Today was the final day of class for the cross-cultural training course I had to take in order to study abroad next semester. I honestly hated the class, but in the last five minutes the professor said something that I’m going to be holding onto for the next six months. In fact I think I’m going to tack it on my wall as a reminder. He said “you’re making the right decision in choosing to study abroad”. It’s that simple, yet it felt like something I’d been waiting to hear for months.
I’ve never been so excited in my whole life, but it’s no secret that I’m currently in a state of panic over the whole thing. I have been asking myself if I would regret this choice for the rest of my life, I have been wishing that I could just know that I’m going down the right path. I’ve been doubting my ability to do this, to go so far out of my comfort zone. I am a very shy person, I may try to avoid this and change it, but it’s a simple truth of who I am. Maybe one day I won’t be, but I’ve been trying to change for as long as I can remember and I’m just not there yet. I look at the other students who will be studying abroad and I can’t help but compare myself to them. I’m not like them. I do not walk up to strangers and start a conversation. I do not ask for help or directions. I do not go to parties. I do not socialize. But I’m putting myself in a position where I will be alone in a country where I won’t have anyone I can call, where I’m going to have to do all of the things that I currently cannot do. I’ve been looking at myself and saying “why did you think you could do this!” Everything in me is telling me I’m going to fail.
And I very well might fail. I surely will fail in some aspects. This is not going to be easy, and it’s not going to go as planned. But it is the right decision. I know this because I know that no matter what happens I will learn and grow and come back a better person than when I left. The only way it could truly go wrong is if I die. I’d rather not think about that possibility; besides, it’s just as likely to happen if I stay – and then I wouldn’t have gotten my great adventure.
I’ve also been doubting my choice in university. Maybe I would have a better time at a different school, but I’m just going to have to accept that I made a choice. You can call it fate if you want, but this is where I’m going and it’s where I’m meant to go. Besides, it doesn’t really matter where I’m going, it matters that I’m going. No matter where I go, it will be worth it.
There is still so much work left to do before I will be boarding that plane, and then there will be so much more work. But it will all go by so much easier knowing that I’ve made the right decision. I thought this was the type of thing that you could never know until it was over, but I think I know now. I’m not meant to be the same person forever, I need to get out and figure out who I’m meant to be next and how I need to change. And I just can’t do that here. Back in high school I felt trapped in my life. Going away to college was the right decision then and I knew it without a doubt because I knew that I didn’t have room to grow where I was. I’m feeling the same way now, I’m running out of room to grow and it’s scary because there is so much I still need to change. I know that I’m making the right choice; sometimes it just takes someone else saying it to remind me that it’s true.