By Samantha Griffith || Contributing Writer
Goodbye. It’s one word, two syllables, yet carries so much weight. One word that serves as a full sentence and can change everything. There are goodbyes you can prepare for and ones that come out of nowhere. But just because you see a goodbye coming doesn’t make it any easier or hurt any less. Goodbyes are always hard, even if you’ve had four years to prepare for them. But have we actually been prepared for it?
We all know we have to say goodbye after graduation, but no one actually tells you what that means. No one tells you what comes next. No one tells you what happens after the goodbye. Every senior knows we have 20 days left, but we aren’t really acknowledging it. I will admit I am terrified of what comes next. Yes, I amso excited to finish classes and be done with the hours of reading, but leaving what has been my home for the last four years is kind of scary.
I think there are two types of goodbyes: the ones you know and the ones you don’t. The goodbyes you know are ones you see coming: your last class, the last competition for a club or sports team, the last time a scheduled thing occurs. These are the goodbyes you can prepare for. The ones that get tied up with a nice little bow and give you closure. Then there’s the second type of goodbye, the ones you don’t even know are happening: the last time you run into someone on campus, the last time you eat in the dining hall, the last time you see your professor. These are the harder types of goodbye, at least in my opinion. These are the ones where you don’t get closure. These are the ones you don’t even know have happened until they’re done.
I have never been good at goodbyes. I think they are one of the scariest things on the planet. I always feel like I have to do them perfectly so that they get perfectly wrapped up with a nice, beautiful bow. What I’ve realized is that there isn’t one right way to say goodbye. There isn’t an instruction manual, and no one can tell you what the right thing to do is. To be honest, I wish there was. I wish someone could just tell me what the right way to say goodbye is because, honestly, that would be a lot less stressful.
I feel like graduation is a landmark that looms in the shadows of every college experience. It’s there, we know it is, but we don’t really ever acknowledge it. Sure it comes up in conversations, but I don’t think the weight of graduation hits until the actual day. This one day is probably the biggest planned goodbye. Sure we had high school graduation, but we usually have a reason to go back to our hometowns and see those people. After graduating from F&M, we don’t have an obligation or expectation to ever return to Lancaster. So this goodbye feels a little bit more permanent. I have yet to figure out how to articulate this goodbye or how much it actually means.
It’s not just leaving classes or academics. It’s leaving the structure of college. It’s leaving the people who have become a second family. It’s leaving what has become comfortable. I, at least, can’t articulate how much weight this goodbye holds because I have never done it before. There’s no one right way to say goodbye, so I’m just going to choose to be in the moment. I will take in every last experience I can before it actually ends. Because maybe then, the goodbye can be right.
Senior Samantha Griffith is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.