As the school year is drawing to a close, I wanted to post again before finals start and everyone goes home.
If you didn’t already know, next year I will be studying abroad in Paris for the entire year. Not just fall semester, but ALL YEAR. It’s with a program called “Sweet Briar Junior Year in France” and I will be taking all of my classes in French with French students at the Sorbonne. If you have known me previously, you know that I am finally fulfilling my dream because France is my number one favorite subject to talk about ever. (Really. I think some of my friends may get annoyed!) I’ve been planning this trip since high school and I know next year is going to be the best year of my life.
This will actually be my 5th time going to Paris and my second time going alone so the city is no stranger. When I go to France, it feels like I’m going home. As weird as this sounds, I truly feel that it is the country I belong it.
Yet, as my first year of college draws to a close, I can’t help but feel anxious and well, heartbroken that I have to leave behind all of the amazing people I have met this year. Nearly every day I leave lunch, my chest tightens up, I feel like crying and it sucks. Most of my friends will still be here after my year abroad and we will all skype regularly, but I will miss so many things: eating lunch with them, dancing crazily together, procrastinating on homework… I could go on and on. I’ve been trying to make the most of my last few days here with them before we all go home for summer and I leave for Paris, but the pain of saying goodbye on that final day will not get any easier. Let’s just say that the plane ride there is going to contain some of the most conflicting emotions of my life.
On the other hand the realization that I’m leaving is rather liberating, yet extremely bad for my impending research paper and exams. I’m leaving for a year, so I have to experience everything here to the fullest before that day comes. Some of my friends may think I’ve gone a little crazy as my moods alternate from the depression of having to leave them, to the crazed intensity of wanting to do everything with them just a few more times. Why study when I could go to the pool or have adventures around campus with my friends?
Unfortunately, with all of these emotions I have realized that there are always two sides to studying abroad. The excitement of going to a foreign country to experience new cultures and meet new people, and the gloom that comes with having to say goodbye to the friends you will leave behind.
Even more frightening is the realization that this will be my entire life. My dream job involves moving to a different country every two years, with no guaranteed return. So this next year won’t just be about stuffing my face with macaroons and learning how to blend in with all of the super fashionable French women. It will be a test to see if I can really stand to pack up my life and move long term to another country and then continue doing so for the rest of my life.
It’ll be the best year of my life, but that doesn’t change the fact that I will be leaving my best friends, not to mention my family for a year.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.” -Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
This quote brings up one final issue. I will be leaving here to spend a year in the country of my dreams. Make sure I come back. I’m really going to miss you guys.
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4 thoughts on “The End of One Chapter and Into Another”
We share your excitement about a year in Paris – and at the Sorbonne – wow. I recall that is where my brother in law, Tony, met his wife-to-be. And Paris was a favorite of Vic and I to visit in our frequent trips to Europe. Your memories will last as long as those of your Great Aunt Ethel.
I guess a love of Paris runs in the family? If you guys come to Paris next year too tell me!
I completely understand your conflict of emotions, going from one extreme to another!! This year will inevitably change us very much and I think that is pretty exciting and scary at the same time. I am lucky enough that I have a few friends that will also be studying abroad in other countries in Europe next year too, so we will be getting together for weekend trips once in a while. Do you have any friends going or have you tried getting to know anyone from home that will be studying abroad too?
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Sorry for the late reply! I’ve been managing the emotional whiplash of finals and moving back home. Thankfully, a handful of people from my university are going to Paris as well and one other girl is staying the entire year with me.