By Rachel Hoffman
My entire last semester of senior year at St. Edward’s University was measured by a countdown that I had on my computer. As each day went by, I was so anxious to get closer and closer to graduation. I’ve been waiting most of my adult life to be finished with school and I knew that it was all about to come to an end. I still have the countdown set on my computer, but it is now counting the number of days since graduation. It’s been 172 days since I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. However, I am not as excited as I used to be when I see these numbers and I have finally figured out why.
Most students can not wait to be finished with school… but then again, ask any recent graduate who is struggling to find a job and they will tell you to stay in school as long as you can. But why? After thinking about this for many months, I finally came to realize that the anticipation of finishing school was much greater than the initial reality of it. I missed the long vacations, the ability to see my friends everyday, and the dry routine that I had learned to love after being in school for 18 years. It had all suddenly come to an end and I was left feeling completely confused and clueless.
After many weeks of having breakdowns and post-school withdrawals, I got myself together and ended up finding the best internship that I could possibly have. My internship with the Ronald McDonald House has been absolutely perfect. I have met so many amazing people and have gotten the opportunity to help with some of the really great events that we have every year at RMHC Austin. And it doesn’t hurt that I get to work with such a wonderful staff!
All this talk about countdowns started to make me think about how life is like one big waiting game — the anticipation, the struggle, the reality. And although the anticipation is sometimes better than the reality, you can always hope to find light at the end of the tunnel. Just as RMHC Austin helped me see this light, they provide the same hope for the many families that stay at the House. While I’m counting my time in days since I’ve been interning at RMHC, families are counting their time in days their child has been in the hospital. I’ve been here for 68 days but some families have been at the Ronald McDonald House longer than that. But no matter how long the countdown, we all must remember to never give up and to always have hope.