My LopeLife: ‘Breaking up’ with GCU isn’t easy

April 23, 2019 / by / 2 Comments
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Denise Williams is sad to leave GCU but will treasure the memories.

Editor’s note: My LopeLife is a feature in which GCU students, staff and alumni share enlightening experiences. To be considered for My LopeLife, please submit a short synopsis of your suggested topic to GCUToday@gcu.edu with “My LopeLife” in the subject field.

By Denise Williams

Change is terrifying, and letting go is difficult. As a senior, graduation is looming closer with each passing day, and I cannot help but be nervous. I am also excited, though. After all, who would not be excited to set out into the world? God has been working on me, helping me find my purpose in this world.

Still, I am also sad to leave. I genuinely love GCU, and it feels like my time here has come to a close too quickly. To help me process these emotions, I have decided to do what I love — write. Specifically, I am writing a breakup letter:

Dearest Grand Canyon University,

I’m not sure where to begin. I suppose I should start with the beginning. After prayerful contemplation, I have decided the time has come. I’m breaking up with you.

Now, before you start creating havoc, let me explain. It’s not you, it’s me. Yes, I know that’s a cliche, but it’s true. I’ve outgrown you. That is saying something — they call you “Grand Construction University” for a reason. Well, no, I guess that’s not quite right. I’ve grown with you, and am now ready to move on. After two glorious years of fun events, basketball games, Chapel, classes and a crisis in which I changed majors, it’s time for me to leap out into the world like a young antelope.

I’d like to reflect on the happy memories first, if you don’t mind. GCU has really helped me learn to do that. Learn from the past and revel in the joy. Find your purpose, and use the gifts God gives us to help us in our journey.

Our relationship began like many good relationships do, on accident. I was, needless to say, a little desperate, but you took me on when I needed you. In August 2017, I was in a tight spot, and calling you was a last-ditch effort. I thought I had misunderstood what God wanted from me and was at a complete loss about what my next course of action should be. Thank you, GCU. If it weren’t for you, I’m not sure where I’d be. I might be without a school, or worse, still at a junior college. Thankfully that ship has sailed and I graduated into a more mature relationship.

Maturity doesn’t mean the absence of fun, however. Those basketball games were insane! I literally lost my voice screaming at the Boise State game last December. I had way too much whipped cream in my hot chocolate at “Snow Much Fun” and danced until my feet ached at “Hanging of the Greens.” Worshipping with my community at Chapel and The Gathering and writing hilarious poems and stories in clubs are times that could never be forgotten.

You had my back through tough times with Fuel for Finals and provided me with counseling resources when I needed them. I also had great mentors in my professors, leaders and manager, which are essential for positive growth.

Change is never easy, and that crisis really was something worth remembering. You may recall that I was an education major because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought that I could be a good teacher, but a lack of confidence was dragging me down. I thought I was trapping myself and began to panic. You didn’t let me flail for long, though.

One November day there was the National Day On Writing, where I met Professor Kimbel Westerson. She told me about the Professional Writing major and fun clubs like “Write On” and “Friends of the Pen.” I joined the writers and rediscovered a sleeping passion I’d long forgotten. Not only that, but being a writer frees me to work anywhere in the world for all kinds of different businesses or publications. Now I have more options than ever before and can go wherever the wind takes me.

Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going to another school. I am loyal to a fault, and no one could top you, GCU. You’ve impacted me deeply, and I shall always be a Lope at heart. At this point my wardrobe is primarily purple, after all, so there is no hiding where I have been. It is just time for me to step out into my own adventure. Graduation comes for us all, and I am no exception.

I have lived all over campus in three different residence halls, had two majors, learned from 16 diverse professors and found a wonderful community in my job and classes. That’s what you’re known for, after all. It’s all about community. You’ve offered much needed wisdom through my professors and opportunities to grow through my job. My time with you has been a blessing, and I shall always cherish the memories.

When all is said and done, God worked through you, GCU, to help me find my way in life. This may be goodbye, but it is not for forever. Farewell is not the end. I will come see you again, as an alumni, having found my purpose in this crazy world. Until we meet again, Lopes Up!

Sincerely Always,

Denise Williams


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2 Responses
  1. Dan DeBaun

    Good luck Denise! We know you’re gonna do fantastic as you enter this next stage in your life! :)

    Apr.23.2019 at 12:37 pm
  2. Melissa Williams

    Well done. We’re all very proud of you!

    Apr.23.2019 at 3:54 pm
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