Taking Off and Letting Go

Tomorrow’s the day. After years of talking about studying abroad and seeing my friends come and go from their respective adventures, it is finally my turn. Buenos Aires, here I come.

People have been asking me what excites me about this impending trip and I have an entire arsenal of answers to give:

  • The chance to fully immerse myself in a culture by doing a home stay and mingling with locals for 5 months.
  • Finally making my way to go explore South America (continent #5, hope I’ll be able to get on that cruise to Antarctica and get #6!)
  • The steak. The wine. The steak, again.
  • The unbelievably favorable exchange rate
  • Taking classes in Spanish at a foreign university

The list could go on, but I would say that the thing that excites me most is a chance to escape high-speed college life. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Georgetown: I am rarely happier than when giving a tour to prospective students and telling them all about the school, and one of the best weeks of my college career was when working with New Student Orientation and just getting to remember over and over again why I fell in love with this school.

That being said, I am so ready to get away.

For as long as I can remember, I have been hyper-active, unable to be content with having any free or idle time in my schedule. Because of this, I have given most of my time to organized activities/teams/clubs. As you can imagine, this habit persisted as I moved onto college and found myself surrounded with thousands of other people with the exact same habit, most of whom managed it far better than I did.

I joined what made me happy, took the classes that interested me, and later narrowed my extracurricular and academic focus after trying out a few things (okay, maybe a few too many things). But after a little while, it became unbearable to study in the library where people felt the need to talk and compete about how much work they had for classes and clubs as opposed to actually doing it, and I sometimes struggled to manage people who seemed to find their time more valuable than that of their peers‘.

I can’t pretend that I am high and mighty and above these tendencies, but I am incredibly excited to escape that environment for a semester. Leaving behind activities like The Phantoms (co-ed a cappella group) and The Hoya (school newspaper) and knowing that I will miss developments in these groups is tough for me, especially after having given to much time to them these past two years. However, I am a firm believer that in this case, absence can make the heart grow fonder.

I look forward to the opportunity to manage nobody but myself. I will not spend hours a day sending emails, tracking responses, and working around others’ schedules. I will not be holding any titles or positions and will be beholden to nobody but myself. I will work on not worrying about the little things.

Now, here’s my little secret: it’s all well and good to declare that I’m going to jet off to a foreign country for five months “just to get away from it all!” (proclaim in a sweeping, dramatic voice), but the real pit in my stomach is that this idea actually scares me a little bit. Not being in charge of something is new and unnerving, and letting go isn’t easy for me. I’m ready for these next five months to be an exercise in self-restraint and relaxation (something I’m clearly not particularly good at).

So, the bags are all packed and I’m ready to step onto that plane. Hopefully my mental state and churning stomach will catch up to me sometime soon. Please.


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