Friday, August 8, 2014

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.” 
-- John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

“Every farewell combines loss and new freedom.”
-- Mason Cooley

Dean Ishee and the Ishites
2013 Halloween Prank
For me, saying farewell is always hard. It’s the good-byes that are easy. So for the last three weeks I’ve been trying to say farewell to my home of the last five years – TWU Health Studies. I have started writing this post numerous times.  I even have a few rough drafts, but nothing ever seemed to fit. Finally, after percolating and mulling and tossing paper in the trash, I decided to keep it simple and share the three areas that I am the most grateful for.


Most people don’t know that I came to Health Studies with a specific goal in mind and that was to get healthier. I believed that coming to work everyday to a place where health and promoting health education was the focus would help me focus on my own goals. It did!

Over a period of about nine months I learned about myself, my eating habits and stress triggers, exercise that I liked and hated, and more. By the end of those nine months I had lost 40 lbs.  Best of all, I felt better and had solid strategies in place for maintaining my weight and eating healthier.


Graduate Student Appreciation Week
I have long had an interest in communication. Working at TWU Health Studies gave me wonderful opportunities to continue practicing and learning those skills from working with students of all ages to continually trying to find better ways to communicate online to tinkering with humor as a communication tool.

Beyond Health Studies though, I had the occasion to practice my communication skills by working with people from a variety of departments. One of the most meaningful learning experiences I had was helping to lead the efforts to start a Toastmasters club on at Texas Woman’s University. I am so grateful to the many people who assisted me, provided support, and taught me (whether they knew it or not) about collaboration and communication. We were successful and in September 2013 the Pioneer Power Speakers was officially chartered!

Laughter and Fun

The 10th Floor Gang for
Morgan's Birthday Celebration
The last thing I want to share my gratitude for is the tremendous amount of fun and laughter I have enjoyed over the last five years. I have held a lot of different positions with different universities and organizations over the years. Nowhere have I had as much fun, laughter, and joy as I did at TWU Health Studies.

We have done some crazy things over the years. Pranks, wisecracks, pink mustaches, silly emails, Monkey, and Star Wars gear were all a part of being on the Health Studies team. But the fun, sense of humor, and joy extended beyond Health Studies up to some of our senior administrators, who helped foster that kind of environment.

None of this is to say that we all sat around the campfire singing Kumbayah all the time. No, we had our frustrations and disagreements. At the end of the day though, what I saw and heard and felt was that these people believed in what they were doing, enjoyed what they were doing, and worked hard every single day to – as I always say – “make it a great day!”

So as I start on my new journey I wish you well and hope that you will make it a great day because it is indeed your choice.

PS - Kudos to you if you recognized the reference in the title!

Morgan O’Donnell served as both  the graduate academic advisor and more recently as program director for TWU Health Studies.  You can follow her adventures in the Land of Enchantment at  Morgan continues to tinker with humor in her alter ego as Mo Solo both on Tumblr and Facebook.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

You were an inspiration to so many, you will be greatly missed!
Well written farewell but I personally hope for it to be just until we meet again.