Time of My Life

Although every student’s experience is different, nearly everyone who’s studied abroad will tell you that their time overseas taught them invaluable lessons–things they wouldn’t have learned in a classroom.  Here’s one example from the pages of Molly’s study abroad blog, in which she describes what she realized after spending a day at the Cliffs of Moher.  Molly spent a semester at the University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.

Study Abroad Gap Year Programs in Cork and Dublin, Ireland - Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher


Yesterday, my friends and I went on a tour of the Irish coast, stopping at the Cliffs of Moher.  I had been to the cliffs before when I was about 12 on a family vacation, but this time it was different. Seeing these majestic formations (among the other landmarks and castles that we caught along the way) made me aware of the concept of time for just a minute.

Aside from looking at a clock to see how many minutes are left of class, or planning out what time I should eat lunch on a given day, I don’t really think about time.  In class, we often talk about really technical things, like atoms and molecules and how they react.  I always find myself thinking ‘this is too small to even imagine’—which is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t do so well in chemistry. I couldn’t imagine it or picture it, and therefore, I couldn’t understand or hold onto an idea for more than a second. With time, I feel that it’s the same scenario, only on an infinitely larger scale. Time is too big to imagine. It has, after all, been going on forever, and forever is a long time. Just like atoms and molecules, time is usually almost impossible to really think about.

While standing at the cliffs, however, I was able to grasp for just a few moments; to really think about and understand how old this earth is, and how many people have come before us. The Cliffs of Moher are thought to have been formed in the last Ice Age, about 30,000 years ago. Next to them, I felt small, not because of their physical size, but because of their age. Usually, when I think about the future, I think of 5 or 10 years as being a pretty long time. But next to the cliffs, even a lifetime, even 80 or 90 years, is no time at all…

As strange as it was to think about my as life as being only a fraction of a second in time, I knew it was true. And although it doesn’t feel like it now, I know that those 5 or 10 years, and even those 80 or 90 years will pass in what will have seemed like the blink of an eye.  Realizing this, and being able to hold onto the idea for a few minutes opened my eyes a bit. It’s true when they say that life is short, and I’m realizing as I get older that I really have to make the most of it. I think that I’m off to a good start, even just by coming to Ireland in the first place, but I don’t want it to stop here. I never want to become complacent, or fall into too much of a routine. I never want to stop challenging myself, both physically and mentally. Most importantly, I never want to stop feeling alive. Yesterday’s trip reminded me of how short my time in this world is, and how important it is to take advantage of my time here. I’m really grateful for that.

Study Abroad Gap Year Programs in Cork and Dublin, Ireland - Cliffs of Moher

Molly and friends



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