Many college students dream of studying abroad for one semester.
For me, one semester didn't seem like enough--I wanted two.
Over a month ago, I announced that I would be spending some of the 2016-2017 academic year abroad in Bordeaux, France. I omitted a crucial detail: namely, that I wasn't sure when I'd be in France because I was waiting patiently (okay, in agony) for another study abroad decision. Due to math major requirements, this decision would likely determine whether or not I'd be away for a full year.
Last week, the suspense was broken. I was accepted to study abroad in Spring 2017 at Hertford College, Oxford University. Provided that all the logistics pan out, I will be spending 10 months living and learning in Europe.
I have everything I wanted. But I want more.
I can't help but feel wistful as my close-knit friend group prepares for their year ahead on-campus. I can't help but feel wistful as we banter over dinner, cause a ruckus in the common room, comfort each other in times of academic distress.
It's hard to believe that a year ago, I didn't even know these people. It's hard to believe that within several months, they could be strangers again. Even worse, when I return for my senior year, the majority of the group will have graduated.
I want to be with them, and I want to be abroad. But I can't.
We will have to bid farewell prematurely, and that will have to be okay. I remember feeling just as wistful as a high school junior when my senior friends graduated. But this time is different. This time, I refuse to be swept away by change--I will initiate it. An invaluable opportunity awaits--and who am I to reject the enticing, albeit somewhat frightening, call of adventure?
The most resonant connections will find a way to live on. In the meantime, I will strive to maximize the month remaining with my family away from home.
I want to be everything--I want to be a supportive friend, a faithful daughter, an accomplished student, a strong runner, a helpful math TA, an effective orchestra section leader, an active blogger. But sometimes, something has to give. I'll be here and there between now and the end of spring semester, well-occupied with the frenzy of work and end-of-semester errands.
I am going to try to be everything, all while acknowleding that I'm human. After all, this is the essence of me, Lily, a very imperfect idealist.