In just a few short hours I will be joining twenty-two other rising sophomores to get on a plane in Los Angeles, where we will fly across the country and hop across the pond to London, where I will be living for the next eight months as I continue my studies. I cannot begin to anticipate all the ways that I will grow and change over the coming year; all I can do is eagerly await and fully embrace each opportunity as it comes my way.
So many people have asked me what I’m most excited about. And to every inquiry I can only say that I have no idea; I’m just excited to have this opportunity. But as I think about it, there are a few things that come to mind.
- I am excited to live in London. Growing up, I have read so many classic works of literature by British authors: Tolkien, Lewis, Dickens, Rowling, Tennyson, and of course, Shakespeare among others. As a young writer myself, I am incredibly eager to spend a year in the city that so many great authors throughout the years have called home.
- I am excited to explore Europe. I’ve never been out of the Americas, and I am eagerly awaiting the chance to travel: from Dracula’s Castle to the Matterhorn to the Colosseum to the Black Forest to the Athenian Acropolis to Norwegian fjords, I am beyond excited for my opportunity to explore the world.
- I am excited for my classes. No, I’m not just saying that to make my professors like me. I am legitimately excited for my classes. This fall, I will be taking three gen-ed courses: humanities 212, public speaking and rhetoric, and English/British theatre, all of which I am legitimately interested in and eager to delve into. On top of that, I will be taking a journaling class and an equestrian class. Yes, for academic credit I will be riding horses through Hyde Park. It doesn’t get better than that.
- I am excited to meet the other students. Twenty-two other students will be flying out with me, but a couple dozen more have arranged their own flights and will meet us at the program. Altogether, I will be living and learning with about fifty other students throughout the year. As of today, I only know about half a dozen of them on more than a name-and-face level. A year from now, these people will be my family.
- I am looking forward to growing personally, emotionally, socially, academically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually. This year will change me; that I know. I will embrace it and grow with it, and it is my prayer that I will be a better person for it.
What am I looking forward to the most? I can’t begin to answer that question. I’m looking forward to it all, the whole experience, from the hills to the valleys and back. I know that eventually I may and probably will grow weary; there will be days that I want nothing more than to be back home, curled up on the couch and watching a Disney movie with my brother and mom. But for now, I am ready to set sail.
(On that note, today marks the beginning of my first poetry collection: “Setting Sail.” This collection will not be about my physical travels, but rather uses the analogy of a boat to discuss various emotional phases in life. Today and over the course of the coming week, I will be posting four poems as part of this collective project. I hope you follow along and enjoy!)