I believe the construction of relationships is one of the most challenging tasks in life. But it is rewarding when you appreciate you have developed genuine connections. Before I departed for Hong Kong, I had feared I would not make friends. I was nervous to be perceived as awkward and uninteresting. However, three months into my semester abroad, this fear has not materialized. From the people I had spoken with before my departure, everybody emphasized the necessity to “step outside your comfort zone.” This cliché may lose its significance to some people, but for me, I have embraced it as an aspect of my life philosophy.
During my first two years at Boston College, I rarely ventured outside my comfort zone. I did not participate in student organizations. I did not attend social gatherings. I remained bound to my dormitory because my internal voice led me to believe I was not “good enough” to make friends. I thought I lacked a personality and had nothing to contribute in a friendship. My only social outlet was my girlfriend. I invested the majority of my energy in cultivating a relationship with her, but it soon manifested into a crippling dependency. She had constituted my only source of happiness. After the dissolution of our relationship, I realized I had expected the impossible. I desired for my romantic life to address the inadequacies I observed in myself. I lacked self-care and self-love. My insecurities and anxiety prevented me from being the best version of myself.
The turning point took place during my junior year. I lived with three phenomenal individuals, and they assisted me in rediscovering myself. Ant, Bryan, and Rup dismantled my inhabitations and presented me a platform to express myself. I rediscovered my joy of conversation, my sense of humor, and my desire to make people smile. These three gentlemen, who I have the privilege of calling my family, challenged me to accept myself. They are individuals who I trust, respect, and love. I had experienced plenty of self-loathing, but when I witnessed how they were unapologetically themselves, I became inspired to change. While I continue to encounter anxiety, I no longer question my identity.
My journey throughout BC has equipped me with valuable tools to establish connections with people from distinct backgrounds. I never imagined I was capable of maintaining conversations with strangers in a foreign country. I never expected to leave a positive impression on the lives of the people I had met abroad. Without the assistance and support of my roommates, I would have never achieved a sense of peace and confidence. They altered the trajectory of my life, and I will remain eternally appreciative.