Some people know what their dreams are when they are in kindergarten.. Some of us listen to anime music videos while eating chocolate and wondering what the heck they are really supposed to be doing. That’s exactly what I was doing when I realized I literally had no plan. I was stuck staring at my computer screen for twenty minutes, trying to think of something to do for the next fifty years of my life. My junior year of college was quickly coming to an end and I barely had anything to show for it. I only had only recently started getting A’s in my classes and trying out internships. And on top of the stress of contemplating major life decisions, I was sharing an apartment with my ex, whose new girlfriend was a frequent visitor. I had to get out.
Staying at home wasn’t an option, my mother and I have a shelf life for how long we can stand to be around each other. Going into business seemed soul draining and nothing else really stood out. Social work seemed liked the best option, but something wasn’t quite right. Then I remembered I literally had nothing to do that summer and it was time for some good, old fashioned soul searching before being forced into a world I clearly wasn’t ready for. So, what do college girls do when they feel like they need to find themselves? That’s right, they go to Europe.
This is how I made my frantic decision to buy airplane tickets to Portugal. What I remember most is talking to my mother on the phone as she furiously questioned me about why I would spend my savings doing this. I had never been by myself in a foreign country before nor so far away from people I knew. I couldn’t have been more excited. I spent six weeks living in Lisbon during the summer and it was by far the most fun I’ve ever had.
I spent that time volunteering at a local food rescue charity with women who barley spoke any English and living with people from all over the world. Most of them were my age and we would often get in trouble with the neighbors because we were up too late. On our days off we would often go out together and on the weekends, we would go to other cities in Europe, such as Madrid. On those trips, we would meet even more people. Some of the friends I’ve made I only knew for forty-eight hours but those people have often been the more interesting and hilarious people I have met. After a long night, we would be up until the sun rose talking about people and life. Meeting all these new people changed my perspective of the world. Since then I’ve vowed to be more open minded with people in my school, town, and country.
Most people become too comfortable with the environment they live in. It’s scary to think of going someplace by yourself, being forced to depend on yourself. However, change can bring out the best in people and exploration is one of the best parts of life. You don’t even need to get on an airplane to get this change. Ever gone to the next town over? Ever had Indian food before? Change doesn’t have to be drastic to be felt. #InternHannah