First off, I’m sorry that I neglected this blog for so long! I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post. I know I dropped the ball there, but life became incredibly busy (new internships, job apps, interviews, a minor health issue, and traveling next week). There’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon so this one will be short.
Someone once Googled this question and was directed to my blog. Here’s my answer to whoever may need it:
Just go. Your friendships may falter and slowly fade the longer you’re gone, but that’s a natural part of life that you can’t necessarily prevent, even if you stay. Your real friends will still be there for you if you decide to go abroad. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you’ll learn who your true friends are while you’re gone. They’re the ones who will understand if you haven’t kept in touch over the months because you’ve been having too much fun. Despite all the fun you’ll be having, they’re the ones you’ll miss and think to yourself, “I wish you were here.” They’ll be thinking the same about you. When you finally do come home, they’ll welcome you back with open arms and it will feel like you never even left.
When my absence doesn’t alter your life, then my presence has no meaning in it.
It’s hard to not feel torn between FOMO (fear of missing out) and YOLO (you only live once). I confess that the reason I decided to study abroad for only a semester instead of the year, which I could have done with a little more pushing and one summer class, was mostly because I didn’t want to miss my friends and all of my senior year. I’d been busy with classes and my job during the spring semester, with little time for a social life. To suddenly change my plan and leave my friends in two weeks instead of twelve, knowing that when I returned it would be time to graduate and our friendships would never be the same again… that scared me.
This is what I told myself: While you only have so much time to spend with your friends in college, you only have so many years of being carefree and not tied down by a lot of responsibility like a full-time job. When else can you take three or four months, or even a whole year, to live in another country and see the world? Instead of being afraid of missing out on events at home, think about what you’ll miss by NOT going abroad: the food, the people, the traveling, the personal growth, the independence, the freedom.
I knew I would regret not studying abroad more than I would regret not staying in California. So I went, but as a compromise with myself, I only went for a semester. While my friends were sad to see me go, they knew that this experience was important to me and so they supported me.
Don’t let yourself feel held back by the things you’ll miss. Life at home can go on without you, and it’s time for you to make your own path.
Do it. No regrets.