My good friend Mackenzie has been in Sydney all summer and I miss her terribly. The best way to bring a little of her back to Cambridge is through a guest post. Here's a little insight from the world's newest Aussie/ misplaced MIT girl.
I've been spending my summer in Sydney, Australia thanks to MIT’s International Science and
Technology Initiatives program (MISTI). I’m in a lab at the University of New South Wales looking into
catalysts for hydrogen gas production. If you see my name in the newspapers when we solve the energy
crisis, you're welcome. I chose to come to Sydney because of my dad. He was born and raised in the
northern beaches of the city. His mom, sisters, and their families are still here.
I've been to Sydney numerous times, but this is my first time truly being on my own. I’m in my
own apartment, paying my own rent, buying my own groceries, the whole show. Finally feeling like a
real adult, and not just a college student, has been great. I have time to explore a city I love, meet new
people, actually exercise for fun, and cook real food that takes more than 10 minutes to prepare.
There’s a life outside the bubble of school and it’s glorious. But, one of the other things they tell you
about being on your own is also true. Being so far away and on completely different time zones from
every single one of my friends has been extremely hard for me.
If you read my last guest post, you know that the people around me at MIT have become like a
second family. That circle only grew my second semester. I've formed friendships there that I know will
last the test of time. Being molded in the pressure cooker that is MIT makes your friendships like that.
You suffer some of the hardest mental and emotional trials any school can throw together, and you
create some damn strong bonds because of it. On the flipside, I've also got a fair number of friends
from my hometown in Montana that I've known since before we could read. We've seen each other in
all our gangly, braces-filled, pimply adolescence, and we still keep in touch about our lives today.
Granted, it’s extremely hard to do that being a whole country away, but we do it. These friendships
mean everything to me. I’d do anything for any one of my friends, and I hope they all know that.
Sydney has just shown me how important these relationships really are.
When your parents tell you that you'll have to work to keep friendships alive after you go out on
your separate paths, they're not lying. I had heard mine say this countless times, but never really
believed them. I was inseparable from my friends, regardless of where we were! I thought that the fact
I still kept in touch with people from Montana just proved that fact. Well, try being on a day and night
time zone difference. Mom and Dad, you were right. I've given up sleeping time (beyond valuable to
any college student in the summer) to message people. Skyping has become my lifeline. Don't get me
wrong, I’m making great new friends here in Sydney, but you can’t replace what your old friends have
done for you.
So, I guess the moral of this story is that your friendships are everything. Yes, it does take work
to maintain them. Yes, you won’t talk to people for weeks that you used to see every day. But when
you find people that are worth it, you have to kick in that effort. I've never appreciated the people I love
more than I do now. Go call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. I’m sure they'll love it.