4 Life Lessons That I Learned From April Kepner On 'Grey's Anatomy'

Last week’s season finale of Grey’s Anatomy, “All of Me”, offered the most beautiful (if not slightly unrealistic) conclusion to April’s storyline, and I am honestly the hottest of messes. Looking back to earlier seasons, it blows my mind how easily April shifted from a mega annoyance to feeling like a member of the family, and it’s hard to believe that she’ll be absent in next season’s premiere, as she heads off saving the world in service instead of in the OR, and living her best life with her brand-new husband, Matthew.

April exemplified compassion and creativity, holding Meredith’s hand as Cristina worked to save Derek’s life, and forging her own path during her trauma certification. She braved many stormy weathers, holding her head high during incredibly difficult circumstances, while still allowing herself moments of vulnerability and doubt. April served as a role model for all, including myself as I fumble through early adulthood. In honor of her character, her story and her departure, I've compiled four of the most important things that April has taught me:

Stay strong in your convictions.

I am not a religious person, and while I don’t disparage or begrudge others their own beliefs, I'm happier not having to listen to it. Yet, something about April’s faith always touched me. She came to Seattle Grace attempting to hide her devotion, fearing that others would look down on her for it, but soon realized that it shouldn't matter how anyone else felt. No matter how much the others made fun of her, or how badly things went wrong, she always felt she had God on her side and, after a few months of doubt (which anyone would be entitled to), she found her way back. Plus, when she was laying on the table, every single person bowed their head to pray for her, even those that normally poked fun or rolled their eyes, and if that didn't get to you, I don't know what would.

Rise above.

There have been plenty of times when April was made the butt of a joke. Take for instance: when Lexie stole her little red notebook, when she revealed that she was a virgin, and when she was named chief resident, just to name a few. All situations were incredibly tough for her, wearing down on her emotional strength, but she pushed through the struggle and came out a stronger person because of it.

It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s also okay to accept help.

From losing her job to failing her boards to losing her son to losing her way, April always found a way to bounce back. In the interim, we saw real struggles, real heartbreak and confusion, offering a genuine depiction of hard times. But, in the end she made her way back—in some cases thanks to the desperately needed help of a friend that, in the beginning, she wasn't always willing to allow.

Never give up.

April made plenty of mistakes in her tenure at Grey Sloan. She was a beautifully flawed individual. She killed a mother when she got distracted, her marriage fell to pieces, and she still trucked on. Mistakes aside, April went through so much hell and she still became kick-ass surgeon. She even served time with the military and orchestrated a major surgical competition. It was like every setback pushed her farther, made her work harder, and drove her to further success. 

The depth of April's character, and with which Sarah Drew portrayed her, was on a level that we don't get to see in every show—and it’s a damn shame that we won’t be able to continue learning from her as she continues to grow. She quickly morphed from someone I hoped would be the first to be cut to what I believe was one of the most relatable characters, and I will sorely miss her presence every Thursday come Fall.

Farewell, April, and thank you for a wonderful nine seasons.