As I pen this last column for the 2016-2017 academic year, it is difficult to believe that we’re already done with another year here on the Heights. I have spent a few moments looking back over some of the topics we covered this year and seeing how different they were from last year’s articles. I contemplated how this column tried to address wellness issues that presented themselves on our campus and in our world at large and then wondered what next year will bring.
In the world of counseling, the ideal ending comes after a long period of hard work for both the counselor and the client. It was work finding the right therapist, making sure that there was a good connection between the two parties, being able to share personal and difficult challenges with someone else, and being able to discuss any dynamics that arose in the therapeutic relationship, all the while knowing that this relationship will ultimately end in this context. If the process has gone well, ending this relationship will seem like a natural progression to the next phase of life.
This process feels similar to a graduation. There are mixed feelings for both parties: The ambivalence lies within the fact that being in college provided you with an environment that engaged you, hopefully spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. However, this process, as you have known it here at Le Moyne for the last four to five years of your life, is ending. The routine of classes, meetings, meals with friends, work with professors, jobs, activities on campus, and even the cycle of being at school and then being home for breaks will not happen again for most of you.
In a perfect world, the ideal termination is clean. The work is reviewed, all feelings are verbalized and goodbyes are shared. There are no loose ends. This is not so easy when it comes to your experiences here. Many of you are busy finishing up papers, projects, interviewing for jobs, applying to graduate or other schools. It hasn’t quite hit yet that in exactly 17 days, seniors will be leaving Le Moyne for the last time.
Others of you may be saying goodbye to some of those seniors, or at the very least will be experiencing the end of a year where you lived in a certain place, with certain people, and had life-changing experiences—none of which will be quite the same next year. It’s often very difficult for us to recognize when something ends and to honor that ending by letting go.
We tend to try and cling to the way things are (or were) and it’s hard for us to accept changes, especially when they appear as losses. There may be folks here that you might not see again, so losses of friends can be sad and scary at the same time. We may feel like we’re losing a way of life, a home, that we have come to love and cherish over these last few years at Le Moyne.
The good news is that endings are just as important as beginnings. They launch us into the next phase of our journey and open new doors to our future. Whether you’re a sophomore moving into a higher level of learning or a senior taking next steps into your life’s work, there is an ending and a new beginning.
So take some time to be intentional in moving through these last weeks. Appreciate the people and the experiences that have been part of your life this year. We all face endings of one sort or another.