Opinion by Courtney Fishman
Photo Courtesy Courtney Fishman
It’s that time — the time I’ve been dreading for quite awhile.
It’s now when days feel like seconds, and weeks seem only like mere hours.
The clocking keeps ticking by, and the photographs are barely able to capture the moments.
No, this isn’t a sappy column about my transformation from a college student to corporate world sell-out nor has anything particularly monumental changed in my life. This instead is about growing up.
Four months ago I did what many college students at Drake University do, study abroad.
My quarter-life Euro-adventure has been a journey unsurpassed by any other trip I’ve experienced and my googly eyed description of this whole process can only mean one thing — it’s coming to an end.
In the last four months, I’ve traveled to 10 countries and 25 cities (insert jaw drop here).
I promise I won’t ramble on about how great the macaroons at Laduree are or how I wish I could spend every day on the Barcelona beach, but I will share some of my learning experiences.
These past four months living in a foreign country has broadened my horizons in so many ways.
Besides finally starting to eat salmon (a feat my parents have attempted to tackle since 1994) I’ve gained confidence in my ability to live independently. I don’t worry as much about taking the metro to get around, speaking to foreigners, even though I haven’t perfected my Spanish, or wandering the city with no plans other than to explore.
As much as a five-star hotel on my weekend trips would be enjoyable, spending those nights in a youth hostel led me to meet some incredible individuals.
In London I had a debate about American politics with girls from Denmark, France and Chile. They all spoke English, could name almost every state and rambled off facts I didn’t even know about “Obamacare.” My time abroad has helped me see how uninformed I am about the rest of the world, as I suppose many other Americans are, and it’s something I hope to continually improve.
When in Morocco, I was taught to “live simply.” We spent an entire weekend without Wi-Fi, and to be honest I really didn’t miss being plugged in. Was my mom worried sick? Yes. Did I want to text my boyfriend or Instagram my camel pic? Of course.
But spending my days unglued to my phone helped me appreciate the culture a little bit more. Not having to constantly check my email about the perfect internship was a refreshing change of pace that we all need more of.
While I know I’m no Ghandi, and I don’t want to sound like that annoying know-it-all, I encourage you all to explore.
Maybe you don’t have the time or money to study abroad, maybe you can’t even leave the country, but venturing out of your daily routine will teach you so much about yourself. Whether you’re going to a new museum a week, spending some quality R&R time at that park you always pass by on your way home from work or even teaching yourself how to master the art of baking the soft but not too soft chocolate chip cookie, you’ll learn something new. And seriously what could be better than cooking up the perfect chocolate chip cookie?
Fishman is a sophomore magazines major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org