“When one door closes, another opens” -Alexander Graham Bell
When I look back on Heller High as a whole of course I think of how amazing it was, but I also think about the parts that weren’t. See, most people would try not to think about the not-so-great times or parts of the trip that were really emotionally challenging, but for me it was those parts that made me stronger and appreciate the rest more. When I was really down and homesick, yes it sucked, but it made me realize how important my family is to me and how lucky I am to have them to go back to; even more so it made seeing them that much more special. When I was super stressed and overwhelmed with work and studies, yes it was awful, but it helped me become a better student with good time management and a strong work ethic, that in the end paid off very well. When I got frustrated with my peers, yes it was annoying, but I learned how to deal with people I may not always like and the importance of taking some time for yourself. These are only a few examples from my time, but clearly, EVERY aspect of the trip in some way turned out to help me grow as an individual. Some general lessons and personal things I learned on the trip are as follows:
- Have confidence in yourself
- A support system is so important
- The right thing is almost never the easy thing
- Push yourself
- Your genuine self is your best self
- Hard work pays off
- Honesty really is the best policy
- Give people the benefit of the doubt
- …Sometimes people suck
- Let yourself go sometimes
- People change
- Dream big, it is possible
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Take things one step at a time
- You are smarter than you think
- Don’t give in
- Stop and take a deep breath every once in a while
- Be adventurous and take chances
- You will learn more when it is something you are interested in/passionate about
- Discipline and responsibility are important
- Always give your all
- Don’t live in the past, keep moving forward
- Have some fun!
- Find balance
- Have no regrets
- Look up from the screen and see things with your eyes
My time with EIE Spring ’17 changed my life. In just 4 months I was able to accomplish more than I had ever I imagined I would. Despite how hard it is not having EIE be my reality, I know in my heart that it truly is just the beginning for me. Contradictory to what I started this blog with, EIE is not just a memory, but it is my present AND future. The friends I made are so important to me and I am now, and will continue to keep in touch with them. The knowledge I gained and things I learned I will use with me as I move on inspired to continue learning and share my knowledge through teaching others. The things I saw and experienced I not only have endless pictures and videos of, but are forever engrained in my mind. I am truly just so lucky and grateful to have been a part of it all.
There are many ways that I am/will be trying to make my transition and adjustment easier, and also to take a piece of Israel home with me. For example…
I plan to observe Shabbat in my own way at home. More specifically, I plan to take a day for myself to rest, enjoy, be outside, with family and friends, and to reflect on the past week as well as prepare for the one ahead. I also plan to continue the Heller High tradition of doing a tzedakah project on Shabbat. I have not yet done any projects, but I have plenty in mind that hopefully I can get my family and friends to do with me!
- I plan to attend Biennial in Boston 2017 to be a part of it and hear the presentations, but also as an excuse to see my Heller High friends again!! 🙂
- I plan to get more involved in my NFTY region.
- I plan to go to the Kids4Peace gathering in Boston this summer.
- I plan to write about my adjustment and express myself so I don’t forget these feelings and how important they are.
- I plan to be a Madricha at my temple next school year, hopefully as a Hebrew specialist.
- I plan to take a Hebrew course at a local college as well as just practice it as much as possible on my own.
- I plan to watch the news and read more so that I can stay updated on the world.
- I plan to participate in the online Teaching Israel Program
- I plan to visit Israel again next summer for a month with my awesome mom!
- I plan to keep in touch with my friends and teachers on EIE.
- I plan to put together a scrapbook of everything from my trip into one.
- I plan to be a leader in my community and advocate for what I believe in.
Overall, I could not be more grateful for having the experience that I had on URJ Heller High/EIE Spring ’17. What I have taken away will carry me on through life and help me to become the person I want to be and fulfill my hopes and dreams for the future. I am home now with so much inspiration to continue what I started there, and I am excited to see where that will take me. Thank you Heller High staff and friends, Israel for, well being Israel, and to my family and friends at home for helping me to make my dream a reality.
Read the rest of Shaina’s blog here.
Shay Morrel is a rising senior from Sterling, Massachusetts. She belongs to Beth El Temple, is a member of NFTY-NE and was a madricha in the religious school. Shaina also attended URJ Crane Lake for the past eight years.