7445 Hours Later

I would make friends and they would be great, it would just take a little while.

I would make friends at my university and they would be great, it would just take a little while.

7445 hours ago I published this nervously excited post on my then blog. I was getting ready to start my first day at the Universitat de les isles Baleares, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

I can’t remember the last time I felt this way on the first day of school. Maybe it was the first day of kindergarten, or the first day of high school, I know I was certainly better at hiding my nervous stomach on the first day of college, but not today. Today in T-2 hours I start my first university class in Spain and I am beyond words  nervous. The strange mix of adrenaline, excitement, apprehension and pure dread running through my system made it hard to eat this morning. This morning I think I have tried on 4 outfit already, and I am still on the fence about this one.

Why all the nerves? Because in T-2 hours I find out if I can do this. In T-2 hours I learn if I will sink or float as I learn how to swim. In T-2 hours I will be sitting next to people who speak no English and probably don’t care who I am or where I am from. In T-2 hours the study part of study abroad becomes real, the part vacation atmosphere will begin to fade, as it must, and reality will begin to set in. In T-10 hours it will be over and I will relax, but for now the T-2 monster, my unknown monster, is growling behind a curtain of doubt and I’m giddy and nervous at the same time.

Until next time, what was the last time you had a T-2 hour monster hiding in your shadows? Do you have any advice?

My father had the best advice and told me:

The shortest path through a storm is going through the center. Walk head up and with a smile. And remember how we would say “game face” when we went into tough events.

Know that I am so proud of you and have complete faith in you.

His words got me moving that day.

7445 hours later I know that they were not without merit. It would in fact take me several weeks to figure out I was starting to drown in my classes, to the point where I have never been so excited to not fail a class in my life. Anyone who says studying in a foreign country is easy has not taken advanced economics in a foreign language. That sh*t is complicated, but I would learn more than I could have thought possible.

As I get ready to start my final semester at the University of Iowa, I have been thinking a lot about that moment. That sense of wonder and awe and gut wrenching fear. I don’t feel that way going into my classes now, instead I feel that excitedly nervous energy when I think about what the world has to offer post graduation. This time however the path is far less clear and the direction yet to be decided upon, but that is part of the fun. Right? At least that is what I keep telling myself.

What moments in your life have made you feel delightfully nervous?