“This is the last time we’re going to be here together. All of us. In this classroom. It’s the last time.” I just walked out of my last creative writing class for the year. Never have I so seriously felt like doing 32,000 words for a course all over again.
Apart from this time of the year being stressful because of exams, it’s bittersweet. You get so used to being in a course, an environment, a study group that when it ends you’re relieved the work is done but at the same time it feels like there’s something missing as you let it go. I understand why people say “your university years fly by so fast”. It’s because we’re so caught up in living from one deadline to the next and one event to the next that we’re just flipping calendar pages until we realize we’re almost done. So thinking about that got me to reflect a bit on my courses, my professors, the friends I had made in and outside my courses — what all of those things meant, now that the year was ending.
And so I thought of some things I could do about this that you might want to consider as well:
- Thank your professors and TAs. I know this sounds like a really small gesture but it even a simple “thank you” or “I appreciate everything you taught us” as you’re on your way out makes a huge difference to your professors. More than this being their job they want to make sure you’re getting value out of what they’re saying and this helps them know that what they’re doing is not just for a requirement check.
- Fill in your course evaluations. This is important because not only does it let the professor know that what they’re doing is being appreciated but it lets them know how to improve. I think if they’ve pretty much dedicated their lives by acknowledging our strengths and teaching us how to improve — we can take 10 minutes aside to do the same for them!
- Find a way to keep in touch with your professor/TA. I would reserve this one for the courses that you personally felt connected to — your favorite course(s). This is especially important for any future work opportunities you would like to do under or with your professors — whether it’s research or a recommendation letter.
So yes, while this time of the term means finals are almost here it means more than that. It means we’re done with a year of hard work, one year of discussions with prestigious professors, debates with peers as curious as you are and most importantly — how you grew as a result. Try to find some time within this chaos to be a little reflective. It’ll allow you to take tiny steps (like the points I mentioned above) to make this goodbye a little less bitter and a little more sweet.