Written by Swati
April 14th, 2023
I realize now that I have fully sung the praises of every European city and country that I’ve been to and from the bottom of my heart, I believe every single word. But I also want to pay special attention to the bad days. The days you need a hug, the days you need your best friend on the phone to tell you she misses you and she’s just as proud of the person you’re becoming as you are, the days you wonder if you’ve changed at all after 17.
At the end of the day, Europe won’t fix your problems. Studying abroad won’t fix your problems. Moving out of your house won’t fix your problems. Starting a new job won’t fix your problems. This is probably because most of your problems live in your head. Or because you’ll trade certain problems for other ones. And if you play your cards right, dealing with those new problems will instill in you the fight to learn how to fix or learn how to live with your other problems. Meeting new people and working with new personalities while planning trips is hard, but venturing out on your own and creating your own itineraries is also hard. Only doing homework and never spending time with people is hard, but spending all of your time socializing and falling behind in class is also hard. That which you are actively choosing not to do, indirectly chooses what you are doing.
The two most central conflicts at this point in the semester I think are balance and fighting the inner self, or rather teaching the inner self. Personally, I’m only on campus for 48 to 72 hours at a time. I got infinitely lucky with my schedule and have been able to commit a majority of my time to traveling, seeing the world, and constantly putting myself in controlled but new, and at times uncomfortable, situations to see how much I’ve grown. Hearing stories of other group trips and travels helps put a lot of things into perspective in terms of interpersonal conflict and interpersonal relationships. Change starts in your head. A change of scenery was what I needed to kickstart my journey as a young adult, but this arc has been a long time coming and I truly believe if you go into an experience knowing what you want, and having support in those decisions, you’ll get what you want, if not for what you need. Regardless of what happens, you’re growing. Regardless of what happens, you’re learning. And everything you pick up throughout the course of your life and every lesson you learn rears its head again later. I will say, the time comes in which you need to reach out to others to get support and it is my greatest wish that everyone is met with the same warmth when they need help as when they don’t. It’s difficult to heal, but it is worse to stay hurt. And to get past anything, the only way around is through.
It is too cruel a world to hurl abuse at yourself. Be patient, be kind, and be gentle. It’s easier said than done of course, but is it not in our blood to fight and go in search of difficult victories? We are now creeping up to the end and I feel nothing but such intense joy for giving myself the permission and space to follow my heart and find wonder in the beauty of the world. So much good exists if only you remember to look for it. The sun comes in only if one remembers to open the blinds.Let’s Talk About You and Me