The Importance of Sharing Experiences with Other People

I’ve always been somewhat of an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with friends and socializing, but I tend to value my alone time and feel the most comfortable when by myself. Sometimes that can be a negative thing though, and I end up regretting not putting myself out there a bit more and making connections. I played on the Men’s Basketball Team for two years at Salve Regina and stopped playing before my Junior year because I wanted to do other things (study abroad) and frankly, I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. In the process of quitting, I was somewhat elated at the thought of being able to just be by myself again and not surrounded by the same people/teammates 24/7. It was enjoyable for an abbreviated period, but after a while I longed for those connections and socialization that I took for granted for those two years I was on the team. I missed the comradery, eating in the dining hall together, long bus rides, agonizingly long film sessions, and the friendly (or not-so-friendly) trash talk & banter.
Studying abroad thus far (as of mid-October) has been an eye-opening experience for me because I realized how much I enjoy spending time with others and sharing experiences. I made sure that the regrets that came with my athletic experience did not come with me to Ireland. As corny and cliché as it sounds, studying abroad really has been a “spiritual” and emotional growth opportunity. I’ve found things out about myself that I would not have been able to discover back at home. Of course, there was some sense of FOMO time-to-time and there still is: What if everyone back at Salve is having a great time and I’m not? Should I have stopped playing basketball? Maybe I should have stayed home, etc, etc.
Being thrown into a situation which required me to make friends, introduce myself, and form connections was challenging at first. I met most of my friends at the orientation for international students and have shared some great experiences with those people. There’s been day trips, overnight adventures, movie nights, and a fair share of exploring everything Ireland has to offer. Through this experience it has made me realize how much I value making memories with people. I believe it’s important to be comfortable by yourself and not let your plans/happiness be contingent on other people’s presence or not, but I also have come to realize that having experiences with people enables you to look back and smile because you know you shared that memory with someone else.
With the friends I made I’ve been able to explore all different parts of Ireland including Dingle, Tralee, Kenmare, Killarney, Kerry, Clare, Kinsale, and many more. These experiences have also made me realize how much there is to offer at home in the U.S and it’s incentivized me to make plans with my family and friends to do fun things, instead of just sitting at home by myself all day. I’m grateful for this experience because I feel like I’ve grown as a person and have discovered new hobbies and things I like to do. I still have two months left so I hope to make even more memories and have some great experiences with the people I’ve met.

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