I share my title, “AKFC fellow” with 26 of the most amazing, talented, ambitious Canadians I’ve had the privilege to know. We only met two and a half months ago, which seems crazy. For some, I feel like I’ve known them my whole life. And it’s an interesting thought to think that we will share a special connection, that no one else will be able to understand, for the rest of our lives.
We were brought together for one whole month in Ottawa where we got to know each other and bonded over our anxieties, fears, excitement. Then we were tossed out into the world, each landing in a different region. Even with mentally preparing ourselves, there was almost no way of preparing for this; the unknown, the incomprehensible, the uncomfortable. It hits you – hard. You miss everything about your previous life; a life that was relatively easy in comparison. You miss your family and your friends.. or having any friends at all, for that matter. There are so many different emotions. The excitement is such a high, and the disappointment and confusion can leave you feeling low. There’s almost no way to explain how challenging this experience can be.
It can literally feel like no one understands. However, despite the loneliness, there are 25 other people who may have, at some point or other, felt like you feel right now. They are facing some, if not all, of the same challenges. They, almost certainly, have no friends.. just like you! Many of them are looking to hash out these feelings with someone who feels the same way they do. The frustrations can be shared, regardless of location in this instance. Feeling utterly alone and then realizing you are not alone can sometimes be that little push that you need to get through the rest of the day with a smile on your face. Knowing that that person, who is three hours ahead of you, has already gotten through those hours can help. Knowing that your complaining is being heard by someone who appreciates the complaints and will listen. This is truly a different bond and one that each of us will hold dearly in the next 8 months. Even if it’s just checking in and seeing how things are going. It’s still that comfort of knowing you are not alone. I am so incredibly grateful.