As I finish off the last few weeks of my sophomore year, I have begun to take time to reflect on my past year and the journey that I will go on next semester as I head abroad. I have known that I wanted to study abroad ever since high school; I have always loved traveling and most of my favorite memories in life so far have been on trips. But being away from my home, my friends, and my family for such a long period of time is becoming daunting. I am going to Sydney, Australia, meaning I picked the place about as far from home as I could possibly be.
Many questions have circled my mind and made me anxious to be in a new city for a long period of time: Where will I live? Who will I be friends with? How do I get around? How will I communicate with my family? My friends are going to different cities across the world, so we have already begun to make plans for how to stay in touch. I know that my fear of losing my friends is unfounded and we will stay connected, but I can’t help but think: what will happen in those months abroad? Will we change? Become new people? The idea of change can be scary, especially because you are changing everything about your life and entering an entirely different culture. At the same time that I will be expecting my life to radically change, I could also feel as though I picked up my regular life here and dragged it across the world.
To feel like I have fully experienced a small amount of time left with my friends before we leave, I have decided to go about these last few weeks with two goals in mind. Firstly, I have made a list of all the New Orleans festivals, restaurants, and places things that I want to visit with my friends so we can have a special time together before heading around the world. Secondly, I want to focus my energy on living in the moment and to stop thinking about the impending future. To anyone reading this who is anxious about going abroad or just feeling like this semester is flying by, I understand the feeling. Going abroad is going to be an incredible and rewarding experience that will be truly life-changing, but at least for now, I must train myself to live in the moment. We are lucky enough to be in one of the most incredible cities in the world, and college goes by too quickly. So enjoy every moment, whether you’re heading abroad next semester too or simply trying to soak in all the NOLA sunshine.
COVER PHOTO: Global Young Voices