So it Goes

Headshot of Ian Donahue.
Ian Donahue
May 20, 2023
Sunset over the Tiber River

I have been trying to figure out how to write this final blog post for some time now. It has been a week since I got back from Rome, and it already feels like a century has passed. This blog post is not even being written from New York City, instead in Ithaca, the college I took time away from. I am only here for a short time, and yet it feels like I never left. I am in the same routine as I would have been if I did not go abroad. Being in Ithaca, and home in general, has been really nice. I have been able to see my friends and family, sleep in my own room and be reunited with my cat, Pippin, who I missed dearly. But it has been hard. I miss my friends from Rome, the walk I would take everyday to get to the IES Abroad center, the food, the Roman ruins and churches lurking around the corner, the food, the sense of discovery, the excitement of wandering around a brand-new city, and did I mention the food?

In the past week, I have thought a lot about change. Change, much like time, is one of those unstoppable forces that hang over us all. It is inevitable that things change, for nothing can remain stagnant. I have been going to the same summer camp for almost half my life, from camper to counselor, but this summer I am not going back. It is scary, this will be my first summer in a decade not spent in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I am now a rising senior at Ithaca, I am interning at a museum, I met amazing people I had to say goodbye to and have not seen other people in months. All the while I am slowly readjusting to a country I find so much to dislike after coming back from Rome on top of longing to go back to Europe. I do not think I am alone in these feelings. But if I did not go abroad, then I would not be having any of these feelings. As a former camp counselor, I have had to tell many campers, and myself, an age old saying: “Do not cry because it is over, smile because it happened.” Cheesy? Yes. An apt statement? Yes.

I do not like change sometimes. It can be unfair; it is always unrelenting, and it can be cruel. One moment you are walking down the street admiring a beautiful sunset with friends and the next you are returning to a home you have not seen in months, tired and confused. You are thrust back into the routine you sought to take a break from, only to come back and realize some things cannot be stopped. I am going to be a senior, I am going to graduate before I know it and I have a hunch I will not be traveling the way I did for a long time, if ever again. But I have learned so much. From the mundanity of knowing how to make good carbonara to slowly figuring out the type of person I want to be, and the things I want to do.

If I knew everything that would happen to me while I studied abroad, and the things that would have happened if I did not, then I would study abroad again in a heartbeat. For every negative moment or bad experience, there would always be the company of great people, a new memory around every corner and valuable lessons to learn. No one comes back as the same person they were before studying abroad whether that be in the type of person they became or what they learned along the way, everyone changes. I changed. Sometimes change is not that bad.

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Headshot of Ian Donahue.

Ian Donahue

Hey! My name is Ian and I am a junior at Ithaca College, where I major in history meaning long papers are my specialty. I play on my school's club ultimate frisbee team and we even went to the national tournament! I am from New York City so navigating public transit is a refined skill of mine. I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to study abroad in Rome, eat amazing food and see places I've dreamed of seeing my whole life.

2023 Spring
Home University:
Ithaca College
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