Goodbye, My Darlings….

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Dear graduates,

It’s that time of year again; when I have to say goodbye to another group of AMAZING students.  Now, If there’s one thing I have learned over the last few years it’s that I can’t get away with not writing one of these goodbye messages where I reference a bunch of old movies (see here for past letters: Elf, Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, Mean Girls).  I tried to tell students I didn’t want to this year.  I said, “but words are useless! Gobble, gobble, gobble…too much, darling, too much!”  They wouldn’t allow it, though.  They said, “Pull yourself together! The public is in danger!”  So now I’m sitting in my office trying to write this letter. I spent the first couple of minutes just swearing at my computer… for that is my creative process.

But don’t worry, I’m on it.  And like the other goodbye letters, this one is going to be incredible… too.

We had a pretty amazing year; the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, the PSI Talks, our open house.  I was exhausted when it was all over.  I was like “We’re dead! We survived but we’re dead!”  But you all helped push me through it as you always do.  In the end, it was totally wicked!

By now, most of you know that I can’t be at graduation this year.  It’s not my fault.  My wife is graduating on the same day and I can’t be at both.  I tried to convince her.  I was like, “We are talking about the greater good!” but she was like, “Greater good?’ I am your wife! I’m the greatest good you are ever gonna get!” She’s right, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that I had big plans for that day.  I was finally gonna tell you all what I think.  I had a whole speech about good guys and bad guys and those shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings.  I was gonna make funny puns like, “ice of you to drop by”, but not anymore….

The truth is, I really don’t want you all to go.  In fact, I’ve been masterminding plans to keep you here.  Those plans mostly involve failing you so you have to retake classes, but I’ve also considered sabotaging the library elevator to keep you stuck on the top floor along with other elaborate evil-villain-like traps.  Honestly, nothing is beneath me.  Now I’ve got your attention, don’t I? Now you respect me, because I’m a threat!  That’s the way it works. Turns out, there are a lot of people, whole countries, who want respect, and they will pay through the nose to get it!

You sly dogs! You had me monologuing.

So that’s it.  You’re all done.  You’ve worked hard, you’ve done great things, but it’s time to go.  Once you’re gone, don’t look back.  I never look back, darlings. It distracts me from the now.  So don’t worry about me.  I’ll be fine.  In fact, if you want to bet on something, bet on your own life!  But when you’re out there, doing your thing, just trust me that I’m your number one fan!

In the meantime, keep being amazing.



PS. I’m going to give you one last piece of unsolicited advice.  On your first day of work, remember, even though you deserve them… No capes!

A Goodbye Message That Will Make You Smile… and smiling’s my favorite!

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Dear graduates,

OK, so by now everybody knows that I end each year with a goodbye message that is full of little hidden references to some relatively popular movie that students like to quote (e.g., Mean Girls, Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids).  This year, though, I was like, “no way, the best way to spread graduation cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”  So, sorry, you bunch of cotton-headed ninny-muggins, there will be no such goodbye message this year.

Instead, I’m just going to talk about the great year we had and how much I’m going to miss you all.  We did some really great stuff together: The Psych Open House, our Mannequin Challenge, the PSI Talks, MPA, passing through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest….

I remember when the year first started and I was so optimistic about our time together.  I planned out our whole first day: We’ll make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Toll-House cookie dough as fast as we can, but it never happened.  I thought we could all be friends.  I know I sound like a broken record but we are all buddies. You’re my best friends.  That’s it.  You’re my best friends.

I quickly discovered through Rate My Professor, though, that you all don’t want to be friends.  I gotta tell you, when you write things like “you sit on a throne of lies” or “you stink. You smell like beef and cheese!” or “I don’t know why, but I’ve never liked you,” it hurts (especially that last one).  I’m a human being, you know.  I’m vulnerable… like a peach (what’s more vulnerable than a peach?).

What makes it worse is that all my other colleagues get such nice comments.  Students are always writing things like “You’re the best! You should be on a Christmas card!” or “I like your nice purple dress. Very purpley” or even “I think you’re really beautiful and I feel really warm when I’m around you and my tongue swells up.”

Son of a nutcracker! Why can’t I get that kind of feedback?!

I’m worried it’s because I have a hard time focusing when I’m in class or advising.  I’ll see students in the back of the room talking and I’ll be like, “I like to whisper too.”  Or I’ll start my advising sessions by blurting out “what’s your favorite color?”  Or worse, students will try and tell me what’s going on with them and I’ll be like, “Franscico! That’s fun to say!”

The truth is nobody around here listens to me.  I got really good ideas. I just try to go with the flow you know.  I gotta get out of the flow.  I’m in the flow that’s what got me here.  I’m 45+ years old and I got nothin to show for it.

OK, I’ve gotten distracted again.

In closing, let me say how proud I am of you and how sad I am to see you go.  You did it! Congratulations! World’s best… students! Great job, everybody! It’s great to be here.  I’m so proud of you all.  Truly.  Great job.  Can’t wait to see you graduate on Saturday!  I love you. I love you. I love youuuuuuuu!

Your Buddy,

Ryan C. Martin

PS. Good news… I saw a dog today.

A Goodbye Message (that you will climb like a tree)

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Dear Graduates,

Once again, I’ve been asked to write a goodbye message like the Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect ones I wrote last year and the year before.  This year, though, I wasn’t really feeling it.  I kept trying but everything just came out like a very sad handwritten book.

Anyway, instead, I just thought I would tell you all how thankful I am to have been able to teach you these last few years.  People ask me why I enjoy working with college students so much.  They say things like “when they reach that age, ugh. Disgusting. They smell, they’re sticky, they say things that are horrible.”  I get that, but I just really love teaching.

And I think I’m pretty good at it.  There were days when my lectures were so good, it felt like it was coming out of me like lava!  Honestly! I had a student shout out to me, “You’re really doing it, aren’t ya?”  The funny thing about teaching, though, is that even when I think I’m doing well, I sometimes get terrible course evaluations.  Students write things like, “you know, you’re not as popular as you think you are,” “you look like an old mop, “I feel bad for your parents,” or even “you’re an old, single loser who’s never going to have any friends.”  I’m not going to lie, that last one hurt a little.  I mean, why can’t you be happy for me and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person?

Fortunately, though, for every five or six really mean ones, there’s at least one sort of nice one.  Last semester, someone wrote that I am more beautiful than Cinderella and that I smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine!  It was a weird thing to write, but nice.

Of course, being a professor isn’t all about teaching.  I do a lot of research, advise students, and even supervise a few student organizations.  I’ll tell you something, students really tell us some deep secrets sometimes.  They think we’re just like priests… except we would tell everybody afterwards.   I had way too many advisees too.  I think I overcommitted with 9.  Six is a comfortable number.  My student organizations were into some weird stuff too that kept me on my toes.  One student suggested an event where we all come dressed as our favorite Pixar character, and another student was like, “or a Fight Club, a female fight club.”  I had to put a stop to that quick. Thanks. But…um, no way! No way in hell!

But enough about me.  This should be about you and the journey ahead.  I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to be tough.  You’re going to be like, “help me, I’m poor.” You’re going to try and blame the world for your problems.  You going to hit rock-bottom, but I want you to know that hitting bottom is a good thing. Because there’s nowhere to go but up.  Plus, I don’t associate with people who blame the world for their problems. You are your problem. You are also your solution.  Do you think my life has always been easy?  I had it rough when I was in school.  They called me a freak. Do you think I let that break me? Think I went home to my mommy crying; ‘Oh, I don’t have any friends.’ No, I did not. You know what I did? I pulled myself up. I studied really hard. I read every book in the library and now I work for the government. I have the highest possible security clearance. Don’t repeat that!

Whoa, sorry about that.  I’m obviously working through some stuff.

Don’t worry about me, though.  I’m gonna be fine. So don’t worry, okay? I’m gonna be…I’m gonna be fine. I am fine. And besides, you need to blaze the trail for me and then report back and tell me what’s coming.  So, in short, I would just like to say to you and to everyone here, “Gracias para vivar en la casa, en la escuelas, en… en la azul… “markada”. Tienes con “bibir” en las Fortuashla?” and gracias!

Yup, I would like to invite you to no longer live with us.  It’s time to graduate. This is so awkward. I really want you to leave, but I don’t know how to say it without sounding like a… jerk.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love you all and will miss you.  Honestly, I really will miss each and every one of you.  You are such a stone-cold pack of weirdos, and I am so proud!


Ryan Martin

PS. If this all came out wrong, I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end it came out of.

A Goodbye Message to Our Graduates… that you will eat up like a cheesecake

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Dear Graduates,

I wanted to drop you all a quick note to say congratulations on your upcoming graduation.  A few of you asked that I do something for you like the Mean Girls goodbye I wrote to last year’s graduates.  I was like, “yeah, that’s not a thing, and you’re not the boss of me.” Instead, I just want to say goodbye in my own way and not feel pressured to try and include a bunch of quotes about flying Mexican food or whether or not synchronized lady dancing to a Mariah Carey chart-topper is lame (it’s not by the way).

The truth is, this is a tough group to say goodbye to.  It makes me sad.  I don’t know if that is a good feeling or an incorrect feeling (Feelings are hard.  Sometimes I have the feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think, ‘Mmm, better not.’).  I just know that lately, when it comes to saying goodbye, I wanna do something else (we could re-live my parents’ divorce?)  It will be ok, though.  I am a survivor, but I have to pull back because I am limited.

We did a lot of great things this year: Psychology March Madness, the Smile Squad, February Psych Challenge, when we wrestled crocodiles and dingoes simultaneously (just to name a few).  One of the best things we did this year, though, was the NAMIwalk.  You may think we just show up and walk for something like that but, nope, the presidents of PHD and Psi Chi made it very clear, “We will practice, and I trust you will add your own cardio.”  I was like, “Yeah, no. Don’t put me down for cardio” but that didn’t stop them.  It was a great walk and we all had a great time, until I realized I parked in a lot where they do not validate.  Plus, if I’m being honest, I realized a couple minutes in that I should have taken that cardio tip more seriously.  Maybe some horizontal running?

I got to have most of you in class too, which was a joy.  I’m impressed by how smart, talented, funny, and curious you all are.  Granted, it wasn’t always pretty.  Like that time I had to tell a student, “That’s not a real word, but keep trying. You will get there” or the time I had to write on a student’s exam, “not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate.”  I’m sorry if I was too rough on you, but I am my father’s son and he always says ‘if at first you don’t succeed’…’pack your bags’.

Plus, it’s not like you were always nice to me.  At least one of you wrote “Is it me, or did we just take a left turn into snooze-ville?” on my course evaluations.  That hurt.  Someone tried to take it out of the evals but I said, “Leave it. It fuels my hate fire.”  So you know, I’m not a total nerd. I also happen to be super-into close-up magic.  Plus, I’m good at modern dance, olden dance, and mermaid dancing (it’s a lot of floor work).  That said, if I could sing a lick, I would. But I can’t. And I hate myself everyday because of it.

But enough about me.  This week is about you.  So in closing, let me say this.  I’ll miss you.  I’m serious…  Dixie Chicks serious.  It’s been an incredible experience working with you all and I’m thankful you chose to study psychology at UWGB.  I don’t like saying goodbye, but like I’ve told you… endings are the best part.

Hands in,

Ryan Martin
Chair of Psychology-UW-Green Bay
Lead Singer- The Minstrel Cycles

PS. I’m sorry for the name of my singing group.  That’s an unfortunate name.

A goodbye letter (that’s full of secrets) to our graduating psych majors

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Dear graduating seniors,

I wanted to drop you all a quick note to congratulate you on your exceptional accomplishments.  You have all done very well and I’m proud of you.  Forgive me if I get a little too sentimental here.  I just have a lot of feelings.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on our time together… reflecting on some of the highlights.  Classes we’ve had together, bowling with the student orgs, how on Wednesdays we wear pink, and other grool moments. I think my favorite was the research methods poster session, though.  I always thought it was so fetch and was impressed by your hard work, your dedication, and your thoughtfulness.  You may think there’s a limit to how impressed I was… but the limit does not exist.  I realize some of you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did and some even wanted to leave early.  I remember thinking, “I will keep you here till 4:00 if I have to.”

I wish I had been able to get to know you all a little better.  I have about 60 advisees (I can’t help it that I’m popular) and that makes it difficult to get to know students as well as I would like.  Plus, sometimes students just aren’t interested in getting to know me.  I can tell these things.  I’m kind of psychic.  I have a 5th sense.  It’s like I have ESPN or something. What’s just as bad, though, is that sometimes my advisees can be a little long-winded.  I remember one meeting I had with a student where she went on and on, telling story after story like how she’s totally rich because her dad invented Toaster Streudels and how one time she met John Stamos on a plane (and he told her she was pretty). Anyway, I found out after about 30 minutes that she doesn’t even go here!

I realize I’m rambling a bit so let me just conclude with this.  As you embark on your next adventure, some of you may feel overwhelmed about what’s ahead.  You may think, yeah, I can’t do this. You’re gonna be havin’ a lot of urges.  You may wish to get back to the way things were.  You may even wish that you could bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles and we’d all eat and be happy.  Just don’t do it. Promise?

Ryan Martin
Math Enthusiast/Bad Ass M.C.

PS. I should probably stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen.