The Good in Goodbye: Lessons Learned and Memories Made at YU

By: Elka Wiesenberg  |  May 12, 2020

By Elka Wiesenberg, Opinion Editor

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

I have seen this quote float around the Internet, usually attributed to Winnie the Pooh, so I’ll assign credit there for this incredibly meaningful idea. When it’s hard to leave, that’s usually because there’s something amazing to hold onto.

This is it. I’m graduating. It doesn’t feel real. But as I say farewell to college, I want to acknowledge that I do have something amazing, something that makes saying goodbye so hard — my entire college experience. So I want to stop and say thank you. Thank you, Yeshiva University. 

You have provided a place for me to learn: Torah, madda, yes, but much more. I have learned much Tanach, Jewish History, philosophy, statistics, sciences (both hard and soft), and especially English literature. Beyond the classroom, though, I have truly learned who I am, and I have developed relationships that will impact me forever.

Through my classes and the honors program, I have learned responsibility for myself. Being accountable for schoolwork, attendance at honors events, and my senior thesis, I have been forced to uphold my commitments in order to succeed. I have gained a mentor in so many ways working on my senior thesis, creating a connection with the brilliant Professor Nachumi.

From being an RA and a TA, I learned responsibility for others. I felt what it was like to have someone’s health, safety, and academic future leaning on my help and support. I discovered the differences that I, one little person, could make in others’ lives. I came to love my residents and my students, and I know that no matter what they need, I will be there for them.

As a mock trial member and team captain, I learned delegation skills. I created my first memories of “trial” that will be more precious to me than all the court trials I win one day. I have learned that being a leader requires sacrifice and compromise, and the willingness to admit that you can be wrong.

On student council, I learned to be creative. I learned to be a team player, to do what you have to do, even when you don’t like it. I have learned that sometimes you will have to submit your own will to the greater good, to understand that you won’t always agree, but that’s okay.

Through SCDS, I learned that small roles can be the most fun, as long as it’s the role you’re meant to play. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and broke out of my shell. I also made my first friends at Stern by getting involved.

Because of my relationships with friends and faculty, I learned who I want to be. The middot (character traits) I want to reflect, the way I want to treat others, and the way I want to present myself to the world. I have gained confidence and leadership ability.

Being on the YU Observer, I learned the importance of standing up for what is right. I learned the value of voicing your opinion, despite what anyone says. From the amazing editorial team and staff, I learned hard work, dedication, and commitment to justice. 

So thank you, YU. Thank you, faculty, thank you, students, thank you to everyone I have had the honor to work with. You have all been incredible teachers. These three years will forever be a part of who I am.