Last Sunday, in a parked car on East 7th Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was the first time I cried about graduating. I’m a big crier—I cry when I taste food I’ve been craving for a long time, when I read (and reread) some of the many books spanning my five bookshelves, when I see miniature versions of large objects. I cry when I’m angry, when I’m frustrated, when I’m nervous, or anxious or sad. I cry when I think about how much I love my friends and when I imagine the perfect shade of blue I want to paint my future bedroom walls.
But over the past few months, I haven’t cried, or really felt much, about graduation. My therapist tells me not to worry—that I will process when the time is right, when my body and my brain catch up with one another. She tells me not to rush it or force myself to feel something that I’m not ready for. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how I must be damaging myself by repressing all the emotions I had to be having about all the upcoming goodbyes and endings.
So when I sobbed in that car, I thought: This is it. The Big Cry I’ve been waiting for. But, in many ways, I think it was just the beginning of me processing how to say goodbye to so many places, people, and things I love. And today as I write this, one day after that huge cry, I’m only a few hours away from my last layout on this magazine that I love. Only a few hours away from my last late night with this staff who make me proud, who take my breath away with their creativity, and who each time I see them make me a better person.
The Observer has been, in many ways, a gift-giving constant amongst scary, turbulent times. It has been a place where I have found stability in my time at Tufts that has been filled with both loss and recovery, with fear and fulfillment, with loneliness and with deep, soul-stirring love. I am sad and scared to leave this place where I have carved out a home, and where I have found a family who teaches me so much.
And in this semester, when so many things are about to end, when everything feels like a question, there are still things that I find to be true: The Observer is filled with abundant love. With a deep care for people and for stories. With students who falter, who make mistakes, but who always work to be better. The Observer has taught me what care can look like, what compassion and honesty can feel like, and how to hear the beating of the world differently. The Observer has held me through traumatic losses and triumphant successes, has taught me to feel at home in myself, and both its staff and this tiny design lab where I have spent so many hours will be one of my hardest goodbyes. But what brings me comfort is that the Observer will be left in highly capable and caring hands. The hands of its staff, the hands of its writers, and especially yours, the readers, who will keep it growing and building. So, thank you, Reader, for walking with me along this journey. Thank you for making this a hard, but sweet, goodbye.