Academic life is governed by seasons and, I am afraid, goodbyes. August hits, and it’s moving season. My dear friend and arm’s length student is moving away to a wonderful opportunity in Washington DC, and another, very promising student–the most promising student I have ever had–has chosen to leave our PhD program for another.
In a life as full of goodbyes and moves as mine has been, you learn to live with these things, including being the one left behind. But that doesn’t make you any less sad. You have children so that they will leave you someday, and you teach students for the same reasons. These are not rational things to do. You do them out of gratitude for all the teachers who invested in you, recklessly giving you their time, energy, and ideas, and for the random moments when you get to see your students living up to their potential. As Pascal noted, the heart has reasons which reason can not understand.
We go back to classes again this week and start all over again.