Last Thursday, I skipped my last class as an undergrad.
Okay, now before you panic: I haven’t missed a single day all semester and I have since submitted my final exam (five days early), so all is well.
Last fall, I was in Leadership & Service with these two sophomores who were, at the time, strangers to me. Through an interesting semester of ups and downs, these two became my saving graces. I spent this spring in Foundations of Leadership in the back row of the room with the same two beautiful souls who taught me more about leadership than a textbook ever could.
On the last day of classes in the minor that I share with these two friends, on the last day of classes in my undergrad college career, I didn’t go to class. The three of us ended up at our favorite restaurant on Main Street, in an art gallery downtown, and then on High Bridge. The rain drizzled out of the sky and into our path, but we chose to ignore it and continue goofing off, chucking rocks over the side of the railing, taking broken pieces of the bridge.
There’s a reason why I wanted to skip class that day. I wanted to say goodbye. Two people who were strangers not too long ago came to be two of my closest friends, and I was not prepared for that goodbye. So, I stood in the center of that bridge, I cried, I hugged, I cried some more, and I passed down to two of the people who changed my views on leadership, and who ultimately changed my life.
These were not the first and are definitely not the last goodbyes I have said and will be saying in these last few weeks at school. Over my four years here, I have met some beautiful people who will not make leaving this place easy. The best people make the most difficult goodbyes, and while I still have (less than) two weeks until I cross that stage, I’ve unfortunately had to start the farewells. It is because of each and every one of my friends here at Longwood that I am the person I am today, and how am I supposed to thank them for all that they’ve done for me? A few words, a few more tears, and a chip of wood from a bridge may not be able to say exactly what I wish I could, but no one ever said goodbyes were easy. In fact, goodbyes are one of the hardest things you will ever do. But sometimes, the simplest of goodbyes shows you just how important it is that “goodbye” is really just a “see you later.”
Yes, I skipped my last class ever on Thursday. But by missing that goodbye, I said an even more important one. Don’t ever be afraid to miss out on something you’re “supposed” to do to do what your heart is telling you to do. Don’t ever not say what you feel because you’re afraid to cry in public or you aren’t sure if you should.
I am blessed by so many people who will make leaving this university one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Each goodbye is no easier than the one before, each goodbye brings a new tear to my eye, but a new smile to my face, as I come to understand just how many people here I love.
To all my friends who I have to say goodbye to, thank you for making such a difference in my life. Thank you for letting me cry and thank you for showing me just how lucky I am to have known you all who make saying goodbye so hard (and skipping class so easy).
So, goodbye. Or, might I say: see you soon.