Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mackenzie Guest Post! Greetings from Sydney

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.

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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.

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