If I could write a letter to myself before my semester in Europe, there are a few helpful tips and words of encouragement that I would be sure to include. And who knows, maybe those same tips and words could help someone in the future that happens to be reading this blog. So, here goes, a letter to me (and possibly you):
First, always have a back up plan. Or, at least try your best to. This is one that I’m still learning because, admittedly, its hard. When your friends flight gets delayed making you miss your train that night, and you get stranded in the train station in Rome, make sure you know that they have all patrons exit the building around 2 am. Have a list of friendly hotel clerks who will let you take a nap on the couches of their lobby before your 4 am train. Or, ask me for some reccomendations.
Okay, but in all honesty, as I said before, its difficult to plan for that. And while studying abroad, its difficult to plan for almost all of the things that will go wrong. So while you should try your best to have back up plans, in those inevitable cases where you won’t, just remain calm and do your best. Its gotten you this far. But even more importantly than that, don’t let it ruin your fun. I had mentioned before that those trials and obstacles are where you gain the most growth. Find satisfaction in that and feel accomplished and lucky, not defeated.
Another thing, let yourself be tired. You will be constantly moving, and at all times everything around you will be so stimulating. Each country, city, and second will be a highlight. If you feel like crashing, its okay. Take a small break and you’ll be able to enjoy everything all the more because of it. Don’t let the pressure of making every second count get to you (too much). And keep in mind that if you ever want to come back to these incredible places badly enough, you’ll make it happen.
That being said – make that your goal. To enjoy what you can of these cities without wearing yourself down. And, to come back. Which, really, I know was your goal anyway – to find new places and share them with the people I love, my brothers in particular, to show them not only how to go to college, but how to get the most out of it, and to see the world, and let them know that they can, too. Then, one day, bring them back with me.