Making Choices, And Owning Them

I skimmed through an article a Facebook friend shared, 15 Things You Don’t Owe Anyone, and it got me thinking. When I started skimming I was expecting only the blatantly obvious, something like: you don’t owe anyone sex because they paid for dinner. But I was really struck by the items on the list that state that you don’t owe anyone an explanation of your life choices (whether that be relationships, career, appearance, etc.).

It hit me, rather suddenly, that I spend way too much time coming up with explanations. Explanations for my actions, my choices, my feelings. Some of these are explanations that I give to other people, or that I fantasize about giving to people. But most of the time I’m trying to give myself an explanation. I try to justify my feelings and my decisions, as if every little thing that I do needs to be defended.

As I’m finishing up my teacher education program and applying for my first teaching job, I’ve been trying to justify two things to myself:

1) Why do I want to work in that city? The same city that he lives in.

I’ve justified it to myself by reasoning that he’s the only one I know in this geographic area and I don’t want to be lonely. I want to have support, someone to lean on when my first year of teaching gets rough.

Sure, that’s a good reason. And maybe it’s true. At least partially. But deep down I know that I’ve made a decision, and I don’t need to explain it to anyone, least of all myself. I’m allowed to make decisions, even life-changing ones, for whatever reason I want. Or for no good reason at all.

   2) Do I want to be a teacher for the rest of my life? Is it horrible if the answer is NO?

I know so many people who are becoming teachers because they feel that it is their calling in life. They’ve wanted to become a teacher for several years, if not more. But that’s not me. It took me a long time to make this decisions. It was, admittedly, not my first choice career path. And I do see myself doing something different at some point (I will finish writing my novel someday, that is something I am certain about). But just because I don’t plan on teaching for the next fifty years, doesn’t mean that I can’t be a great teacher for however long I do it for. And I don’t need to explain that to my peers or my future boss or myself.

Sometimes in life we do things that don’t make sense and we make decisions that aren’t the most logical. I could spend the rest of my life trying to justify the choices I have made, trying to convince myself and everyone else that I was reasonable in my decision making process. But sometimes the most reasonable thing to do, is to go for what you want. Do what you need to do. Do what makes you happy. Do what you feel is right. Do it and own it and don’t apologize to anyone. Do it and don’t even think about regretting it.

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Staying Close

As I was glancing through my unread emails today something occurred to me. I saw the subject line for an email from the Career Resource Center at my alma mater informing me of a managerial position in Oregon. I deleted it without thought and kept scrolling.

It’s highly unlikely that is would have been the type of job I would apply for, but four months ago I would have at least looked at it. Before I graduated in May I decided that I would be willing to move pretty much anywhere if it meant I could start a career.

I addition to applying for jobs all over California, I also applied for jobs in New York, New Jersey, and Ohio. In hindsight it wasn’t the smartest tactic. Why would these places bother with interviewing me via Skype when there are more than enough qualified candidates applying close by? Regardless, I would have been willing to move for the right job. I was even excited about the prospect of starting new.

Now I have no interest in moving out of Northern California. Sure, if I was offered a chance at my dream job I would accept without a second thought, regardless of location. But that is not going to happen. I’ve stopped looking for jobs outside of the area. And when I was deciding upon graduate schools to apply to I decided to cross the Southern California schools off of my list.

It’s not that I want to stay where I am. I don’t, I assure you.

It’s almost more embarrassing than that…

I don’t want to move any farther away from my boyfriend. He’s currently going to school about four hours away, and I want to be closer to him.

I never thought I would be that girl. The one who makes important life choices based on a guy. But here I am. I picked my first choice grad school before we were even technically dating, and one of my favorite things about it is that it’s only an hour drive from his school. It also happens to have an incredible one year program, but I would be lying if I said the proximity to my boyfriend has nothing to do with why I want to go there so badly. It isn’t the only reason, but it was a factor in my decision making process.

We’ve only been dating for two months and this scares me a little bit. I always said I would never let a guy get in the way of my career. But then, I’d never had a boyfriend before. And I certainly don’t mean to sound like he’s holding me back. He’s incredibly supportive and encouraging. If anything, I’m holding myself back – or will hold myself back in the future, nothing has really happened yet. But I don’t want it to come to that.

I guess what I’m really worried about is that having a boyfriend has changed more than I’ve realized. There are good changes, or course: It’s nice to have someone to talk to, to know that if I have to go through something difficult he will be there, to receive sweet text messages at random, etc.

But being in a relationship also comes with some constrictions:

  • There is a time commitment (which is fine with me right now because I don’t have a life).
  • I’m no longer single, so I can’t get drunk and make out with random strangers (I’ve never actually done that, but it sounds fun, right?).
  • I’m more reluctant to do things that are irresponsible (like booking a trip to France even though I’m $50,000 in debt with student loans), because I’m afraid he’ll think I’m crazy.
  • I’m attached to him, and that means I don’t want to move half way across the country for a job that may or may not work out.

From where I’m sitting right now, it’s hard to tell if any of those are actually that bad. Honestly, I kind of feel like having a boyfriend (not just any boyfriend, but this particular boyfriend) is good for me. I’m just afraid that five years from now I’ll realize that I was wrong.

I’m… Going Back to School?

After months of trying to decide what to do with my life I have finally made a decision. Ok, so I still don’t know for sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. That’s a tough question for a 22 year old. But I’ve decided on something to do for the next couple of years that won’t drive me absolutely crazy.

Law school is out. Pursuing a career in publishing is out (at least for the next 2 years). And working in a deli for the rest of my life was never in.

So, what’s next?… Grad school. A master’s degree in education with a single subject teaching credential, to be specific.

I never planned on going to grad school. And the more my mom pushed the more I resisted. I never planned on becoming a teacher. But now that I’ve given it some thought I’m surprised it took me so long to come to this resolution. I think a big part of it was stubbornness. My mom was a kindergarten teacher for several years and I was determined to do something that no one in my family had ever done before. Plus, I always found it annoying that everyone just assumed I would want to be a teacher when I told them that I was studying English. I didn’t want to be a cliché.

Since it took so long for me to finally make my mind up, I’ve only got about six weeks to get everything together for the application process. It’s way more complicated than I ever imagined. Test, letters of recommendation, essays, volunteer experience, and more tests. It’s going to be a busy six weeks for sure.

But one of the things I’m thinking about most right now is what I want to do differently now that I’ve already done the whole college experience once. I had a great four years at my alma mater, the best years of my life so far. I feel like I’ve left part of my heart there. I don’t have many regrets because I would never want to change the way things turned out. But there is certainly a lot I know now that I did not know then.

By the time I graduated I felt like I had finally just gotten the hang of it. I finally knew how to make friends and keep them. I finally knew how to take chances and try new things. I finally knew how to love myself and the people around me. College was a learning experience in more ways than I could ever count. So this time around I want to do everything that I wish I had done before. Now, I just need to figure out exactly what those things are.

I Do Not Know What I Want

Sometimes you have revelations at the oddest of moments. This past week I got to re-unite with my “old college friends” (OK, it’s only been 3 months since I graduated) at my alma mater. And I did a lot of thinking while I was there. I thought I knew what I wanted for my future, but maybe I don’t.

I loved seeing my friends – some of whom had graduated with me this past fall, and some of whom have one more year. But it just felt so different than it had when we were all students. There was strangeness in the air. A feeling that we could never go back to the way it had been. That doesn’t mean that our friendship cannot one day become even stronger than they ever were before, just that it will never be like it was.

You know that saying “you can never go home”? That saying finally made sense to me four years ago when I can home from college for the first time. And it makes sense to me once again. My university was my home. And as I drove toward the bell tower I felt like I was returning home. But the feeling quickly faded into something different. A feeling that I just didn’t quite belong anymore.

And this all made me think: I really want to go back to school. I don’t want it to be over. I know that grad school would never be the same, I wouldn’t be with the same people and I wouldn’t be in the same city. But it would be school. And school is familiar. I’ve gone to school every fall since I was five years old and this is the first fall I haven’t eagerly packed my backpack up and headed to class.

And this got me thinking about making decisions and what factors I want to influence my decision making. There were two main things that I thought about: Grad School and Boyfriends. An odd match, but hey, my brain is unpredictable.

#1. Grad School (Law School to be specific):

I can’t make this decision based on a fear of the unknown. If I go to law school my life is pretty much plotted out (at least more than it is now). School would be a change and a challenge for sure, but it would be predictable. If I don’t go to law school I have no idea how long I’ll be stuck working at the deli, I have no idea what will come next or where I will end up. I have no idea if the career path I choose will work out (though, that can also be said for law school). I love the idea of living in a college town with other students and going to class every day. I do not love the idea of endless job applications with no guarantee of a better job. I want to go to law school, simply because I want to go back to school. That’s not a good enough reason. I need to want to be a lawyer, and I simply don’t know right now.

#2. Boyfriends:

I’m 22 and have never been in a relationship, and I feel like I’m getting close for the first time in my life. It’s a guy I’ve known since high school and who I re-connected with this summer at work. Now he’s gone back to school and we’ve been talking a lot on Facebook and Skype. While he was here, there was no doubt in my mind that I had a huge crush on him and wanted to be with him. But my feelings have been weakening since he left. If my feelings are shrinking now, how on Earth would I maintain a long-distance relationship if one began?

And why do I want a boyfriend anyway? Yeah, I’m 22 and I haven’t had one yet. So what? Who says that’s unacceptable? Media? Society? My peers? I want to have the experience, to check it off my list so that I can move on. Is that a good enough reason?

But maybe I’m just afraid of the unknown again. How am I supposed to know if I want a boyfriend if I never have one? I like being single. Single is familiar and easy. A relationship would come with its own benefits I’m sure, but it wouldn’t be easy, especially long-distance.

Conclusions:

  1. I think too much
  2. I suck at making decisions
  3. I do not know what I want
  4. When in doubt, go with the brave decision – that is what I have decided to do

Commitment – Back to Blogging!

It’s just one of those things. The kind where the longer you do it or don’t do it, the harder it becomes to stop or start –respectively. You know, like eating that massive bag of chips, or not going to the gym, or doing drugs. But I am talking about blogging of course! Though, that is not to say that I haven’t been on a bit of a Halloween eating craze and avoiding the gym like the plague. Luckily however, I am not a drug addict. But I’ve been putting off blogging for months, with no reason whatsoever. I’ve even written blogs and not posted them! But the longer I go without posting, the harder it is to take that first step and open up my word document and change the font to Times New Roman (the default to “Calibri” font drives me nuts!). So here it is!

Sorry if this isn’t very entertaining. And double sorry for not posting in forever. I’m on the road to recovery. I guess I’m just one of those all or nothing kind of people. Like, I’ve written in a journal every single night for the past ten years (with only about a dozen exceptions) because I know that as soon as I say that I’m only going to write when exciting things happen that will be the end of my journaling days. I write every day, because I know it’s that or not at all. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to make that commitment to other aspects of my life. I should go to the gym every day, I should stop eating junk food, I should spend all of my free time reading instead of watching reality TV. But I’m not much of a commitment person.

Right now, as a college senior, I’m refusing to make a commitment about my future. My LSAT scores came in today, but I don’t want to commit to law school. I don’t want to commit to grad school at all, because that’s committing to a career path, and heaven forbid I ever make a decision on what I want to do with the rest of my life. I doubt I’ll ever be content in that respect. I’ll always wonder what else is out there, I’ll never be certain that I made the right choice. Hopefully, if I ever snag myself a decent man I will be able to at least commit to that!

But I have to admit that I don’t plan to commit to posting to this blog every day. I wish I would. But I don’t always do the things I know I should. But I’m going to finish this post, and I’m going to proofread it, and then I’m going to post it. Then I can get out of this rut and start posting more and more often. And just as it is harder to start after a long drought, it will also become easier the more often I post. At least life is forgiving in that way.

Wishy Washy – Life After College

            I am not a decisive person. I hate making decisions. And as a senior in college, I’ve got some BIG decisions to make over the next few months. Mainly: what am I going to do for the rest of my life?!?!?!?! To narrow it down a bit, my current struggle is to decide whether or not I should go to law school. I thought I shared my two trains of thought on the situation. Maybe it will help sway my opinion so I can at least make some sort of decision.

            Anti Law School Thoughts: Law school is a three-year commitment, and it seems like everyone who goes through it hates it with a passion. I read very slowly, there is no way I will be able to handle the work load in my classes, let alone the actual work load of a practicing lawyer. What if I drop out after a year or two? What if I don’t drop out and I can’t find a job? What if I find a job and I hate it for the rest of my life? What if I’m the worst lawyer in the history of lawyers? What if I become corrupt, or am forced to defend something or someone whom I am fundamentally opposed to? I already have a whole lot of student debt, and I will have way more if I go to law school. I might get a high paying job, but I might not get a job at all – and I may be stuck working in the grocery store deli for the rest of all eternity. I might hate law school and not make any friends or have any fun for three solid years and always regret not trying to find a job in publishing. What if I sign up to go to law school and then by some highly unlikely turn of events I am accepted for an amazing internship that I might apply for in a field that I might love. And the worst possibility: by choosing law school I might miss out on a truly life-changing experience – finding my dream career, falling in love, going where life takes me and seeing what happens.

            Pro Law School Thoughts: I am smart and strong and capable of achieving more than anyone expects of me – including law school. Pretty much everyone besides my mom tells me I’d make an awful lawyer and I want to prove them wrong. Not every lawyer is of the obnoxiously opinionated variety and refuse to keep their mouth shut. Nice people can be lawyers too. What do I really have to lose? No matter what the outcome, I will leave law school more knowledgeable and better educated. I’m already thousands of dollars in debt, might as well quadruple it and in doing so increase my chances of actually being able to pay off those loans before I’m ready to ship off to a nursing home. I could actually make a difference as a lawyer. I could study Intellectual Property law, or animal rights, or a dozen other things which could actual be pretty interesting. I could be a lawyer for a few years, and write novels in my spare time. If I really want to be a writer, I need a day job to pay the bills. And the best possibility: by choosing law school I might find my dream career, fall in love, take a risk and end up with a fantastic life I never knew I wanted.

Well, I’m not sure anything is clearer to me. Some days I feel totally gung-ho about the whole idea, and other days I feel one hundred percent certain that it is not the path I should take. Can you tell which mood I’m in today?

Isn’t Life Grand?

            My aunt keeps commenting “Isn’t Life Grand?” on my Facebook statuses and it makes me smile every time. This past weekend was an adventure for sure. I got to explore London (for the third time in the past four months), see the Roman baths in the gorgeous city of Bath, explore the massive Windsor Castle, and see the magnificent ruins of Stonehenge. But I also spent quite a lot of time walking through the rain, killing time in a pub, sitting in a crowded bus station, trying to have a conversation with a drunken Scottish man with a very thick accent, trying to avoid being kissed on the cheek by the very same man, trying to sleep on a double-decker bus, walking the streets of Manchester at 4am, sitting in a freezing train station for hours before the sun even rose, watching my money disappear from the back seat of a cab, sitting on a freezing bus trying not to fall asleep, and sighing with a great sense of relief as I opened my front door and crawled into my bed at 10am. Then I woke up at 11am to the drip-drip-drip of my leaking ceiling.

            As much as I wish my weekend had consisted of less sleep deprivation and more sunshine, it just wouldn’t have been the same without a little bit of chaos. When I look back on the wonderful experiences I’ve had studying abroad, I’m going to think of that Scottish man, and dozens of train stations, and all that rain. And I’m going to laugh. I’m in England, and just being here is an adventure.

Over the past four months I think that what I’ve learned more than anything is that life is an adventure. I see the impact of choices more than ever, and the importance of taking risks. My biggest decision was not applying to study in England, it was not signing the papers, and it definitely wasn’t buying that plane ticket. My biggest decision was going to a little study abroad info session about a year ago. There have been so many times in my life when I have been interested in something but haven’t followed through. I’ve paced back and forth in front of buildings, walked to the door, touched the handle, and left. I’ve written emails and deleted them completely. I’ve hung up the phone before it’s answered. And now I’m thinking, what if I hadn’t? Not only is my life insanely different today than it was just five months ago, but I know that when this is all over and I’m back in the United States that my life will be different than it would have been if I hadn’t gone to that meeting.

Isn’t it just grand that one little tiny decision can have such an impact? And isn’t it grand that we have the power to make those decisions every single day?

The Right Decision

            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.

Phases

            It has occurred to me recently that my dream of becoming a writer might just be a phase. I know this is a horrible thing to think, but I’m thinking it nonetheless. I’m surprised in myself for even writing this, but I’ve always had a problem with honesty. That is, I’m far too honest, especially with myself.

            I think back to a time when I truly dreamed of being a pro basketball player or an Olympic swimmer. Now, let me tell you I’m five-foot one on a good day, have never been a huge fan of exercise (although I have in the past enjoyed basketball, swimming, and skiing), and I cannot run to save my life. Seriously, in P.E. I would try my hardest to jog the entire way when we were forced to run 1.5 miles through the woods, but I was so slow that people would literally walk right past me. That’s how bad I am at running. I also had a phase when I was sure I wanted to be a mortician (ewww, what was I thinking?), and then was sure that my life’s mission was to be a scientist. Now dead things scare me more than anything – I almost never even kill insects if I can help it – and I have hated every science lab assignment I have ever had to complete in school. My point is, I was just as sure then as I am now. Although this was all before I started high school, and none of those desires lasted more than two years. Now I’m 20 years old and  have been thinking about a career in writing for at least three years. And even before that, I always knew that I wanted to write a book, it had just never occurred to me that I could possibly make that into a career. I still don’t know that it’s possible, but I know that there are some people out there who manage it, so it’s not impossible.

            I’ve also been listening to a lot of music lately (no, I’m not going off on a completely random tangent, in case you were wondering). I will be completely obsessed with a single song for about a week. I will listen to it ten times a day, every time I get a chance. Then I will not listen to music for a few days, and when I start again I will have a new favorite song and the previous one will seem borderline annoying to me. This also works with genres of music. I had my country music phase, my British Indie rock phase, my folk phase, my acoustic phase, now I’m back to rock.

            So what if this is all just a phase? My “I want to be a writer” phase. Even if I’m somehow good enough, will I ever be able to commit to a genre, a plot, a character, an ending? How many times will I write the first five to twenty pages of what I think is going to be a brilliant book, only to let it completely fall from my radar.  I’ve done it several times already. And I’m bound to do it again.

            And what if it’s not just a phase? What if this is truly what I want to spend the rest of my life doing? And what if I fail? Maybe I have finally found my calling, but maybe I’ll never be successful. Maybe I won’t be able to make a living doing what I love. It happens every day to people. It’s not like kids grow up dreaming of being a janitor, or a waitress, or working in a deli (which is my current summer job, and I can’t help but wonder what the people I work with once dreamed of being). Why would I be so lucky, when so many people are not? But I suppose that question can apply to every little thing in life, and so far I have been pretty darn lucky.

            I guess the only thing to do is wait and see. See if this is just another phase, and then wonder if I’ll ever actually commit to anything (I read something once that said people born on the date I was born on tend to have commitment issues, at the time I laughed because it was so true. Now I see, maybe that could apply to more than my complete lack of a love life). See if I truly have found what I want to spend my life doing, and then work my hardest to increase my chances of succeeding. But I know, that no matter what, I will keep writing. Whether it is as a hobby or a career, I will always keep writing. And I guess that’s all I really need to know for right now.

Choosing a University to Study Abroad at is Stressing Me Out!

            It is so much easier to plan for something that is completely hypothetical. When I was researching study abroad programs a few months ago it was easy to find a school, make my decision, and fall completely in love with my plan. But that was before I was seriously thinking it would be an actual possibility. Now that I’ve met with a faculty advisor at my college to get things rolling it is much more difficult. I had to throw away my initial plan because I’m going with a different program, and I’m fine with that. The initial excitement about the school I had chosen began to wear off as the fear of such a venture started to creep in.

            So now I’m on the hunt once again! And now that it’s for real I’m finding it much harder. There are so many things to consider and so many aspects that seem so important. I’m going to apply to a program in which I choose a few school (1st choice, 2nd choice, etc…) and will be placed in one. So no matter how much research I do to choose the perfect school for me (out of about twelve choices in the UK) I might not end up going there. This is both frightening and exciting. There is a sense of fate guiding me to the school that is right for me (I know, this sounds like bs, but I’m going to call it optimism). Still, I’m going to make sure that all of my top three choices will be good places for me.

            Apparently I’m kind of picky, because so far I’m finding flaws in all of the schools. One of my number one worries: bars (pubs), drinking, and partying. Every school I look at has at least one bar on campus (some have two or three) and the students all seem to enjoy drinking and partying on a regular basis. I know, this shouldn’t worry me because despite the assumption that all college students in the US party and drink in excess I know this isn’t true. I’ve found my niche at my current college, almost none of my friends party and I’ve never even been offered a drink (although I’m at the point where I do want to experience a college party at least once). This may seem like a rarity, but I know plenty of people who don’t drink and aren’t pressured to. And if I do study in the UK I want to have at least one drink at a pub (“when in Rome”). I want to experience all the culture has to offer, and that includes going to a few parties. But I don’t want to return home after a semester abroad and be complete alcoholic (I know it’s not the most rational fear, but many people in my family have drinking problems, which is the number one reason I’ve stayed away from alcohol my whole life). So, basically, I’m worrying about something that is probably avoidable and will more than likely not be a huge issue. I have a feeling there will be much more unnecessary worrying to come in this process.

            As I’m coming to the end of my search (I only have a few days left to decide) I’m really beginning to realize the things that matter to me the most. I can’t avoid the drinking, and every school I’ve looked at seems to have at least a decent English program, so what really matters to me is how easy or hard it is going to be for me to make friends. I think this has always been my number one worry, and probably will be right up until I get there (actually, it will probably continue to be my number one worry right up until I’m back in the US and it’s all over). So the issues that I’m considering most in my decision are housing, orientation, and support for international students. Housing seems to be easy enough to figure out (and helped me cut a few colleges off of my list), but orientation information for spring semester is proving to be difficult. Many schools have great orientations for students studying in the fall, but seem to offer very little for those starting half way through the academic year in the second semester. I’ve searched the websites diligently and scoured the internet, but I’m still not getting all the information I want.

            Another aspect which I never even thought of before is actually playing a big role in my decision process: airport pickup. Ok, now I just seem finicky. But really, nothing sounds more scary than getting off of a plane at a major airport in a foreign country, going to a train to take you to the city, then finding a taxi to take you from the train station to the school, and then standing in front of this university with no idea of where to go. Add to this the facts that I’ve never been on a plane before, I’ve never even been in an airport, I’ve never traveled alone, and the most traveling I’ve ever done was a cruise to Baja California with my entire family. So the above scenario is absolutely terrifying to me. The university that has made it to number one on my list claims that they will pick you up from the airport, take you to the school, and help you settle in. Maybe they were exaggerating a bit on their brochure, but it sure does sound better than the alternative.

            So, these are the things that are concerning me as I make this important decision. If you are reading this and have studied abroad or are planning to I would love to hear about your challenges and experiences!