Saying goodbye is never easy. Every year we say goodbye to someone at this time. Our student staff leave. Our seniors graduate. Our graduate students get jobs (hopefully!). Professional staff members leave for other opportunities. In a field where most of us wear our emotions on our sleeves, it can be a difficult time of the year. Here are 3 tips to help you get through it.
1. Provide Closure
Find some way to provide closure for yourself and those involved. While working with student staff in the residence halls, I always held our last one-on-one meeting in a location of that staff member’s choosing. I wanted to make our last meeting memorable to that student, but I was also providing a closing “activity” to provide psychological closure to our supervisor/supervisee relationship for the year. Take a moment and figure out what type of activity works best for you.
2. Say “Thank You”
We often wait too long to thank those who have meant something to us. Take a moment to thank the people who have helped you grow and develop or who have just been a friend. A simple “thank you” or a note can show that someone is not leaving in vain. I remember when my mentor left TCNJ for another job. I had just started working there 6 months earlier, and I wanted to keep working with him. Even though he is someone I keep in touch with on a regular basis, he wrote me a thank you note in a card. That meant more to me than an implied thank you because we are friends without any intentional “thank you” attached. (Want to learn how to craft a great note…go to Courtney’s blog post about crafting the perfect thank you note! https://thejerseyalliance.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/a-well-written…-perfect-touch/ )
3. Use Technology
We live in a world where keeping in touch has never been easier. Use Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and whatever else you use to keep in touch. Be realistic about the nature of the relationship and know that it will change when Facebook pokes are all you share. This is also the time, if you feel comfortable, to invite former student staff, graduate students who are now colleagues, and graduating seniors to be friends and network online. This will show them that your relationship has changed and that you want to keep in touch.
Saying goodbye is never easy. We here at TJA know that. Thanks for reading and goodbye until next week.
-Michael J. Miragliotta