Last night was my last class. Ever. Done. I haven't not been in school since Kindergarten. I'm not sure I'm ready, to be honest. It's so familiar. It's how I've identified myself.
But beyond that, my doctoral program has been unlike any other. It's been intense, not just academically, but emotionally and relationally. I have been with the same group of about 20 people for four straight years. We have gone through a lot together. For me, I've gone through one of the lowest points of my life (my aunt's death) and one of the highest (my marriage), with these friends lifting me up the whole time. Some of the faculty, too.
Sure, we'll see each other when we walk next May (I don't graduate until I finish a one-year internship) and at various events, like weddings. But we're used to seeing each other twice a week for six hours at a time.
Last night I couldn't get it to sink it. It felt like any other class. But it wasn't. I don't know when I'll see many of them again. We'll talk, but it's not the same. We're all thrilled to be done with class, but it's still sad.
In therapy, we try to make the end of treatment as smooth as possible and talk it through. It often feels odd because we don't do this in the rest of our lives. We don't do this with school at all (graduation ceremonies help, but not really). Most of me wants to just pretend nothing has changed and let things dissolve away. It's easier. For the moment...
But endings happen in our lives. They're a critical component. And they have spiritual implications, which can be positive or negative, depending on how we handle them. But in order to make a positive impact, we must handle them, which is not easy. Having people around to help you through them is an important way of getting through them, I believe.
I've had a lot of endings in the last couple of months, and I think more are coming soon. I think it will be helpful to have some time off of my biggest responsibilities to recuperate. We often don't let ourselves have the time to adjust. Let's see how well I do (my guess: not as well as I should :) ).