February 2020 was probably one of the best months of my life to date.
I worked a job that I loved. I was excelling in school work. I was preparing to travel overseas for the first time.
Looking back now in the middle of a global pandemic, that seems like a lifetime ago. It’s almost like when we left for Cardiff, Wales, for the Transatlantic Storytelling project, I was leaving any sense of normalcy behind, too.
If I had known then what I know now — what life had waiting for me when just two days after our return — I would have wanted to stay in that study-abroad bubble forever.
One of the goals I had for myself going into the trip, along with expanding my cultural knowledge, was to enhance my ability to adapt in the field.
Not only did I witness the same type of work that I do is done overseas and in a different culture, but I learned not having the resources I’m used to is easier to overcome than I thought.
Working alongside the Cardiff Met students and staff taught me there’s not always just one way to do something. At the end of the day, having fun with your work and your peers is important. Those principles are the same.
Meeting Sam and his Coach, Mark “Sparky” O’Leary and learning about a sport I knew nothing about previously was something I won’t forget. We are excited to tell Sam’s story.
When I reflect on it, I’m so grateful I was able to experience this trip to Wales with some of the best friends and classmates before coming back to this new lifestyle we’re all living in.
If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that you should do what you want while you can.
Whether that’s deciding to book a flight, applying for a job you might not be sure you’ll get or even debating if you should go get Mexican food with your friends on a Tuesday night so you can save money (you know, because $10 is a lot when you’re a college student) — just do it.
I’m extremely grateful I was able to see new places and travel to this beautiful country before being quarantined in my house for the past seven weeks.
I’m grateful for the relationships and connections I formed and strengthened on this trip. I’m happy I was able to build my skills. I’m proud to be able to tell the stories of some incredible athletes and people with my classmates.
Most importantly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to see more of the world before being stuck in a tiny part of it without the sports, the friends and the program that took me to Cardiff.
When I can do things like go to class on campus, work — and travel — again, I certainly won’t take them for granted.
When you get the chance to travel, do it. When you can apply for the job, do it.
And when you can go out to eat with your friends, appreciate their company and do it every chance you get.