Things tend to be temporary for me. All my life, I have hated schedules - a fixed routine is constricting, a plan is limiting. This affects most things in my life, as I hate the slow tick of the clock, have endless energy, fear not experiencing everything, and commitment is rare. When the ground beneath my feet becomes too familiar I see it as a sign to change paths.
So when I began my study abroad program in Dublin, I thought that since the relationships I was going to form all had expiration dates, I could convince myself that I was less committed to them. I knew that the people in my program would become good friends because we would be spending immense amounts of time together and we would all be out of our comfort zone together, which is ironically comforting. But never once did I think they would become life-long friends.
|Two Americans, two Fench, and a German walk into a pub...|
It’s bittersweet to say that I have never been more wrong. Bitter, of course, because I know I’m going to miss my friends and not being with them is a thought that makes my throat close up. Sweet, because becoming friends with these people has been one of the best experiences in my life - above exploring a new city or experiencing a new culture. Yes, those things are valuable, but they lose so much worth when you can’t share them with anyone. My relationships here have taught me so much about myself, but more than that they have made Dublin home in a way nothing else could. How boring my time would have been if I could easily say goodbye.
I know I can’t slow down the remaining time and that saying goodbye is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Being abroad has taught me the harsh lesson that days can slip through my hands as easily as water. And when that thought hit me, something changed and I tried frantically grasping onto the days. Except grasping water makes it leave my hands more quickly than if I were letting drip through my fingers. No matter how hard I try, time will always be bigger than me. I’ve learned that the only way to combat it is to enjoy every second it gives me.
My advice is simple, but not always easy - open yourself up to new relationships. Don’t be hesitant to tell your friends how much you appreciate them. Rally, always always always rally, no matter how tired you are. Let your friends know what you value in them. Discuss what you’re going to miss about each other. Never take a moment for granted. It’s true, forming connections makes saying goodbye harder. But don’t be afraid, because in the end it’s the most valuable, rewarding, and fun part. The days fall a lot softer when they’re trailed by laughter. Besides, the friendships might not be temporary, but the goodbye can always be.
|Some of my best friends and I at Trinity College on a sunny day|
Alice Corcoran is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior at Texas A&M University.
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