Apr 302012
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

As everyone’s favorite blind Italian opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, so beautifully sang in “Time to Say Goodbye,” it’s nearing that time — that time to say goodbye, in many cases indefinitely, to people whom we’ve grown to deeply care for over the past few years.

When I began my time as Editorial Editor for the Collegian a year ago, I barely knew any of my fellow editors and almost nothing of the job I had agreed to take on. Edit a couple columns every day and get paid for it? That’ll take almost no time, right?

Oh, was I wrong. I had no idea the amount of time I’d devote to this newsroom tucked away in the basement of the Lory Student Center, or subsequently, how much melanin, outside human interaction and normal sleep patterns I’d lose.

I never could have anticipated the consistent stream of heated debate that would surround the Opinion page this year, and I definitely never thought columns printed on this page would elicit an entire protest against us. Without hesitation, I can admit I wasn’t prepared. When people told me, “You’re going to need a thick skin for this job,” I probably should’ve taken them a bit more seriously.

Because, judging by the number of times I’ve sat at my desk, sobbing and stress-eating Subway cookies and saltine crackers from the Ramskeller, it’s safe to say that my “skin” wasn’t quite thick enough.

But it doesn’t matter. None of it. Because, regardless of the things I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made — and there have been plenty of both — the significance lies in the people I’ve met, the people I’ve grown to love and ultimately the people I’ll hold dear for the rest of my life.

During the long hours I’ve spent in this newsroom and at CSU in general, I’ve met quite a few of these people. And I know most of you have too.

So as graduation looms less than two weeks away, I’ve started thinking about the different ways I’ve said “goodbye” in the past and, sadly, the “goodbyes” I’ll be saying in the near future.

And I know everyone says this, but I’m awful at it. My “goodbye” usually never fits the context, and I end up wishing I’d said more… or in some cases, less.

There’s the: ‘I know I’ll probably never see you again, but I can’t face the thought of that yet, so I’m going to pretend you’re just leaving on a weekend trip or something.’

Person 1: “Hey, so, have a good flight! You’re going to love New York. Bring me back a hot dog! Ha… ha. Bye!”

Person 2: “I’ll miss you, you know…”

Person 1: “Ohhh, come on! This isn’t really goodbye! Have a great trip, alright?”

Person 2: “But I signed a five-year contract, and you’re moving to China…”

Person 1: “…Oh, stop being so down! I’ll see you really soon!”

You see, in this type of “goodbye,” Person 1 is left with a car ride home full of tears and the radio blasting “My Heart Will Go On.”

Don’t do this, because denial is never the way to go. But neither is…

The “You’re just moving an hour away, but for some reason that seems monumental to me right now, so I’m going to have an emotional breakdown after your graduation.”

Person 1: “I can’t believe the time is finally here…”

Person 2: “Aaah, I can’t believe it either! Finally out in the ‘real world.’ Crazy!”

Person 1: “No, I mean… I can’t believe you’re finally leaving… for good.”

Person 2: “Oh, come on, we’ll still see each other all the time! This isn’t actually goodbye. I’ll visit every weekend!”

Person 1: “I will always, always remember you. You’ve left a footprint on my heart.”

Don’t be that Person 1, either.

But do: Say goodbye with honest emotion, and remember that if the person really means something to you, no goodbye is permanent.

I know that sounds sappy, even by my standards, but it’s true. And as I watch my friends walk across the stage at graduation, I’ll know that, even though they won’t be in my life everyday anymore, they’ll never leave my life completely.

So as long as we’re in the realm of “sappy,” as Gandhi himself once said, “There are no goodbyes. Wherever you’ll be, you’ll be in my heart.”

And if they’re not on your heart, they’ll at least be on your Facebook newsfeed.

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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