When I was 15 years old, I made a list of 50 goals I had for the next 10 years. For several of these years, the list sat folded in the bottom of one of my drawers. I recently stumbled upon it to find that many had been completed, like graduate high school, go to college, swim in the ocean, go scuba diving, see New York City, get a dog, among others. There were also many that had not been completed. I made a mental note not to throw it away. It was fascinating to me that I could cross off many of the goals that I had written over 5 years prior, but more so that I still dreamed of crossing off many others that remained on the list. When I got accepted to study abroad several months later, I remembered the list and the possibility of fulfilling these dreams began to sink in. I felt a thrill of excitement at the thought of looking at the list years down the road with a checkmark next to the numbers that I had completed, like move far away, travel to Europe, visit family in Spain, shop in Paris, and drink tea in London…
Now with my study abroad experience drawing near, my list is starting to take on a slightly different meaning. I’m realizing that there’s more to it than seeing the sights and being able to say that I’ve done all these amazing things. What’s going to matter is not crossing things off my list, but what it means to do so. I think that what’s going to mean the most is how doing these things makes me grow and change as a person. Experiencing such unfamiliarity is going to teach me a lot about myself and who I’m becoming.
Several months ago when I thought of studying abroad, I felt nothing but excitement. Now that it’s two weeks away, I feel nerves and anxiety about spending 3 months across the world from my family and friends. Those moments when the realization sinks in that I’m going alone to a place where I will know no one and cannot just take a short drive home, I feel adrenaline and even fear. But I think that’s part of the thrill of it all and what truly makes this a growing experience. There’s nothing better to me than experiencing something I never have before, especially something as extreme as this.
This fall, I’ll be completing my minor in Psychology at the University of Leicester. For those who don’t know, Leicester is a city in the East Midlands of England with a population of about 330,000. It’s just over an hour train ride to London, which is where my plane flies into. I fly out of Fargo, North Dakota to Chicago where I have a short layover, and then to the UK! Packing will be a challenge in itself; 3 months into a suitcase and a carry-on seems impossible!
I want to thank everyone who has supported me and helped to make this dream a reality. I’m so blessed to have the people I do in my life. Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing this experience with you!
“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”