Glamorous Uncertainty: Cat Skirt + Braided Necklace

Jardin Public; Bordeaux, France
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
cat skirt outfit, study abroad france outfit, college style
T-shirt, Old Navy | Skirt, Persunmall | Necklace, Target | Shoes, Target

Most college students get one freshman year. 

I get the rough equivalent of four.

I get four terrifying, invigorating, angsty, novel, hair-pulling experiences--one, my real freshman year; two, study abroad in Bordeaux; three, study abroad in Oxford; and four, my return to an unfamiliar campus for my senior year. 

As I navigate this foreign adventure, I can't help but feel a strong sense of déjà vu--this disorienting experience is uncannily similar to my freshman fall, only magnified by the language obstacles. 

I wonder who my close friends will be (or, if I'll even find any kindred souls). I am both fascinated and terrified by my anticipated classes. I yearn to finally have a routine. I become emotional at the slightest of disturbances. I often find this new environment stressful and overwhelming. I wonder how life at home (aka college) is going, and whether my absence has left a hole--I hope it has, even though it's terribly selfish of me. I question my decision to take the more unfamiliar, challenging route. I crave comfort and stability. I am totally, horribly lost. 

Everything is uncertain.

As another student and I waited indefinitely for a broken tram to start today, I suggested that we walk instead, declaring that I strongly dislike the uncertain. She laughed, finding it ironic that I decided to study abroad. I admitted that it was hard for me to leave--she countered that I would grow immensely this year. And that's exactly what I hope. 

My freshman fall was trying--I took a difficult music course with sparse theory background, I struggled in disciplines in which I usually excelled, I daydreamed of what could've been had I gone to my state school, I wrestled with a running injury, I even bawled once in front of my professor. 

But with time, college became my home, and I now feel as if my life didn't really begin until Amherst. I met incredibly supportive, resonant souls. I became more resilient, open, proactive. I was challenged and inspired. I began to stumble more gracefully, weaving each misstep into this wild waltz of life. And grow I did. 

I see my life in phases--before and after close friends, before and after lifestyle changes, before and after major experiences--and I wonder how I ever lived in the "before".

I may never know what would've happened had I stayed. I may be dizzy with worry and uncertainty. But I'm here because I wanted a new "after". I wanted to become more.

And you better believe I'll do everything I can to make sure that happens.

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P.S. A note on the post title--again, like freshman year, my life appears much more glamorous on social media when if fact it's still just my life, full of challenges--just different ones--in a place full of gorgeous architecture and tempting food. This is my attempt to share the more raw side of this experience.

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