Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to go away

Some of you are graduating. Some of you are going elsewhere.
It happens. Circle of life.
The sun sets on Ole Miss. Look away, look away...
We call our colleges "alma mater" (mother of the soul...or, to be cool, soul mutha) because it is supposed that in the hallowed halls of academia our souls were brought to fruition and now we emerge fully formed men and women of the world.
Or, more to the point, "I Graduated. Will Work For Loan Payments."

When you leave, you will want to leave with some grace.

Here are some tips on making your "bye" good:
This never belonged on your wall. But now it really doesn't.
1. Don't take too much with you. Leave college at college. The plastic crates, the beer posters, the Ole Miss bedding and towel set, that road-sign you took from that one crazy road trip all goes in the dump. You don't want it. No. You don't. You get to start over. Purge!!! Pass it on to someone else.
When I left seminary, I threw my rockin' black and white cool punkish blanket and sheets into the hall (clean) for one of the needy seminarians to take anonymously. Turns out, a priest going through mid-life took them. It made me sad. Makes me. It makes me sad for him. 20 years ago.

2. Don't start dating someone this week if you are graduating. It's clinging. You're clinging to the campus by getting an anchor-squeeze. Don't. It's awkward telling someone in Oxford, "Hey, let's see each other more" today and then like next Friday be all, "Crap. How do I ditch this dating thing? I'm in Jackson and have a job!!!" I did that. And it sucked. I am to this day figuring out how to break up with that girl, whatshername, that I met one week before graduation. Not answering the phone worked but still, the psychic weight. It burns.

Your old professors can come in handy in the future.
Who knows when you'll need a mind meld?
3. Tell the good folks how much you enjoyed them. The prof who meant something to you. The staff members in the house. Some of the townies. Especially us older people. It's not that we need to hear it but we usually remember that you came by and will be very kind when you ask us in a few months for referral.

4. Make some gift, when you're able, to your alma mater. Become a contributing alum. Hearts grow fond but money never forgets.

We can all become "Blue" and we know what happened to him.
5. Let the future be the future. When you go, don't show back up and keep telling everyone how awesome it was back in your time (last month). Let it go. Just go. You are dead weight and your stories are not inspiring. You're not Lance Armstrong. You're not even Stretch Armstrong. You're Blue, man! You've become an old man.  In time, you'll be able to tell your NEW friends old stories then there will be a time soon after where you won't want to tell the stories so much and not too far down you'll be telling people that you didn't do any of that stuff...YOU WERE IN SCHOOL TO LEARN!

I'm sure there are other things, but these have worked out for me. God willing, I won't be needing my own advice for quiet some time!