The Farewell Framework


As the year draws to an end and the trimester draws to a conclusion, familiar phrases and words keep popping up in daily conversation and my social media posts. Finals. Graduation. Last Class. Farewell. The last one resonates and rings for a fair bit. It’s a time where we look back on 2013, look back on what we’ve done with our degree thus far and, for some, a look back to look forward.

In graduate school, goodbyes are never easy. We mask it with celebrations like commencement, galas and other parties, in the hope that we forget one definite truth: most of us will not be together with a bunch of “misfits” like those we’ve grown to love and lean on, ever again.

So, with those dour and dreary thoughts in place, I present to you (in typical b-school fashion) ‘The Farewell Framework’. As with every good framework, this too has an excellent acronym – the 5 Ds!

Determine: Determine ways to make the transition a slow process. Plan to think about what it means to leave the current stage of your life so as to prepare yourself and enjoy your remaining time.

Discover: Discover what? Significance. Step back, relax and take some time out to reflect, review, and reminisce (3 Rs!) on your life. At this crossroad, look for the big perspective on your life and the current transition that faces you.

Describe: Describe the significance to friends, family, and most importantly – T-birds. It’s helpful to share with others how you feel about them and what their absence in your life will mean to you. While this could hurt, it will leave you (and those you confide in) with special thoughts and memories about the relationship you had and will have.

Delight: Recognize the delight in what you have achieved and in the adventures that lie ahead. Cherish the amazing memories and the possessions that will always remind you of relationships and activities. Celebrate you have learned, how far you have come from when you started this part of your life. Feel good about what the future holds, without completely ignoring challenges and obstacles that may come your way.

Define: We know the familiar saying: Change is the only constant in our lives. So we need to seek to define the areas of continuity in life. Doing so will allow you to remind yourself of how your life will still remain the same. Friends, family and, perhaps, location could provide and oasis of consistency in the desert of change. Though you could be leaving behind some cherished friends and loved ones, you can seek ways to continue to enrich the experience at least some of these relationships. Don’t forget that in some ways, the person you are now is because of past relationships and activities.

To repeat one of my favourite quotes, “Every song has an end but is that a reason not to enjoy the music?” To those still in school, make your music rich with the right verses, lilt and tunes. To those we will soon bid adieu and call alumni, never forget the sweet music you made whilst at Thunderbird!

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