THE SKEWED VIEW: Farewells mark milestones
"Who's to say where the wind will take you. Who's to say what it is will break you. I don't know which way the wind will blow. Who's to know when the time has come around. Don't want to see you cry. I know that this is not goodbye." Those lyrics are from the U2 song called "Kite." I was listening to this song on May 17, 2003 while I sat in Barajas Airport in Madrid, crying hysterically, waiting for my plane to depart for the United States.
It has been a little over one year since I sat at that airport gate overwhelmed by countless emotions. While studying abroad was one of the best times of my life, I could not escape the immense feeling of sadness. In less than 24 hours, I was going to have to say goodbye to all of the special people I met in Spain, including one person who I ultimately became closest to while studying abroad. But less than 24 hours before I was to return to the states, he had to travel to southern Spain for work and could not change his plans. I was torn that I did not say goodbye to him. I spent my last night in Spain in bed crying because I was so upset that I missed the goodbye reception for my study abroad program. Ultimately, I did not say goodbye to all the friends I had met during my study abroad experience.
Spain was the last time that I was supposed to say goodbye to all the special people in my life. Throughout my life, bidding adieu has been a poignant way to mark milestones. I spent seven consecutive summers at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. It was tough to leave there every summer, but I always knew that the next summer I would return. But it saddened me knowing that my last summer there arrived and I would never spend time with these people again. Together, we laughed, we cried, we traveled, we swam in Lake Ellis, we played sports and we partook in a camp-wide Shabbat dinner every Friday night. Those were the people who helped shape my Jewish values.
The summer after my junior year of high school, I attended a summer program for high school students at the University of Michigan called "Summer Discovery." Even though the program was only a few weeks, I met the most amazing people and I knew that it was going to be so hard to say goodbye to the friends I made there. I went to Michigan by myself, not knowing anybody. I embraced this challenge as a way to discover myself before high school ended. I am glad I conquered that challenge. I established incredible friendships and I still talk to some of those people today. It was difficult to leave. The rest of that summer, my heart was always in Ann Arbor.
Following that summer in Michigan, I was faced with the end of high school. Although saying goodbye customarily takes place at graduation, the summer before we started college, all of my friends and I spent a lot of time together before we went our separate ways, to colleges across the nation. It was undoubtedly hard for all of us to leave after a wonderful last summer together. Toward the end of that summer, even though we were all scared to move on and meet new people, we always kept a positive attitude, knowing that Thanksgiving was only a few months away.
Though I am writing this column a few days before I officially say goodbye to everyone I knew at Brandeis, it has not really hit me that I will have to say parting words yet again. A few months ago, while hanging out with a close friend, I was reminded that college is only four years and that there will be so many other memorable experiences in the future. While that is true, some people feel that college is the best four years of your life. It is weird to think of the different types of goodbyes I will have to say after commencement. I will say goodbye to my close friends whom I will definitely see once in awhile and those whom I likely will not speak to much at all. And I will say goodbye to people I had such intimate relationships with, and unfortunately, might not ever speak to again. Finally, I will say goodbye to acquaintances from my classes, whom I will never see again.
But more than saying goodbye to my closest friends at Brandeis, I will also have to depart from all the routines my friends and I shared. Never again will I be a naave freshman roaming around campus with a bunch of girls looking for parties. Never again will my friends and I stop at Crossroads Irish Pub in Boston before we hit up the bars. Never again will we stop at the pizza place on Mass. Ave. in the middle of the night after an exciting evening. Never again will I eat lunch at Usdan with my friends. Never again will my friends and I drink and chill in someone's suite and just go crazy. Never again will I play "never have I ever" with my friends at the Mad Raven. And never again will my friends and I stress out together about how much work we have to do.
I've learned throughout each one of these milestones that saying goodbye is an incredibly challenging and emotional experience. I've also realized that even though I opened my heart up to someone during a certain experience in my life, it does not necessarily mean we will talk on a regular basis. Sometimes, for me, this has meant never speaking again. Even though I have lost touch with many people at several important times in my life, it doesn't mean that I don't care about them. It is just that we have strayed on our separate paths and, as corny as it sounds, they will always be in my heart.
Yes, it is true that people establish friendships or relationships in college that will last forever, but even if I don't keep in touch with many people from Brandeis over the next several years, I will not forget about them. I will always treasure the times I spent here and I will look back on all the experiences with fond memories.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Justice.