fruit of that almost on a daily basis. I can also acknowledge the leadership opportunities and the leadership examples He placed in my life as I grew up. Those were foundational experiences, that shaped who I am today—that also drive me to learn more about how I can be a better leader and how I use my strengths to be the best person, employee, and eventual boss one day. I look forward to the future opportunities He has in store for me, in whatever organization that may be. I never want to limit myself because I know He can do great work through me. The only way I can continue being an effective leader is to look to the One who set the best example of what a leader is and follow Him to be the life changing woman that I am.”

When celebrating our former president’s last day a few months ago he said, “I won’t miss this job, but I will miss the people.” As I begin packing up my things for the last time, after the cake and punch has been served and I’ve said “thank you” to all the people who have come to congratulate me (or to just get a free piece of cake), I resonate with his statement. Though this has been a great job for me to begin my career, I know it’s time to move on to something new. I walk through the hallway and out the front doors of Wright Hall for the last time, I know without a doubt that I will miss these people–for I have spent more time with them these last 3 years than anyone I know. They are more than just those people I work with, they have become my family. I will always be grateful for what Southern has done for me because Southern will forever be a part of me.

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