Posts Tagged ‘journeys

So it’s been a week since graduation, and as the fresh excitement wears off, I’m starting to reflect on lessons these four years have taught me.  If you’re reading this, I want to share them with you.

First of all, try everything. A wise friend once pointed out how alike the words “university” and “universe” are – because college opens up a whole new universe of possibilities. I’m glad I found a home in the clubs that I thought I would.  (Thank you to Hillel at Brandeis, The Hoot, and STAND.) But I’m also forever grateful that I took the chance to sing a cappella, perform in 24 Hour Musical, and participate in all the quirky Brandeis traditions.  So do it all. The world is your oyster and campus is your home.

Accept that friendships might change as circumstances change. You may discover that some relationships, whether in high school or on your freshman floor, came from living in close proximity.

If you’re still in school, go to office hours, not only to get questions answered, but to get to know your professors as people.  Also, use all the campus resources, because they are here for YOU.  I’ll tell you this because there’s NO shame in it: I wish I’d found my Brandeis therapist even earlier.

It’s perfectly fine to drop a class if you need to. This happens much more often than you think.

Learn from someone who’s let too many deadlines slip by – DON’T PROCRASTINATE.  Do start your job/internship/scholarship/etc search early to stay ahead of all the due dates.

It’s okay to be an introvert in college. It’s okay to stay home when you need to recharge, or to take yourself out for solo adventures, something I absolutely recommend doing.  Realizing this was probably my biggest moment of self-discovery.

Platonic relationships are important – speaking as someone who has as many guy friends as girlfriends.

On that note, it’s great to have many types of friends. The ones who will tell you honestly how you look, and the ones who always know what to say to make you feel good. The kind ones, and the ones you can be snarky with.

There is a difference between having real feelings for someone, and enjoying the attention they give you. When you’re single and caught up in the moment, you might not see the difference.

Your parents were right about a lot of things, and you’ll start to discover that as “real world” experiences begin.

With that said, always listen to your intuition if you just know something’s not right.

Do venture outside your comfort zone, but don’t act like someone you are not. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate what makes you unique is not worth your time. I have to remind myself this through the highs and lows of job searching.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Don’t look at other people (especially on social media) and feel inadequate because that seem so much more secure and accomplished than you. We all have insecurities, deep down somewhere.

Most of all, be patient with yourself. Set goals and expectations, but don’t let them stress you out.  Expect that things may not happen on our time, but they happen when they are meant to. Sure, I thought a lot more of my life would be in order by now, but what good does it do to think that?  (This article sums up that feeling better than I ever could.)

You don’t have all the answers yet, and that is okay. I don’t even know all the things that I don’t know yet. But you will learn and grow a little more every day, and that’s how we will become the people we’re supposed to be.
To my classmates, congratulations again, and to the rest of you, keep enjoying college and life!

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Commencement day photo taken by my dad from up in the bleachers

This semester abroad is so close now, I can almost taste the tea and crumpets. 
My January 1 flight (Jan. 2 arrival) is booked.  
As someone who always looks for special meanings in numbers and dates, I think it’s especially significant that New Year’s Day 2014 is literally the start of my biggest adventure yet.  New year, new country, new friends.
A month from now, I’ll be sailing the River Thames on an orientation boat cruise.
Some more knowledge I’ve gained recently (thanks to a wonderful program alumna):  
-You’ll have to pay to join clubs at Queen Mary and most English universities, but theatre tickets in London are very reasonably priced, and most museums are free (!!!) for students.  
-Under no circumstances should you try to imitate a British accent.  It’s okay to be your American self. 
That’s all for now, as I push through finals and keep my eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel.  Much more to come.
“I’m on my way, don’t know where I’m going, I’m on my way, taking my time but I don’t know where” 

I’ve been waiting to write this post with wonderful news to share — I was officially accepted to spend Spring Semester 2014 at Queen Mary, University of London!  I’m going on the Arcadia program, so if any other accepted students see this, please write to me!

(I sure hope this government shutdown is resolved by the time I leave the US.  Does anyone else find it terribly ironic that America was born from a Tea Party against the Brits, and now our very own Tea Party is our downfall?  Political karma in action.)

So this will be my campus, a new home away from home-away-from-home:
Study abroad has always seemed so far off in the distant horizon, until it hit me yesterday: My program starts on January 1, 2014.  That is 3 months from today, October 1.  At this very moment in 3 months, I will be either on an international flight, or setting foot in England.  I am a self-imposed expatriate.
So I have three months to finalize my flight arrangements and get a student visa.  But that’s only the beginning.
Three months to prove to my parents that their baby girl is prepared and ready to live in another country, while in reality, I’m just as terrified as anyone.
Three months to vacillate between anticipation of all that lies ahead, and sadness for what I’m (temporarily) leaving behind.  It’s happening already: I get so excited looking at destinations for excursions all over Europe.  Then I think about how I’ll miss my cozy Brandeis routine.  And the dear friend who brought me tea when I was sick all weekend, and even the familiar acquaintances who I pass on the way up the Rabb Steps — I may not see any of them for 8 months.
Three months to learn some easy and edible recipes, because I won’t be on a meal plan at Queen Mary.  I’m going to be living with British flatmates, and I cannot be that dumb American student who can’t cook.
I hope the locals like me despite any cultural differences, and if I make mistakes while adjusting to life another country, I hope they understand that I don’t represent America as a whole.
I hope the students on my program from other schools understand the love of learning, activism, introversion, and curiosity that is my life at Brandeis.

I don’t know what else to expect right now.  Setting expectations for something completely new is like trying to remember an event that hasn’t happened yet.  I just know that every day I hope to feel a little more ready, until it’s time to go.
My mom sent me back to school with this quote for inspiration: “A parent’s job is to send their children off with roots, and wings.”  So this period of time is about strengthening my wings. Onwards I go, with my favorite journey-related songs in mind, like this one:
Until next time,