“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
I’m feeling emotional.
To be honest, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind.
I definitely thought I was going to blog about my job search more, but it’s hard to publicize it. I am extremely cautious about my word choice because I want to be respectful of all the schools I apply for and interview with. I’ve had to say no, and that’s not fun to talk about. I don’t know who reads my blog, and I don’t want any current/past/potential employers reading into any information wrong because I keep it so vague. But I will say this: waiting for the right job is hard, and being location bound / doing a partner search is even harder. B U T – I am thankful I am able to prioritize myself and my personal life and know that I will find a great job to follow, even if patience isn’t my strong suit. I will be moving to North Carolina to be with my boyfriend, but I will be sure to update once I accept an offer and can focus on the next chapter of my life.
– – –
There have been a lot of tears these last few weeks. Tears of frustration. Tears of fear. Tears of sadness. It’s cool that my graduation is so early in the year (April 28), but it’s hard when it’s so early in the job search and I have no official plans after graduation. When do I move? What do I do with my stuff? How long until I get an apartment? When do I buy my new car if I’m moving? What do I do with my life? Especially with my partner in the picture, I realize even more how much my actions don’t just affect myself. It’s a lot to balance out.
It’s finally, like, here.
Today we had the annual last-day-of-class photoshoot and lunch at our SPHE program coordinator’s house. It’s a tradition she’s done for years (or probably since she’s been in this role honestly).
Today, I put on my graduation robe and Masters Hood for the first time. It felt surreal. I remember seeing the 2015 cohort’s photos when I first entered the program. I remember seeing my friends and boyfriend in the 2016 cohort photo with denial that they were leaving. But today, it’s my turn. I never thought I would get a Masters Degree, yet here I am, 9 days away from crossing the stage. 9 days away from that hood having such a meaning. 9 days away from almost graduating with a 4.0, except that I missed one class that will ruin that (life is rough sometimes). I am about to have something I never thought I would get, and that’s a really cool accomplishment and feeling.
And then I went to my student’s banquet.
That’s when the feelings REALLY kicked in.
I have blogged about them. I have bragged about them. For the past two years, they have been MY passionate, sweet, funny, dedicated, sassy, and sarcastic group of students. But tonight, that ended. Tonight, I said goodbye.
Well, to most of them. Except the ones I’ll see at retreat tomorrow.
You see, that’s the weirdest and hardest thing about leaving now. Unlike when the two other full-time staff members in our office left in the middle of the year, I don’t get my big official “goodbye.” As a person who relies on words of affirmation and closure, I never get the official goodbye, and that’s hard for me.
At our exec meeting last night, I gave my heartfelt and tearful goodbye, but saw all of them again tonight. I will see some of them tomorrow. And some of them next week. Instead of a big goodbye and having that closure, I see them slowly walk away one by one, and I can’t help but wonder when/if I will see them again.
I don’t like that uncertainty.
I was explaining this to my boyfriend tonight and he used the metaphor of saying hi and goodbye to someone at the grocery store and then seeing them again in every aisle– he’s right. Or it’s like when you say goodbye to someone and end up walking to the parking lot together. It’s awkward.
Yes, the romantic in me would be much happier with a heartfelt goodbye followed by me driving into the sunset as the credits for my graduate career crossed the screen. But that’s not how it is. Hah- wouldn’t that be cool, though.
Instead, it’s a challenge for me. A challenge to remember every last moment. To stamp into my memory every last hug. To feel every last word that’s said to me, after spending 1-2 years with this group of students that built me so much into the professional and person that I am today.
But luckily for me, I have students that share with me how much I’ve made an impact on their life, just as much as they’ve made an impact on mine.
“You’ve been like a mom, a big sister, and a mentor.”
“I have looked up to you as my advisor but I’ve also been incredibly lucky to call you my friend.”
“But this is the fun part of life, making lifelong friends in the most uncommon of places. Thanks for the adventure– now go have a new one”
These words I will hold so near and dear to my heart more than they know. One of my students told me tonight that she saved her student leader evaluation to her phone so whenever she needs a pick-me-up, she can look at it and remember how insanely proud of her I am for not only her hard work this year, but her outstanding character and big heart. She said she’ll save it for the hard days as a reminder.
Little do they know that I save these notes in my drawer and in my heart for my hard days too.
Like days like today. And tomorrow. And probably next week and the week after that. And this fall and next spring and the following year.
We all have hard days. I had a hard time when I hadn’t heard from UF and thought I wasn’t getting in for grad school– the doubt that flooded me before the best opportunity of my life would pop into my email inbox before I knew it.
I know my next opportunity is like that.
Life is funny like that, ya know. Sometimes it’s the best things in life that come unexpected.
I knew I was in for a treat when I accepted my job. I knew I would meet some great people and grow a lot professionally and have a really good education and experience.
Little did I know that I would meet students that encouraged, supported, uplifted, and loved me like the ones I got.
How lucky am I…
How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
Because saying goodbye to them is so, so hard.
quote of the day: “Alrighty, you’re almost there. Keep pushing! Way to go, Manda Rae. You should definitely be proud.” – letter to my future self that I wrote at our fall retreat on 8/21/16