Emmanuelle here. I’ve been thinking. We’re almost halfway through the REU and I’ve been thinking about what the future entails once the REU ends and what I want to leave behind.
- I will have completed our REU project. Or I should say— we will have completed our REU project. The ballistics team will have left something behind future researchers can use for the betterment of the forensic science field. It would be nice to have made a lasting impact. Aside from having something nice to put on our resume, it’s the positive impact that counts. It’s the difference that matters.
- I will also have learned a lot from the courses I will have taken here. The skills will be a big help in my career. Thank you. I hope to use them for good.
- Memories, stories, and the impact of my peers. I know I won’t forget them, their stories, all the lessons they taught me, and so on. I’ll cherish the memories for the rest of my life. But… there’s a bittersweet feeling to it…
I’m going to be realistic. There is a bittersweet feeling with this because, with all likelihood, I won’t ever see them again. We won’t ever see each other again. Friendships will dissipate and unless we live in the same state, meeting up won’t ever happen. Bonds will be lost and I shall be forgotten. I don’t mean forgotten in the fact that they won’t remember my existence. I know I’ll remain in their memories of the REU experience. But rather forgotten in that I will be pushed out their mind, never considered to be contacted again, and the communication will be lost. That’s what’s always happened when I’ve moved places. After leaving Boston and American University in Washington DC, I lost all contact with my friends. People have no intention of staying in touch with their old friends. Even best friends split apart after high school. People move on. Their lives continue.
I can’t blame them. It’s human nature. It’s also certainly part of the American culture. Heck, I didn’t reach out to most of them. But the for couple that I did, we talked once or twice but that was it. They stopped caring and moved on with their lives. It’s normal. It’s what happens.
With that being said, I’d like to bring this back to my REU experience here in the present. All I can do now, here in the next couple of weeks is leave a positive impact on the lives of my peers. I hope they learn lots of things from me, relate to my life stories, learn from my Hispanic Puerto Rican culture, and even discover more about themselves that they would have not before. That’s all I can do. I won’t hope or expect our bonds to continue after we depart from here and our journey together comes to an end. Such hopes would only lead to disappointment and sadness if they fail to be realized. I don’t want to miss them any more than l have to. With the expectation that I’ll be forgotten, It would be easier to move on with my life and not hold onto the past. Most people stay in our lives for a set time. Most friendships don’t last forever. I’ve learned that. I’ve accepted it. And I cannot hold onto my past as I did when I left AU. I’ll have to forget meeting my REU peers again after we’ve left. It’s my only way to move on without looking back with the desire to go back to a time I won’t be able to go back to. I just have to be thankful for the experiences I will have received and not be sad that it ended. Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” This quote describes it perfectly. But who knows? Maybe some friendships will persist. But the possibilities are extremely low I don’t want to hold onto any hopes for fear of being let down once again. It would only hurt more than the departure already will.
But now let’s come back to the present. I will continue doing my best here and continue leaving my impact—Continue the laughter, the jokes, the experiences, the memories. I will keep doing me. That’s all I can do.