A 'See You Later' To My Friends Studying Abroad

A 'See You Later' To My Friends Studying Abroad

Your home isn't going anywhere.
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Imagining a whole semester without some of my best friends is not easy. Some will study abroad in the fall and when they come back, others will go in the spring. While junior year is a well-known and famous year for studying abroad, I'm not ready for a semester without my best friends, but of course I'm excited for them. I'm beyond excited to hear all about their adventures; from Australia to Europe and everywhere in between, they're truly going to have the time of their lives. I can't wait for the stories and the lessons, only to one day travel to these places myself. So my friends, this is for you.

To my friends studying abroad,

It's extremely important to know that this isn't 'goodbye', it's 'see you later'. This is for an entire semester, but this time apart will not change our friendship one bit. I know you're filled with both excitement and fear, but once your planes land, you'll be beginning one of the most memorable adventures of your life. Don't worry about your friends at home; we'll still be here. We'll hold down the fort until you come home, but until then, just enjoy your adventures.

Whether this time apart is for one semester or many years, it wouldn't change a thing. The friendships we've made these past two years are full of too much strength to ever break. Explore. Adventure. Take pictures. Make memories. Make friends. Do all of this and bring it all home to share.

While your abroad, be sure to be safe. Take caution and call anytime. There may be a time change, some small and some large, but we'll without a doubt find time to talk. Nothing will change while you're gone; the only change will be that you're not here, but you'll be back and we already can't wait.

From what you've told me, I know you're nervous. You may be nervous to leave friends and family for a few months or maybe you're nervous to travel, but whatever reasoning these nerves are jumping about, it's normal. These worries don't need to include friendships because we will be here when you come home. We will be ready to welcome you back into the U.S. and are already counting down the days until this happens.

So, speaking for all of your friends who will be at college, make sure to have the time of your lives and keep in touch, but make time for yourselves as well and time to explore. This isn't goodbye, it's see you later. "Goodbye" can imply negativity or the chance of not seeing one another again, but that's not what this is. This is "see you later". We'll have open arms ready for you when you step foot on campus again.

Go see the world and we'll see you later.

Cover Image Credit: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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Looking Back At My Past

When I moved out of my dad's house at 18, I learned several life lessons the hard way. It was an uphill battle to figure out "adulting." I hope this will give some people the ability to learn certain things without going down the hard path.

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Life has a way of teaching lessons when you are overwhelmed. The more you are exposed to, the easier it is to learn these lessons. This article goes into what I wish I knew when I first got onto my own. There were many struggles, hardships and tough times you go through when you start your walk of life alone. But with it comes victories, and the knowledge of being able to get through anything. I hope when people read this article they will see what I put as a priority to learn when you become independent.

1. Money!

Learn how to budget! Learn how you're bank works, learn about taxes. Yes these seem like boring subjects, but money, or the lack thereof, can and will make your life miserable. This is something that many adults have trouble with, and it will put stress onto you. Just taking an afternoon to learn about what you need to do for your money needs will reduce stress.

2. Make at least one friend at the place you live.

The first apartment complex I lived at, I met a (I think) 45-50 year old man. I will not actually say his name but for this purpose his name is "Tim". Tim had lived in that complex for about 20 years, and he knew the staff and the residents. If I needed help or someone to talk to. He was more of a father figure than a creepy old guy. I was new to the town, living by myself, in the middle ground between a couple of in-town gangs. I needed all the help I could get, and when you have a connection it helps.

3. Know the differences between needs and wants.

Figure out your needs: food, rent, utilities. This type of thing ties into money and time. Do not invest too much time in people that are not good for you. Invest your time in your interests, hobbies, things that make you content. When you put your time in someone who at the end isn't worth it, it will occupy your mind months after they are gone.

4. Stay in contact with your family. 

My family is pretty distant to each other. We could probably go a year without talking and it wouldn't bug me. My mom and I have gotten close recently. Generally the 'after high school' years. My mom has helped me through hard times, she has leaded me an ear, or some tough advice. Yes we've had our hard times, but there are many things that I have learned from her. I understand that once you get out on your own, it is easy to stop talking to them; especially if you had a rough time growing up. A story for another time, but if you can stay in contact even if it's as little as a text from now and then. Family is something that is hard to replace once they are gone.

5. The way life teaches lessons. 

Life will teach lessons easy at first, then they will get harder to learn as we get older. An example of this is keeping your room clean as a child, then when you have an apartment. There is more cleaning to do. If you add kids and a house to that, it's even harder. My mom has an odd way of explaining this lesson. "It's like getting hit with a 2x4." The lesson first hits you, and it's small like a golf ball. Then the baseball hits you if you didn't learn before. Before you know it you get hit by a 2x4 and the lesson will hurt in someway. So please learn it before you get hit with a 2x4.

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