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The best decision I have made in college was going to study abroad in Florence. I got to explore the art museums that were only a stone’s throw away from my apartment and meet friends from all over the globe. When I reflect on my time there, it seems surreal.

It’s definitely been a high point of my life. But like any high, there’s a crash that comes afterward that makes me feel low.

I’m over halfway into my post-study abroad semester back home, and I feel hungover. I’ve fallen into the common student routine of study, socializing and Netflix binging. Before I went studying abroad, this was something I was fine with. But now, I’m getting anxious. What happened to the weekends spent in hostels, the excitement of trying foods not available back home, the beautiful old architecture?

When did my life become so boring?

Okay, so I don’t think that my life is dull, but it certainly feels that way in comparison to my study abroad experience. I sometimes wonder if perhaps being away from everything that I’ve known gave me an opportunity for constant change. After all, I was often pushed into doing something completely unique to what I was used to.  Now that I’m back home, it seems that I’m doing the same thing over and over.

I even started searching for opportunities nearby to travel, but had no luck. It’s much more expensive to travel to a different state in the U.S. than it is to go to a different country in Europe. So, the adventure hangover continues.

Even though I’m sometimes miserable because of my routine back home, I found a way to pack the spirit of adventure and brought it back with me. Since studying abroad, I’ve become much more social and open to new opportunities. With a little bit of research, I’ve been able to find new experiences in Kansas City that I can drag my friends off to.

Is it a spontaneous trip to another country? No. But it does give me the opportunity to do something new, to not accept the same old routine that I had in the past. In fact, the crash has actually had a strangely positive effect on my life here. Instead of sitting back and accepting the normal, I’ve learned to add a little spontaneity to my home routine. Reflecting, rather than regretting, is part of the journey in this adventure.

Reese Bentzinger is a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City earning a journalism major and a history minor. In her free time she enjoys reading history books, rewatching Gilmore Girls, and traveling. She plans on graduating in 2020. Insta: @reese_b_
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