What is this feeling made of? It feels uncomfortable (like worry) yet exciting (like waiting for pizza).
It hums and bumps around underneath the events of a day (like a puppy in the saucepan cabinet).
It’s comprised of equal measures of good and bad, happy and sad, excitement and dread (like leaving my best friend to go on an adventure).
I know what it is: the end of the school year.
They’re going to leave me. They know so much more than they did when we met eight months ago. They are so done with this course. I’m impressed and proud and I’ll miss them when they leave me.
As a group, they have a beautiful curiosity for understanding the organic chemistry that I love. They memorized a hundred reactions, functional group inter-conversions, and about eighty mechanisms. When they don’t know the mechanism, they can reason it out. They can design the synthetic steps to make a molecule, like a drug or polymer, with their incredible minds.
They will leave. The summer will pass. New students will take their places. We’ll start all over again with Lewis structures, understanding why we don’t have to draw the carbons and hydrogens, what those zigzags mean, resonance, formal charges, and functional groups. They’ll cry out in anger when they have to learn their first mechanism. They’ll try to memorize it instead of understanding it. That method will prove useless very quickly. There will be tears and anger and blame. They will complain that organic chemistry is too hard, and it’s all Dr. Lanni’s fault. I’ll worry about them. Offer help, knowing there is no way for me to get into their mind and make them understand. Only they can gain the understanding–through dedicated effort.
The students who will leave have survived this. They complained. They studied. They worried. They worked so hard. I’ll start over, but I’ll always miss the ones who who leave me.