After 4 very short months, the day has come. My last day at UL. Exams are done, my suitcase packed, my room cleaned and the goodbyes said. Tomorrow I will be leaving to Dublin from where I’ll be flying back. Home for Christmas.
People keep asking me if I am excited to go back home and I never know what to answer. Like, yes, it will be nice to see my friends and family but at the same time, there is this heartache. A homesickness for Ireland, even though I haven’t even left. A feeling so new but at the same time so familiar.
It is still amazing how much can change in such a short time and how people that were just strangers a few weeks ago are suddenly the most important people in your life.
People always tell me ‘you will be back, you can always visit’ and ‘the friends you’ve made here are probably friends for a lifetime’. And while all of that might be true I can’t help but wonder: what about all those people that I talked to and that had a huge impact on my time here but are not really that type of close friends that I would visit. Will I see them again as well? Or was that it? A few months of classes together, nice conversations in a pub, society events… and then nothing. For me, this part is almost the worst. Because with the realisation that my time here is over comes the realisation that many of the amazing people I met here I truly will never see again. And no amount of ‘but you can come back to visit, etc.’ will change that. It is over. Done. I am no longer a student at UL. A very important chapter in my life is over and no matter how much I wish I could go back to the start and do it all over again it’s not happening. Life goes on.
What stays are the memories. And what great memories they are. I did things I could have never imagined. I ended up getting involved in societies I never even considered joining before I came here. Just the right conversation at the right time and here I am 4 months later with so many amazing stories to tell. I learned so many things about myself, I’ve grown as a person, and my time here has changed me in ways I can’t even begin to understand. I’m no longer that same person that left Germany 4 months ago. And a big part of me wishes I could stay a little longer, just to discover more about myself.
Accepting that everything comes to an end is never easy. And for the next few weeks or months, it will be hard.
To every one of you out there in a similar situation: you cannot look back with sadness or regret. Maybe there are things you would do differently if you could do it all over again. There definitely are some for me, like talking to a person sooner or not wasting my time on others. Getting more involved in some society, or even taking a different class.
But what’s the point in wondering what could’ve been? It’s important to look back and focus on the good parts. Focus on the great things you did, the people you met and the memories you made.
All these amazing experiences influenced me in ways I can’t even begin to see right now. But I’m excited to find out. And even though I am sad that my time at UL is over at the same time I am incredibly happy and grateful for the amazing moments I shared with so many great people.
Thank you to every single person that somehow had an impact on me while I was here. Even if it might have been totally insignificant to you. Some of you changed my life in ways you can’t even imagine and I will cherish all those great memories I made. Thank you for that.
Goodbye Ireland, goodbye UL. You will be missed!