Apprehensions, Goodbyes, and Eagerness

Spencer Thomas
August 24, 2016

I am not interested at all in writing very simply on the mundane physical travels that I am now undergoing… I see no reason to rewrite something so many others have already written, and very possibly written much more effectively than I could. I hope that my blog is more a medium of reflection for my own growth and development of perspective. That will be the premise of my writing. I will often disguise it with satire and sarcasm, but beneath will lie serious contemplation.

Today, I have left my family and friends for the longest time that I have ever considered being away, and I am devastated. I underestimated how hard those goodbyes would be, and wholly recognize the fact that I am nothing without a support system of others who care. This will be very challenging for me. I’m frustrated by the fact that my excitement to spend a semester in Dublin has been clouded by the fear and sadness of those farewells, but never would I apologize for that sadness. If you, reader who I am grateful for, decide that a blog about missing loved ones is not for you, I politely request you not comment, and find another student traveler who has less interest in their family and friends, and more in their own satisfaction. That said, I am also confident that once my feet hit Irish soil, my mood will very quickly change, and my greatest frustration will be may inability to share those indescribable, enriching, challenging experiences through no other medium than written word or photograph. I love words, truly, but I accept the notion that I will never be able to fully articulate the nature of my evolution as a thinker, and human in general, and would still rather those that I care about most be alongside me in the journey.

Yet in the spirit of me continuing to contradict myself, I am almost equally excited to go it alone. It will very plainly suck being away. But I will learn and adapt. I went to college in the city that I grew up in, where the campus is only 20 minutes from my home. This has had its pros and cons, but I have never fully had to embrace totally foreign places without friends, or knowledge really of anyone else at all. This will be my situation in Dublin, and I am ready to rise to the challenge. My very best friend back home told me before I left, that when she has been sad to leave her family to go back to school, she remembers how blessed she is to have someone back home who misses and loves her, and excitedly awaits her return. I think that is a wonderful outlook, indeed, and one that I will try to maintain.

I am enrolling directly with Trinity College Dublin, in Dublin, Ireland from September to December, specifically within the university’s English, History, and Political Science Departments. Given that it is my major, and Trinity’s program is absolutely second to none, I will concentrate on my English coursework. Their academic grading structure is vastly different from the one that I am used to, and that makes me nervous. However, I am eager to work under the foreign system. There are several practical issues that I expect to run into as well: I can't cook to save my life, and I will not be on a meal plan. I will consume exorbitant amounts of PB & J. Obviously being in a foreign city will pose its navigational issues. I did not bring very much from home beyond the necessities (clothing, shoes, bookbag and my Penny Board), so that will pose issues both in the way of randomly not having access to things I would otherwise have at home, as well as further contribute to my homesickness. It is presently just after noon on Wednesday, and I have not really slept since Monday night. I expect not to sleep very well during the first week or so as I adjust to a new place and unfamiliar surroundings. Of course I am anxious to find a good group of friends. That will be crucial. All of these apprehensions noted, and my bitterness to leaving well-established, I do want to underline how very excited I truly am to go to one of greatest universities in the Western World, and experience an urban, European lifestyle that has been altogether foreign to me thus far in my life. I am blessed to travel, blessed to have people awaiting my return, and blessed to have the opportunity to make memories around our world and gain the perspective of other peoples that so many will never have freedom or means to experience.

As a kid, I loved Disney productions, specifically, Peter Pan. As I have gotten older, I have begun to love all good narratives. I believe that humans by our own nature would often chose a good story over the truth any day of the week. I certainly would. My mother gave me a copy of “Irish Fairy and Folk Tales” just before I left home for me to entertain myself with. I am interested academically in the similarities of classic Irish Narratives to those of the American South. As a human being, I am interested in a good story. The book is very fitting. Inside the front cover, my mother wrote: “‘Second star to the right, and straight on til morning.’ May you find Neverland abroad, but always come home.” What better thing to do than go find a place of wonder, challenge, friendship, diversity, and self discovery, always in hopes of bringing it back home with you? I can think of nothing.

I graciously welcome feedback.




P.S. This morning I took a nap in a chapel at the airport. My pillow was my ancient corduroy blazer, and my bed consisted of praying mats for Muslim services held in the chapel. It was odd, serendipitous.


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Spencer Thomas

<p>I am a reader, writer, and (theoretical) learner at Wofford College in the Upstate of South Carolina. I am a happy, short, Southerner in search of foreign things revealing familiar truths. I like surfing waves, and youtube. I am a future officer in the United States Army, hoping to see as much of the world as I can before I have to take life quite seriously. I think the best way to experience new cultures and people is to eat their food, drink their booze, and read their literature. My brother&#39;s name is Drew, and my parents are Lee and Danielle. They are everything.</p>

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