This I Believe

Matt - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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One of strongest bonds you can form with another person is temporary friendship. The kind where you bond, connect, and then you say goodbye. The kind of connection that forms when you first break the ice at a camp or program. There’s something different about getting to know someone when you know that your time with that person is limited. There are no barriers. No fear of revealing secrets that will live on for many years to come. Complete honesty.

At the UCLA Summer Institute of Design, I formed many of these types of friendships. From running late to class together to staying up late at night, sharing the most intimate of thoughts and philosophies, I befriended people from all over the country. From New York, to Boston, to California, I lived with these people for a week. With the common goal of surviving the summer in an unfamiliar college environment, the camaraderie formed was incredible. People tended to live like there was no tomorrow, living outside of their personal comfort zones. The best part is, people embraced it. Our time together transcended judgment, prejudice, and preconceptions that people normally have in their day-to-day lives. But after only a week, we had to exchange goodbyes. While many of us swapped phone numbers and email addresses, we knew that for many of us, this was the last time we would see each other again.

Upon my return to Arizona, my walk to the exit was greeted with a rush of cool air. For a moment, it took me back to the memories of the cool California breeze and the people I had left. That was, up until I realized the nice breeze was really just a rush from the air conditioning and I was hit with the familiar 120-degree wall of Arizona heat. It was then that the effects of my adventure truly hit me. All the people I had met, all the places I had seen, and all the moments that I shared, were now just another chapter in my past. Never again, could I return to the times I shared with the people I met at UCLA. While it was painful to say goodbye after such a brief interlude, I feel that I have become a better person for it. The most difficult journeys start with goodbye and end with hello. However, it is only through these journeys that we can get somewhere worthwhile.