Biggest Thing I Learned In College: Taking Risks, Studying Abroad

Welcome back to another edition of the things I learned in college. As I sit and think about how quickly graduation is approaching I wanted to look back at the lessons that I learned in my four years at school. I learned many things in college but the biggest one was taking risks. College is a scary time and it can seem intimidating so to even have the thought in your brain to take a risk seems impossible. But taking a risk can mean so many things, it could mean going to that club meeting, taking that class that none of your friends in, pulling an all nighter, getting ahead in a class or my personal favorite studying abroad.

Anyone who knows me knows that I studied abroad. I think that if you saw one of my friends and they asked you one thing about me they would say “ oh she studied abroad in London and will not shut up about it”. I LOVED my time abroad and would not trade it for anything in the world. I still talk about it to this day and I’m sure my friends hate me. For me studying abroad in a whole new country, living alone, having to take care of myself, not having my parents just a few hours away was a huge risk for me. I always knew that I wanted to go to London and study and I based my college decision on whether or not the school offered me the chance to go abroad. So when the time came to start applying to go abroad needless to say I was really nervous and excited.

I have never lived alone until I went abroad, I had roommates and suitemates and friends right down the hall to keep me company. Just the thought of having to live alone and grocery shop, keep healthy, keep a budget and not get lost in a city was so scary to me. It almost made me question whether or not I was in WAYYYY over my head. I didn’t want to think about having to take a nine hour flight alone and have to get all my bags to another terminal in a foreign airport and get to the bus to get to campus. Then there was the added issue that I had to make friends. I was not the best at making friends and I am very shy around new people. But enough about the negative. All those fears were things I had to keep in mind but it actually prepared me for the next steps in my life and prepared me for the real world. I like to say that studying abroad makes you become an adult really fast. I ended up having the time of my life while I was in London and bless god that I decided to study in an english speaking country so language barrier would not be an issue. I met some of the greatest people in the world from all over the globe and from different colleges in the US. They have become some of my best friends and we try to talk every week and we have gone to see each other. I formed some of my closest friends abroad because we were all going through the same thing. I got to travel all over Europe which is something I will never be able to do. I also had the great opportunity to study Shakespeare in his home country. Who can say they have been able to do that? When I left it was the saddest time and I did not want to leave. I was only gone for 3 months and it felt like 3 days. I am so excited to go back.

But taking risks does not have to be going to a foreign country, it can just be moving away to college, or taking that class you have always wanted to take. So take that chance and college is that time to do something you have always dreamed of.