Welcome to my blog! For the next 5 months I will be studying abroad in Seville, Spain (or Sevilla as I will be referring to it in an effort to not come across as incredibly un-cultured). This blog is meant to be a way for me to share my experiences abroad with my friends, and possibly strangers if they care. If I feel particularly inspired, I may continue blogging after I return from Spain, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I leave for Spain in 9 days and I am feeling…a mixture of fear, nervousness, anxiety, stress and excitement. Yep, notice excitement is the only positive word in the mix. This is not because I don’t want to go, or because I don’t think I will have the time of my life studying abroad. It’s more because I have some very prominent personality traits that make it extremely difficult for me to take risks in life.
For those of you reading this who know me well, you know that I tend to have a hard time staying calm and often get worked up over little things. Adapting to change is not exactly my forte. If I had it my way, everything would stay the same always. Maybe not stay the same, but I would at least have powers like in That’s So Raven where I could see the future and prepare for my inevitable doom. That would be pretty sweet. But as I am just a normal girl, living a not-so-Raven life, I have to deal with changes like the rest of you. And I am not always very smooth when dealing with said changes.
To prove how un-smooth I am, and give you a glimpse into who I am, I will give an example of how much I suck at dealing with change. And what better way to accomplish this than by telling a story that will bring laughter to your life while simultaneously bringing embarrassment to mine? Let’s do this.
From first grade until eighth grade I went to a tiny private school that people either A) Have never heard of B) Have heard of but have entirely wrong ideas about i.e. thinking it is the real-life Hogwarts (I wish!) or C) Have heard of and actually know a lot about it. C is pretty much reserved for people who attend the school and close friends of people who attend the school.
Anyway, after a lot of discussions and school visits, my parents and I decided it would be best for me to attend high school at a “real school” instead of continuing at the unfortunately-not-Hogwarts private school. I was having a lot of mixed emotions about leaving a school where I knew everyone in my class and going to a school where it would be virtually impossible to know everyone in the class. Unless you are incredibly popular and just casually have 650 friends. If so, please teach me your ways.
So at the end of eighth grade I was still coming to terms with the fact that I would be leaving a class I had grown up with, and naturally, because I am Shelly, I was freaking out a little bit. We had an end-of-year dance as a class, kind of like a Homecoming dance at public schools except way more lame and way less people. Regardless of the obvious lameness of said dance, I was actually having a pretty fun time with my friends, dancing and goofing off.
However, at some point I guess it hit me that these fun times would eventually come to a close, and I would have to say goodbye to my friends. So I did what some people think girls do best: I started crying. Yep, I started crying in front of all of my childhood friends because I was so sad to be leaving them. Now, hopefully some people saw this as sweet and endearing, the fact that I loved them enough to cry. But I’m pretty sure most people saw it as crazy and mental breakdown-y and were probably thinking “wow how is she going to be able to navigate through four years at public school if she can’t even handle one eighth grade dance without falling apart?”
I ended up doing just fine at public school, and I am still close with my private school buddies to this day (hey guys, hope you got a good laugh from that walk down memory lane!) I don’t regret leaving the comfort of private school life to venture into the unknown world of “real high school” one bit. And I think that even though I was scared, I knew at that dance that taking the risk of going to a new school would eventually pay off. Fear is a very mysterious and often largely inhibiting emotion, and as with most emotions, we don’t have much control over it.
The idea of spending a semester abroad or starting a new school are not things that scare the average person because they think they are a bad idea or because they don’t think they will have fun, but rather they scare us because the outcome is unknown. Because none of us have Raven’s powers, we are held powerless over what the future will hold. And that is why the future is so scary.
I know that studying abroad in Spain will be one of the best decisions I make in college. I can see myself five months from now, gushing to my family and friends about how amazing my time there was and how glad I am that I went. Like transferring to a new school, I know that I will eventually look back and feel so glad that I made the decisions I made. But until the day comes when my now-future experiences in Spain become past experiences, I am forced to deal with the crippling fear of the unknown. On the upside, I haven’t cried in front of people about it….yet.
Hope you enjoyed my first blog post! I am going to try to post every week, so the next time you hear from me I will either be a few days away from Spain, or maybe even IN SPAIN!! How exciting! (And scary…) See ya then!