Saying goodbye is an emotional turning point that everybody, regardless of age, has to face. No matter what aspect of life we’re currently in, goodbyes are a normal standard. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are easy. By no means are they a simple thing to do.
Even though college can be an institution where a lot of excitement and friendships are made, it’s also a brewing ground of departure. Eventually, people are going to have to return to their homes and start over after a semester ends, a transfer to a different school, or any possible thing that would cause them to have to say the G-word. We bond with others here, but when our time with them is over, it can be a sad thing to face– which is why I wanted to write a specific blog entry about it. There’s no class on pushing through these things, so I wanted to share my own experiences and give some advice on it.
Recently, I got word that one of my favorite psychology professors was leaving LMU and moving on to another job. This hurt. Not necessarily because I was angry at him for leaving, but because we had so much history together and I had to give up making more history with him in the future.
A huge inhibitor of the “getting over someone leaving” process is cutting out the what-if’s. These little annoyances will churn their way into your thoughts and make you wonder about what might have happened if they had chosen to stay. They are ultimately useless, so try to avoid thinking about them as much as possible.
Another thing you want to avoid is (exactly as it was mentioned before) anger. If you’re typically an impulsive person, you might get mad at how or why someone could possibly leave. This is another side effect that’s more or less useless in the long run. It doesn’t quite get anything accomplished and even if it’s a reasonable anger, it probably won’t do anything.
Which leads into our third thing that you want to avoid: assuming it’s all your fault. This one is kind of the pitfall that I get suckered into sometimes. When someone leaves, I wonder why I wasn’t good enough to make them stay. Insecurity over someone leaving is definitely a hard thing to go through. When you take it the wrong way and believe you’re the sole purpose in them leaving without any evidence… well, that’s not only harmful to you, but possibly the person going away. They’re intentions probably don’t revolve around you, and chances are, they don’t want the process of leaving to be any more painful than what it already is.
I know what you’re thinking about this post so far. It’s easier said than done, right? Honestly, I’ve memorized what I should and shouldn’t do in these situations, but does that mean I’ll keep from doing them? Not necessarily. We’re bottle rockets, emotionally. If we hold in too much, we will eventually blow up and cause hurt to the ones around us. So instead, take a healthier approach to the situation. Talk to the person. A quick heart-to-heart is a good thing in this circumstance. You’ll understand why they’re leaving, express how you feel, and be able to make peace with their absence. As close as you are, it will be beneficial to both parties. It’s also a good way to take a step back and realize the other person’s intentions. They’re leaving for a purpose, and realizing that will help you accept them going away.
The rest is up to you. You have to take this in the most positive way possible. Think about your friend and all the good things they’re going to achieve later on down the road. Think about how they’re going to befriend people just like you who will make them happy just as they made you happy. Selfishness is going to make you want to keep them, but generosity is what’s going to make you feel better about letting them go.
It’s the biggest cliché in the book, but if you love someone, you’ll let them be free. This is what gets me through every time I say goodbye to someone. When I let someone spread their wings, it’s just another way of showing I care.
So, despite the shovels of mushy, emotional material in this post, I’m happy now that my favorite professor is leaving. I wish him the best. If anyone reads this and has a similar story to tell, leave a comment or like it.