I’ve been in UNIS for roughly 4 years, and during my time here, many people have came and gone in my life. Being in this unique and diverse environment, I’ve begun to realize that most friendships here can only last up to 3 or 5 years. When I was at my old school, friends stayed with you from elementary to high school, even if you didn’t mean for it to happen. So, I’ve come to realize that UNIS is a place in where you can meet so many talented, smart, and charming personalities, but it is also a place where you will see many people go in just a couple of years.
When people come into your life, you probably won’t notice it because it usually happens so suddenly that it’s hard to pinpoint the first time they’ve ever sat on the same lunch table as you and sometimes, it’s the same when someone leaves. At first someone leaving seems brisk; the final wave of goodbye makes your legs want to fold in on itself, but you haven’t realized their role in your life yet, so you don’t notice the significance of it all. Then, when you’ve realized that their seat in class is empty and the casual nods across the hallways ceased to come across, it finally hits you; a hole has formed.
Recently, a friend of mine moved away; he was someone who meant a lot to me, someone out of the ordinary. It was the first time that someone close to me moved away, and I didn’t really know how to feel about it. The last time that we saw each other, we hugged and said our final goodbyes, but somehow, I couldn’t find myself teary. I was sad, but not regretful that we didn’t get to spend more time together. I was sort of emotionally empty, in a way that was hard to put into words. A part of me hadn’t accepted that he was leaving yet, so it took me a few days for the fact to finally sink in. When it did, I was suddenly hit by a tsunami of emotions, followed by a short period of depression.
He was a nice and funny guy, who allowed me to ramble about myself most of the time and he made me feel comfortable. But all the while he was there for me, I hadn’t really learn that much about him in return. It’s depressing to think that the only thing I could describe of him is “nice and funny.” Is that how someone who meant a lot to you should be remembered? At school, he gave me the impression that he was always happy and careless, as he roamed through different groups of friends at a time. After he left, I was able to see how much he meant to so many others, and I learned that he was kind, humble, and awkward at most, but also caring and genuine, things which I hadn’t noticed in him before. His life seemed to continuously unfold itself and affect me even after he had gone.
The saying finally became relevant to me: “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”; and it’s true, you really don’t notice the things that you are blessed with until it has left you. I’ve learned that it shouldn’t be that way, one shouldn’t just miss something only when it’s gone, instead, one should acknowledge and be thankful for it being there in the first place.
Sometimes when I look at people around me, at students who’ve had their best friends leave them, I realized how shallow I have been, this whole time. I could’ve known so many more interesting people, all of whom have always been around me. But I chose not to open up, because I was too centered on my own group of friends and scared of the possibilities of losing someone I cared about. When I started to open up, join more activities in school, and meeting many unique individuals, I realized that it’s never a bad experience to try something new and that we should all do that more often, if not always.
I hope that you are able to sit down, read this, and have a think about the people that you have in your life, and the many others who you have yet to meet. Appreciate what you have, so as not to regret it once it’s gone. There are so many wonderful people in UNIS, and so many activities which you haven’t tried yet, so why not open up and give it a go?