For as long as I can remember I have always been inspired by music, despite not having much talent for singing or playing an instrument I have always had a special fondness for the way music stirs the soul. The great thing about music is that there is a certain type of music for every mood and point in life you can imagine. There is music for when you are happy or sad, music for babies, toddlers, teenagers, newlyweds, and the type of music I want to focus on today, music for graduating and moving on.


I feel like everyone who has ever graduated has a certain song they associate with the time; it could be a bittersweet song like “Time of your Life” by Greenday, a jubilant song like “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, or a delightfully cheesy song like “Friends Forever” by Vitamin C. The song that has always stuck out to me in this particular genre however is a one-hit wonder by the 90’s band Semisonic about closing time at a local bar.

Upon first listen “Closing Time” may come across as a song about a bunch of drunk guys being ushered out of a bar by a manager at closing time, but subsequent listens reveal a much deeper parallel about change and moving on. I think as human beings it is part of our nature to find places that make us comfortable and want to stay there forever, whether it’s a bar, a certain group of friends, or a campus ministry it is very easy to become complacent with where we are in life. The thing is, life is not meant to be lived in one place, or to always be comfortable. It is meant to be lived boldly and explored, that’s how we uncover pieces of ourselves that we never knew existed. It can be a really scary thing, but the pros typically far outweigh the cons.

UKirk Seniors

One of my favorite quotes from the song is “every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end”. To me, it says that everything has to end for the new things to begin. You have to finish crawling before you can start walking, finish middle school before you start high school, finish college before you start whatever is next. This does not change the mixed emotion that come with change, and that’s okay. It is okay (and dare I say it, even appropriate) to experience the whole spectrum of emotions when dealing with change. The funny thing about change is as we look back on our lives we start to see these monumental changes in a different light. For example, anyone who knows me knows that I was the world’s most reluctant UT Volunteer. When I was growing up I never imagined I would come here, but once I did I made memories and friendships and had trials and joys that will be with me all of my days. That would have never happened if I had not left the metaphorical bar of West Tennessee, and it taught me that just as there are closing times, there are also opening times.

Going forward into this season of closings and openings I encourage all of you to gather up your jackets and whatever else gives you safety and peace, find a friend, and boldly go out into the world not only knowing that you are beautifully and fearfully made, but that the same God who created the stars in the sky and the plants on the ground made you, loves you, and will always be the one to take you home.


Elizabeth Hamilton
Audiology and Speech Pathology Major
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Elizabeth Grad