A Night Of Sad Goodbyes

hound-logo-bottom.jpgOn the way home tonight I stopped by one of Tuscaloosa’s renowned watering holes – The Houndstooth – to join my first years in celebrating the end of finals. I’m a bit of a nostalgic, I must admit, and I felt very wistful chatting with these favorite students, learning about their summer plans, and wishing them good luck for the next few months and the rest of their careers. Every prof has to deal with the annual separation event that is graduation. But when you leave an institution – when you become an Alabama ex-pat screaming Roll Tide in some West Philly taproom – you have to say goodbye to all your students all at once. For me, that’s tough. So I felt a bit blue as I chatted with folks charging off to be pre-DA’s, pre-disability advocates, and pre-death penalty lawyers (don’t worry – corporate America will find somebody to serve as in-house counsel in 2020…just not these people.) And while I drove home in the dusky light, an hour long trek between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, I found myself hoping that some of these students would actually take me up on my offer to stay in touch.

Those are just the 1L’s. Graduation is Saturday. Grab that Kleenex, Nellie. I see showers on the horizon.

You may also like...

9 Responses

  1. Belle Lettre says:

    A very sweet and touching post. I wonder if people, when they hear about the horror that is law school (an impression I sometimes give), forget to ask about the other stories–those of the friendships formed there. Many students do decide to keep in touch. I send Christmas cards to one of my professor’s daughter (she liked me a lot, we bonded over The Sound of Music), although I think he knows that it’s to him too. So much is written about the inappropriateness of professor-student relationships that the real mentoring and friendship that more often occurs is obscured. And I’ve had professors leave to go to other institutions, and it’s always sad…but some of your students will keep in touch. Not just to brag, but to share and keep you a part of the journey that forked off into two paths. Either way, you should feel great knowing that you made an impact on their lives. So often law school classes are these huge lecture mills (especially first year)–so the fact that you have “favorites” (which confirms my theory!) means that impressions were made on both sides, and that’s lovely.

    This has made me unexpectedly nostalgic and makes me think I should email a few professors and let them know what I’m up to!

  2. Al Brophy says:

    Dan, You’re going to be missed very much by your colleagues at UA, as well as your students. And Drexel is very, very fortunate to have you. You’ve added a lot to the intellectual ferment of the law school and the University community. And you’ve always had great counsel and a great sense of humor–a couple of values in too short supply in the legal academy (and pretty much everywhere else).

    Hard as this is to believe, I guess we’ve had 19 years of friendship since those days in the mid 1980s in NYC. Wow the time’s gone by quickly. It’s hard to see you go.

  3. Bubba says:

    We definitely will miss you – it is odd to imagine someone taking your place in the nicely-balanced Criminal Law Professor Triumvirate that we have enjoyed here… I hope the Drexel students can appreciate the significance of anti-bear wrestling legislation.

  4. Dan Filler says:

    When I say “these favorite students”, I don’t mean to suggest some kind of hierarchy among them. I really mean that I have a special attachment to my first years. C’mon Belle…don’t get me in trouble!

  5. A. Plant says:

    You will be missed.

  6. Miriam Cherry says:

    This post captures a lot of what I’ve been feeling lately too. .

    On another note, you’re not the only one who takes tissues to graduation. The students are all happy to leave and get on to the next stage in their life. But it’s sad for me, who is saying goodbye to all these great people I’ve gotten to know.

    I always cry at these things.

  7. Glory says:

    Gees, I got a little misty-eyed just reading this post/comments! Will you really be screaming Roll Tide in some Philadelphia bar? I’m trying to picture it… Well, I certainly concur in the opinion that you will be missed.

  8. Shrimp Boat says:

    Good Luck! You will be missed.

  9. UA Student says:

    How about you just stay at Alabama as Dean Filler? If Randall leaves for UNC, which seems quite likely, would you entertain the idea of staying…please!