Saying Goodbye to Grad Students

Well, its nearly May, and while many are looking forward to summer internships and jobs or summer classes, there are a handful graduating and moving onto better things. For those of us left behind, this can be hard. Especially when it’s graduate students who have been around for most of our undergraduate career.

Upperclassmen are hard to say goodbye too. Every year more and more are gone. Though there exists wonderful friendships between lower and upper classmen, there is something entirely different and special about the relationship between undergraduate students and graduate students in a lab. They have experienced it all. They have gone through undergrad, know how to do research and make posters, and have just lived a lot more. But they are also still students and broke like the rest of us. Learning from them and spending time talking to them is a great way to become a better researcher and person.

I joined my lab second semester of freshman year. R was on his fourth year and B was on his third. At the time, R was supposed to graduate end of my sophomore year. But due to complications, this was extended to this summer. B submitted his thesis a few weeks ago and is defending this Wednesday. R is finishing his thesis and will likely defend when I am gone this summer. Seeing them accomplish this monumental task of earning heir PhDs has been amazing. B was so happy about submitting his thesis. I even got to view his defense early, where I am one of the people acknowledged in his final slide. I know I am going to be on the same slide for R’s presentation.

These guys have grown to be like brothers to me. R is always concerned about me and asks how I’m doing in classes. If I look tired, he will tell me to take it easy and get some rest. B will ask me about weekend plans and Halloween costumes. We have super lengthy conversations about places, events, and just life in general when I’m supposed to be working. R should not have moved his desk downstairs and left B and me alone together upstairs.

Saying goodbye to these guys who I have seen pretty much weekly for nearly 2 and ½ years is going to be very hard. However, I have also seen them struggle and spend 14 hours in the office and lab. I have seen them work extremely hard for this. And I am so proud to see them get their PhDs and will most definitely joke with them about being doctors.