It is 5 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon and I have just walked out of the newsroom for the last time this semester, but for the first time as a sophomore. My last final exam, and the only thing standing between me and Greece, was three hours ago, and afterwards I came to the only other place besides my dorm that has felt like home for the past nine months. Leaving the doors of Holmes Hall, I left behind my freshman year and strode nervously towards my next adventure: Greece.
I have studied abroad before, but these nerves are different and more foreign to me. During my semester abroad in Israel, I was 16 and just trying to escape my junior year of high school in a new country. When I was in India at 17, I was there to film a short documentary and see the world, knowing that I would have my American friend turned Hindi translator by my side and return home in under a month.
This coming trip is much more than just an escape or a fun project, while in some ways it’s both of those things too.
I returned back to my dorm, once a double and now a single, my roommate’s side now littered with half-filled cardboard boxes for storage and suitcases to be packed and weighed to the ultimate 45 lbs (leaving five for the souvenirs I am undoubtedly going to collect). As I unpacked my school bag for the last time this year, I realized that my classroom learning is over for the summer, but my real life journalism learning is going to kick in, and in high gear, in just over a week.
And that is scary.
I am the girl that embraces travel, going to foreign places like India and Poland where I do not know the language, but also exploring the neighborhoods of Minneapolis and Boston to find something new and exciting hidden among the familiar. However, nothing about this trip will be familiar and that is scary. Exciting and wonderful and amazing. And also scary.
I think that if I were calm about this experience it would have been wasted on me. Going to a new place should be a bit nerve-wracking. Going with older and more experienced journalists will be intimidating. Seeing first-hand the effects of the refugee crisis on the shores of Greece will be heartbreaking. And I think not accepting all that would be cheating myself of all this trip has to offer.
I am so excited to throw myself off this proverbial cliff and into this trip full-force. I know that I will have the chance to tell the stories that I have always dreamed of telling and with the support of professors and fellow students turned news team staff. I will wake up with a mission, a script to write, and interview to conduct and drinks to go out to afterwards and talk about my day over. And that too is scary. Amazing but scary, and I am not afraid to admit that I am afraid. I think that it’s all part of the experience, really.
In the coming week, I will have moved out of my freshman dorm, packed my belonging and put them in storage and traded in my first-year status for that of a rising sophomore. I will most likely freak out over the weight of my ever-growing suitcase, my Greek pronunciations and just how incredible this life I am leading truly is.
And then I will board a plane. Scared, excited and ready.