I went into my office yesterday for the first time since March and for the last time for, well...ever. While eerily empty, there were still many reminders of what used to be. The walls were still freshly painted, I had a thank you note on my desk from our last fellow, and the remnants of an herbal tea I drank in March sat in my coffee cup.
As I had already said all of my goodbyes to my co-workers (and cried lots of tears), I didn't expect the wave of emotion that hit me as I went through the practically empty space. I walked by the conference room where I interviewed for my position, participated in weekly meetings, had Christmas parties, and baby showers. I passed by the break room where I microwaved many meals and brewed precious cups of coffee. I got off the elevator and saw the first aid room where I spent hours upon hours pumping and working at the same time and the gym where I worked out during lunches.
I remembered conversations with my mentors about challenging concepts, the accomplished feeling when I could help someone else for the first time, and chatting with my co-workers about clothes, exercising, food, kids, and sports. This was the place I spent a large chunk of my time for years. This was the place where I learned how to do the work I do. Saying goodbye was bittersweet.
I cleaned out all of the papers that went with the last 10 years and remembered so many different sponsors, people, and drugs I had on. I checked my email one last time before I turned my computer into IT. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that an email account I have meticulously managed for the past 10 years will just disappear. If it didn't violate policy I would screen shot my inbox for memory's sake.
It hit me that not only am I leaving a job, but I am leaving the lifestyle associated with having a physical office and all of the built-in relationship building advantages that go with it. Being social has never been particularly challenging for me, so I am hoping my virtual chatter can carry me through these distanced times until I can (one day, hopefully) meet my coworkers face to face.
My absolutely amazing co-workers did plan a get together to say goodbye to me last night. We sat outside and spread apart, except for taking pictures.
I will deeply miss this group of people and will always be so thankful for them picking me, a girl who hadn't done a lick of research, but loved math and pharmacokinetics with a passion, to be their fellow and then for hiring me on as a scientist when my fellowship was over. Both of those things had to happen if I was going to get into this field and remain living in Kansas City.
I came home to the girls and Dan watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids and eating BLTs. It was a good day.
I hope you have a great weekend! <3