So my flight is booked, clothes are in the process of being packed (sort of), classes are being organized, visa is approved, and even with all this done I still have 2 weeks until I leave! Which gives me a lot of time to just sit…and wait.
For those who do not know, the University of York does not begin orientation for international students until October 3rd. While other Study Abroad students have been at their universities and programs for as long as 2-4 weeks, I have been home. Waiting this long to go abroad has caused me a great deal of anxiety (the good kind), but it has also been a blessing in disguise. I’ve spent extra time with family, navigated the UK Border Agency website in order to obtain my Visa, and worked an extra month to earn some money for next year. But as I said, I’ve also had a lot of down time to reflect and plan for my year in York. And here are the thoughts of a restless Holy Cross student waiting to going abroad:
Thought Number 1: I was fortunate enough to be hired as a summer-time cashier at a local grocery store. And I believe everyone needs to work in a grocery store during his or her life. Seriously! It’s practically a right of passage. The people I’ve met have been great. I have had helpful co-workers and supervisors. I even met a couple that lives in York, England as they visited family here in the states!!! What are the odds? Even the occasional disgruntled customer coming through my cash register line was an experience worth having. I just count my blessing to have found a job on such short notice and for only the summer. Everyone has shared his or her support and best wishes for my upcoming year abroad.
Thought Number 2: There is no better feeling than hearing the words…”Your Visa has been approved!” While working and organizing the details of the year ahead, I successfully pulled through my Visa Application. Even with a couple bumps along my Visa journey, it all worked out. To any student wanting to go abroad next year…the biggest piece of advice I have is stay organized, make a time chart of when everything is due, and it will work out.
WARNING: SERIOUS AND REFLECTIVE MOMENT AHEAD
Thought/Life Lesson 3: “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting.” – Peter Pan
Yes, I did read the well-known story of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie this summer; I am going to England after all. But this quote strikes me as I start to “say goodbye” to friends and family before leaving them for just under 9 months. I have spent some time thinking about everyone at Holy Cross (classmates, friends, professors) and all the events, theatre performances, and opportunities I will be missing next year. But as I read this quote I remember that I am not saying goodbye for good and I will never forget my first 2 years on the hill. Going abroad isn’t taking away from my Holy Cross experience, but rather becoming a part of it. No matter how far I go, I am always going to come home; whether that is in East Haven, CT where I was born and raised or 1 College Street where I continue to define the person I want to be for the rest of my life.
After this year flies by all too quickly … and I know it will … I get to come home and be a better, wiser, and open-minded individual ready for one final year on the hill.
Well this is it…I’m soon going to embark on a 9-month journey and I hope you are all ready for the ride. Many more pictures to come once I arrive in York, and many great adventures I look forward to sharing.
After all…it was Peter Pan who said, “To live will be an awfully great adventure.”
Brandon: It was so great seeing you today!!! Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts & heart – you are defintely always in ours 🙂
It has been such a pleasure, over the years, working with you, and watching you grow into the amazing guy you are today…
Wishing you an extraordinary adventure!!!