What do we mean when we say “goodbye”?

What are your memories of the class of 2015? Sure, most of you must have a few good friends graduating — as do I — but what about the others? The vague acquaintances and used-to-be friends? The one-time hookups you’re still lusting over, and the late-night mistakes whose glances you avoid when you walk through a doorway? (I don’t know about you, but I always end up walking through a doorway simultaneously and in the opposite direction from somebody I don’t want to see. It’s a curse.)

For some of you, there will probably be past significant others receiving their diplomas in a month whom you will be more or less glad to see leave this campus. Others of you will be the ones walking across the amphitheater stage (and mourning the loss of proximity of all your best friends with benefits, most likely). Everybody has their fair share of goodbyes to make in the next few weeks.

I don’t want to dwell too long on the senior class, though, because I’m not feeling all too bitter about the soon-to-be graduates. Instead, I want to focus on their very departure, and its repercussions: what are the implications of bidding farewell?

In some cases, it’s actually pretty simple. I find it phenomenally easy to smirk with a hand-wave at the end of a bad hookup. Alternatively, the iconic, “I’m just going to the bathroom, see you in a sec,” if you get bored of your Pub Nite pick-up, is always an option. Seeing these types of people leave campus will probably be more relieving than anything else, since you won’t need to awkwardly nod at each other as you heave up Magill Walk (it’s a steep path for a smoker, don’t judge) and they stroll down casually. The most unfortunate case would be a current hookup who’s graduating: no more sex when there wasn’t even any emotional drama to begin with. I can only mourn a good lay.

With regards to an actual ex, one you cared about at one point, having them leave campus may not even change much. I find that after I break up with someone, I develop a static image of them governed both by whatever harm they may have caused me in the process (“that kid is a fucking asshole”) and the actual relationship itself (“why the fuck aren’t we still fucking”), in some ratio of the two. I find it difficult to invest much emotional labor into an individual after a relationship, and so this perception rarely evolves much beyond the dichotomy, although time may soothe the anger. As such, watching them leave campus, leading to an inevitable cutback in communication, doesn’t necessarily mean much: I probably wasn’t emotionally invested anyway. Of course, their departure also implies weaning off of the addictive angst caused by their appearance around campus, but that’s probably a healthy thing to do eventually.

Since my experience on this campus is in so many ways shaped by my friendships, it’s logical that I’d also be looking forward to losing sight of those whom have affected those around me. As time goes on, I become more forgetful of those to whom I need to shoot an aggressive glance every time I walk by. The problem’s solved if I don’t see them anymore.

Regardless of these categories I’ve pulled out of my ass, people leaving campus is an inherently sad event, and change in general isn’t particularly easy to deal with (unless you’re in bed with someone: it’s actually somewhat disheartening to have someone suck you off with no variety whatsoever for a long period of time). Fortunately (and on a very, very soppy note), we have the incoming freshman class to replace these worn and boring faces with their fresh pep, and eventually we’ll reenact all of the uncomfortable moments we had with our graduating senior class with the new kids in town.

After all, there’s nothing more fun than making the same mistakes all over again.


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