Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great Friday so far.
It’s been kind of a doozy of a week for me. This past Wednesday I found out that Westwood College, the place I have called “home” for almost a year now, the place that took a chance on me and let me spread my kick-ass and cooky librarian wings, the place that was far more than a job but a calling and a passion project, this wonderful place will be closing its doors by the end of December.
As I sat with my fellow coworkers, the professors and program chairs who have spent the last 5, 10 even 20 years selflessly giving their time, their energy, their love to this school and these students, trying to soak up the news, my heart absolutely broke. Westwood College is/was different from a lot of other colleges and universities. The student population have seen struggle, have had to overcome obstacles in their life that most students have never had to face. They didn’t have people in the lives that necessarily believed in them, or who told them time and time again that they couldn’t be or make anything of themselves, couldn’t achieve their dreams.
That is until they came to Westwood. Our amazing faculty saw the potential in these students, recognized that they had challenges to overcome, but more importantly saw that they had the power to succeed. The staff at Westwood were more than professors, advisors, and program directors, they were guidance counselors, friends and the biggest cheerleaders you can imagine. They didn’t work for a paycheck or ask for any recognition, they did it because they loved their students.
The first thing that came to my mind when I was given the news wasn’t that I was losing my job, but instead it was “What does this mean for our students? What’s going to happen to them? Are they going to be okay?”
The past couple of days I’ve run the gamete of emotions: angry, sad, confused, scared, upset, worried and anxious. Oh, there were a lot of feels happening. There still are. I’m not quite sure what to think, what to do. I want to be strong for my students for the remainder of the term, I want to be there for them, but if I’m being honest, there are times where I just can’t. I lock myself in the bathroom stall and have a good cry. I go out to my car and pray for strength and courage.
But I’ve realized that that’s okay. It’s normal and very much needed.
I’ve shared a lot of tears and given a lot of hugs over the past few days, but the thing that has really stood out to me was how appreciative each and every student has been. They’re disappointed, as well they should be, but despite everything, they’ve all expressed just how much they’re going to miss me, how much I helped them, how I inspired them to be great, how I believed in them. My heart couldn’t have smiled more, couldn’t have been more full.
Dammit here come the tears again. I should really think about taking up stock in Kleenex.
The reason why I decided to become a librarian was to in some way make a difference in the lives of people, to inspire them, to make them think and do and discover. I’m incredibly sad that I have to say goodbye to my Westwood family in just a few short weeks, but the lessons I have learned, the friendships I have built and the impact I have made on the lives of these students will forever stay with me. And I hope with them.
As for what comes next, I’m not too sure. Am I scared? Absolutely! Am I a little worried that I’m not going to a)find a job and b)find a job that I love? Of course! I’m more than freaking the baked beans out a little bit. It’s natural to feel this way. But I’m also hopeful that everything will work out in the end, that it’ll be okay.
In the meantime there’s always Ben & Jerry’s. Just alllll of the Ben & Jerry’s.
I was talking with one of my best friends the other night about everything and he said something that’s really stuck with me:
“Change, the unknown? Of course it’s scary. It’s terrifying! But it can also lead to some of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. You just have to have a little faith.”
You know what? He was and is absolutely right!
I will take everything that this job has given me, the skills and lessons, the smiles and the laughter, and most important the memories and carry them with me to this new and exciting chapter of my life.
I’ve left my [book]mark on Westwood.
Now it’s time to do it again.