Learning How to Say Goodbye

StoveBy Sabrina Bong — When I was four, my family purchased a new stove.

It was a necessary item; the old stove had started smoking at various intervals and the burners weren’t heating up as well as they should have been. But I was so distraught when the day came to throw out the old stove, that I made my parents take a picture of me with it. For some reason, saying good-bye to that broken appliance that day seemed like the end of the world.

This was probably the first incident that made me realize how much I hate saying good-bye. To me, saying good-bye is the absolute end. It’s as if the people I say good-bye to will never cross my path again. It is sad knowing that the interactions and relationships I have had so far may slowly fade.

This week has been a little difficult for me, since it is my last week at Nathan Hale. Though I am incredibly confident in my fellow intern, Heather, a part of me is still sad that I will not be there every day to meet with my students, chat with them, help them overcome their struggles, and celebrate in their triumphs. While I am very excited to be interning at one of the elementary and one of the middle schools, I will miss the people I have spent the last year working with.

I am incredibly thankful for the administration and staff at Nathan Hale, especially all five of the counselors who welcomed me and treated me like one of their own. They ensured that I got the opportunity to experience every aspect of being a counselor, from meeting with students, to being involved with crisis situations. The principal, assistant principals, and the dean of students were also instrumental in my learning at Hale. Whether it was making sure that I received student data that we discussed at meetings, or asking my opinion on a memo to parents, I was involved in so many aspects.

I am also thankful to all of the students I worked with. They pushed me to be a better counselor and were very open to sharing their problems with an intern. I hope that they continue to work hard and succeed, even when I’m no longer there. I have a lot of faith in them; I’m sure they will be fine.

One of my students shared her last bit of wisdom with me earlier this week. She said she was a little sad to see me go, since she enjoys coming into my office and chatting with me. I admitted that I was sad as well, but that she would do fine without me. As she left, I told her good-bye. She turned around and shook her head.

“Ms. Bong, we don’t say good-bye,” she said. “We say ‘til later’ or ‘see you later.’ This way, we’re not closing any doors. We’re not making this final. This isn’t the end of anything. It’s just … a temporary break. So, I’ll see you around.”

I’m taking her advice and not saying good-bye. Instead, I’ll see you later, Nathan Hale. Thanks for making the beginning of my internship experience a memorable one.

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