Worries, Socrates, and Clichés…

Maddie Oslejsek Royal Holloway University of London, England


August 3, 2015

Forty-two days. That is all that is standing between me and my dreams. Forty. Two. Days. As time dwindles down, I cannot help but grow more and more excited! But, the excitement is accompanied by countless worries. Have I saved enough money? Will I be able to pack all that I need? What if I forget something? What if I get lost in the airport? Who will feed my hamster while I'm gone? The worries are endless. But, there is one fear that rears its ugly head more than others…. Do I have what it takes to do this?

For some reason, all of the lessons I have learned from studying theatre over the years about trying my best, giving everything a go, and believing in myself seem to fly out the window when it comes to studying abroad. I think because this is such a huge stepping-stone in my future, I am letting the pressure get to me. I imagine that there are others who begin to doubt themselves when it comes to leaving the comfort of their own country, and plunging into a completely different culture, place, and university. So, I've decided to share with you what I've learned in the past few months that has helped me have a little more confidence in hopes that it will help you, too.

Let me start by saying something that is cliché, but totally valid: You can do this, you really can. I mean, if you didn't have the tools necessary to do what you are doing, you would not have been accepted. Someone, actually many someones, believe you can do this. You just have to believe it yourself.

Geez, I can feel the eye roll you just gave me right through the screen! Seriously though, I know it sounds corny; but it is true. I am still working to fully believe this myself. It finally began to sink in after being reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Socrates that I learned during my freshman year of college, "The only true wisdom is admitting you know nothing." The fact that you are scared is proof that you are ready to do this. A person who is ignorant of the challenges they will need to face in order to reach their goals is one who is not ready. You are ready. Even more than that, it takes special qualities and a certain level of determination to want to challenge yourself by leaving the comfort of your own country in order to accomplish your dreams.

There are going to be many differences in how the education system works abroad and in your home country. You may have to adjust your studying methods, or increase the hours of reading you do each night. You may have to relearn how to balance a social life and academics. But you know what? I believe in you. You knew it would be a challenge when you filled out the application to study abroad, but that was part of the charm. Easy is boring! And let's face it… if you're boarding a plane soon, plunging into a new place and culture, and are excited about it, you probably don't like boring.

Nerves are totally normal, and everyone needs a pep talk now and again. But please, please, please remember that you can do this. You are meant to do this.

Break a leg, loves!