During my senior year at Emory University I took a special seminar course titled “Relationships Through a Lifetime” specifically for graduating psychology majors. In this course we learned how relationships begin and deepen, but we also discussed the bittersweet beauty of relationships that end.
Dr. Stephen Nowicki helped us understand that all of our relationships would end after graduation. Yes, END after graduation. At first it was difficult for me to understand this concept. Why would they end? Won’t I keep in touch with everyone? Won’t my relationships continue after graduation?
By the end of the semester, I fully understood Nowicki’s point: after the big milestone of graduation, the way each of our relationships had been for the past few years would drastically change. Since many of my colleagues and friends (myself included) are going through several milestones within the next few months, I want to share my biggest takeaways from Dr. Nowicki’s class with you.
End your relationships well // Nowicki’s biggest piece of advice for handling this type of transition is to take the time to TRULY thank those that made that specific period of your life unforgettable. Before you know it, your relationships will change and it is important to recognize those that supported you before that shift occurs. For some, this gratitude takes the form of gifts. I personally like to take the time to write heart-felt messages so I can accurately capture the value of each individual in a sincere letter.
Be mindful of the present: time flies // People often get busy when they know a big transition is ahead. Bucket-lists are a great example. Bucket-lists are fun, but they can also take your mind off of the present because you are constantly trying to accomplish the next item on the list. To avoid rushing ahead, I have been trying to stay mindful during my own transition, savoring the present so I am not thinking “where did the time go?” when I graduate on May 9th.
For me, the hardest part about graduating from my graduate program is not figuring out where I am going to live or if I like my first job. The hardest part is leaving this group of incredible individuals. As my friend Megan Pendleton beautifully stated at our end of year banquet, here we are on the other side of “hello.” Although our relationships will end, our roots will always be tangled and I am forever grateful for that.