Leaving Everything Behind

I was born and raised in Kuwait. I attended an American high school there until graduation. I pursued my Bachelor’s degree in marketing and psychology at the University of Miami. After working in banking for a year in Kuwait, I am currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Marketing degree at the University of Tampa in the United States.

For many college students, the idea of leaving everything behind is particularly challenging. Some students travel across the globe in pursuit of a higher education. Young and impressionable, international students have overcome a trying application and visa process all in the name of learning. Suddenly, they are thrust in a new habitat and in many cases, without knowing a single soul. The student must overcome the challenge of being alone as well as accept the idea that assimilating socially in a new environment is a time-consuming, and unpredictable process.

The difficulties are usually associated with a lack of social connection in the new home. It is important to realise that people adjust differently to this assimilation process. When I first arrived in Miami, it was my first time in the United States ever since I was a baby. I remember the difficult emotional stress that had to be overcome shortly after I arrived. As the first couple of weeks go by, I’ve made no real friends and felt incredibly lonely. In fact, I don’t think that I’ve ever felt as lonely as I had during that moment. Furthermore, I’m certain that everyone who has experienced a similar turn of events has faced this feeling as well. A close friend that I grew up with decided to pursue the same path I had taken. He would be getting his higher education in the United States. However, he didn’t make it. After a couple of months of living in New Mexico, the man decided to quit and go back home. As another wise friend of mine put it, “Not everyone can handle the trip.”

Fortunately, things are not always so bleak. Several years later, I find myself leaving home once again to pursue a Masters of Science degree. I remember thinking to myself, “This time, I know what to do.” As a matter of fact, I did. I knew all the technical proceedings of re-locating, but I found myself with that same emotional stress of leaving all of my friends and family soon after I had set myself up in the new city. I realised that the feelings associated with leaving everyone behind will always come back; it’s just a matter of knowing how to deal with it.
Eventually, I had learned to accept that assimilating myself socially in a new city is going to take time. Social encounters are hardly predictable. In fact, the greatest moments in our lives are rarely planned occurrences.

The most important realisation I have come to is the unpredictability of the future. For example, before I left for the United States for the first time, I could not have possibly been able to imagine what was going to happen. The lack of knowledge and control scared me, as it would to any young man or woman leaving home for the first time. The challenges of living alone in a new environment can all be overcome. However, it is often a lengthy and unpredictable process.

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