Pre-Departure Stress Syndrome: How To Cope and Not Die

Honestly, college flies by so fast, it seems like I was only a mere fetus of a freshman moving her cramped stuff in deluxe-sized Valsan bags (essentially what murderers use to transport chunks of severed bodies), into diminutive mouse-holes cleverly disguised as dorm rooms. Now I am about two weeks away from somehow finishing Final exams and papers, packing up my things, dropping off my key to Residential Life, waving adios to the humble abode known as Haverford College, in preparation for take-off and waving hola to my new terrain at The IES Center and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. The whole process, and all that has transpired during my college experience up to this turning point, seems like a surrealist compression of time à la Salvador Dalí.

To any of you currently going through this domestic adventure before landing in international thrills, here’s what I have to say: Good luck, and may the odds be in our favor, because they certainly are not. Approximately fourteenish days to keep your GPA afloat, say all of your precious goodbyes, go to all of the Ugly Christmas Sweater parties, and move-out is not entirely impossible, but it gets close enough to it.

Here are some tips on how to make the most out of the madness and tear-inducing stressors before your departure to Study Abroad Heaven:


1)   Cry


Wait, just kidding, here are some real tips on how to make the most out of the last weeks at your home institution before your semester away. You have my promise that I too will abide to my own advice and rules so that I do not spend the last forty-eight hours of my time at Haverford screaming into my Twin XL memory foam mattress pad:


1)   DON’T PROCRASTINATE. Even though your body is aching for its procrastination fix of mindlessly consuming three batches of microwavable mozzarella sticks while binge-watching Jessica Jones on Netflix, don’t give in. You have way too much to do to get lost in the frenzy. Even though the temptation to dilly-dally will be strong, think of all the pros of not procrastinating your finals and moving-out. Like, saving yourself several nights of self-loathing and gluttonous stress-gorging of Beef Flavored Ramen Noodles.


2)   SCHEDULE LUNCHES AND DINNERS WITH YOUR FRIENDS. You’re probably going to miss them a heck of a ton when you’re gone, and thinking that you’ll be able to Skype them every night to report back all of your mischief and foreign memories is foolish. It just won’t be practical. Making time for friends now to grab meals at the Dining Center or at local restaurants to squeeze in all of the catch-up talk and jokes in-person while you can is the best way to physically leave those friendships on an emotionally positive note.


3)   MAKE STUDY BREAKS PRODUCTIVE: PACK. Get your body moving and your brain juices flowing by Scotch taping and boxing up all of the belongings that you’ll be placing in storage. Invite friends over to help you out, and jam to old-school grooves to make the tediousness of packing a bit more bearable.


4)   EAT YOUR FAVORITE AMERICAN FOOD. I don’t care what anybody says, you may be salivating over the concept of linguini from Italy, escargot from France, or schnitzel from Germany, but nobody produces a burger better than we in ‘Murica do. Probably because we pack our burgers with more grease and artery-clogging additives than any other country. And that, my dear readers, is what makes our country so great (see, Donald Trump? We’re already great. Now go grab a Big Mac and shut that trap of yours you love to open).


5)   GO TO THOSE SILLY COLLEGE EVENTS AND TRADITIONS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO YOUR HOME INSTITUTION. You might think that they’re annoying or boring now, but you’ll miss them when you’re experiencing culture shock and just want to crawl back to what you’re comfortable with. Like college-hosted dances with zany photo-booths and chicken tenders galore.  See all you sexy thangz at Snowball tonight. Wink wink. Kissy face. Heart eyes cat.


Hey, hey.