Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

“It's funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope. This is a design of God that I appreciate and cherish.”

-Steve Maraboli

 

 

A lot of times the experiences we have surpass every expectation we made beforehand. As humans, we have preconceived notions about what we will see, what we will live through, and what we will learn; I am no different than the average person in this way. I spent a lot of time putting together my application for The Washington Center scholarship through my school, taking the application process as a learning experience and never actually believing I would receive the award. When I heard back from my university that I was chosen for the scholarship, I spent every day of the next four months painting a mental picture of what Washington would be like. I would walk through my apartment and wonder what kind of people my roommates would be. I would sit at a stoplight, in my car, and wonder how on earth I would navigate through a city. A lot of nights I would lie in bed praying that everyone in my office would be kind, or, as an intern, I wouldn't be a disaster. I spent these four months alone in my thoughts, hoping for good things and wishing away anything bad. I could say that I wasted a lot of my summer worrying, wondering about things completely out of my control and things I had no way of knowing then. However, today I am thankful for that wasted time and those wasted thoughts, because now I can reflect on those thoughts to say I was wrong; now I can approach other opportunities in life with the surety that no matter how much I believe I can, I can't predict what life has in store for me -- I can never guess how things will really end. In my case, I couldn't have been more wrong to worry; I am lucky to say that my experience was more than I dreamed of.

 

Since I was a little girl, I have always had a really strong sense of who I am. I know what makes me different from others, and I have learned to appreciate all of those things. While I will always be --me-- I am a different me than the day my mother and I shoved my belongings into our Honda Accord and drove to D.C. My time here, as an intern with The Washington Center, and with the DOJ, has been a better experience than I hoped for, in every way. Coming here, and finishing this program, was the biggest set of stairs towards my future climbed thus far. I only came to Washington, D.C.  with the expectation of real-world experience, yet I am leaving with things even more valuable than that. Of course, every grown up, real world, big-girl day of hard 9-5:30 work taught me a lot. For starters, it's always good to ask questions, but only after you've searched for the answer yourself for at least five minutes. Secondly, try your best to leave the stresses of life outside the building, because, who wouldn't want to be remembered as the girl, or boy, who always had the brightest attitude in the office? And the most important lesson learned... be realistic with your expectations of yourself, of others, and always do your work honestly--for, this is the best you can do. My big-girl job was full of immersion and experience, but I also learned about myself--my ambitions, my strengths, work ethic, and day to day expectations. I credit my experiences to my university, Charlotte City Council, The Washington Center, and my parents--for without them, none of what I accomplished, or learned, would have been possible.

 

As I was explaining earlier, I have always been really sure of myself and who I am. I spent months worrying about what things would be like when I came here. I do not, ever, take risks. Every decision I make, everything I do, is carefully calculated, well thought-out, all options explored, scheduled to the minute, and usually--penciled into my planner. I know who I am, and one thing I am not is impulsive--I am not a risk-taker. Taking risks are careless. Taking a risk is dangerous... terrifying... unplanned. This is what I would have said to you back in April, while I carefully completed my application, crunched the numbers, and weighed my options. But that girl-- the girl who so believed those things before, she is gone. I took a risk in coming to Washington, D.C. No matter how much I conjured up the possibilities, it was no use-- coming here was like free-falling, with no promises of safety, or any promise safe from regrets. Accepting my internship was like opening a door to a strangers' home. Packing up the car and moving to a new city, was shutting the door to every familiar place I loved. Leaving my school, my classes, my friends--was like leaving the theatre when you know the movie will continue to play. I left a lot behind, diving into deep, mysterious water, taking a risk, and just praying I wouldn't regret it. Being brave enough to come to Washington, D.C., was the best choice I ever made, all risks included. I am so proud of myself for coming here, and making the most out of all my experiences even during the days when I felt it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Because of everything I was able to accomplish by coming here, I no longer feel that risks are careless. The biggest risk I ever took changed me this way; I am no longer afraid of the risks I may have to take in the future. Sometimes all you have to do is muster up enough bravery, just enough to take that risk, to open up the door, whatever it may be, and start the journey. We can all learn something about ourselves, if we can just accept a moment of complete and pure vulnerability, and jump.

 

 

 

 

 

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never failed me, and it has made all the difference in my life."

-Steve Jobs

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