I’ve recently been having trouble focusing. My mind wanders from my homework to the trees outside, glittering in the golden sunlight of an early autumn afternoon. It then cruises along the open farm fields around Waterville, then up to northern Maine; Katahdin rising up in the distance behind the blue waters of Lake Chesuncook. It flies from there to mountaintops in the Adirondacks of upstate New York where I spent this past summer.
Then, my mind leaves these familiar scenes. It goes to places I’ve only seen pictures of and read and heard about. Fjords in Norway, the city streets of Stockholm, the steppes of Patagonia. I want to explore these places and to know them with the same intimacy as I know my dorm room at Colby. Soon, in about a year, I’m going to get my chance.
I’ve been spending my spare moments perusing the study abroad options on the Colby website, looking for places to go in my time abroad Junior year. I’m barely able to contain my excitement; I have to make a conscious effort to not continuously blab about my fledgling plans.
Some of my reasons for planning on going abroad include sensible things like gaining experiences that will help me in my career and learning another language. Still, deep down, what’s really driving me to study abroad isn’t a reason; it’s a feeling. I just want to go.
There are also several reasons for why I shouldn’t go abroad. I have plenty of friends who couldn’t go abroad for academic or athletic reasons and other friends who aren’t planning on going because they don’t felt the urge.
Still, the reasons I have for not going have yet to even touch my desire to travel and explore. Perhaps this is a bit of a risky thing to do, but I think I’m going to let my study abroad plans be governed more by emotion than reason. I’m going to do what I want to do, simple as that (as long as the off-campus study office lets me, that is).
As I learn more about possibilities for next year and develop my plans, my daydreams will become less scattered. I’ll imagine the city I know I’ll be living in or the program I’ve signed up to work with. Soon, my visions will be replaced with real places and people and experiences – some better than I could have imagined and some worse. Soon, I’ll be living abroad. I can barely wait!