Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cliches

In high school, I wrote an article for our school's newspaper on why cliches aren't overrated, and how they are actually quite useful. As annoying as it can be to hear things repeatedly, they are repeated for a reason--because they are true! For a common example, when you're single and your friends tell you that "love happens when you least expect it," you probably will become irritated because in that moment, you don't see it happening. However, later after you've met someone "by chance" (or so you think, God had it planned all along!) and are madly in love (another cliche, oops), you can look back and laugh, realizing such a cliche was in fact true. Well, I am living somewhat of a cliche right now.

Before entering college, and even during the past three years in college, I would ask friends and relatives what their favorite experiences from college were and what the regretted. Every single time I was told that I MUST study abroad. Those of my friends who hadn't studied abroad said it was the only thing they regretted not doing. Those who had studied abroad said it changed their perspective on life. I knew studying abroad was something I wanted to do since high school, but I wasn't sure that I was independent enough or willing to fill out a lengthy application to do so. In fact, it wasn't until September rolled around that I decided I would live my whole life wondering "what if?" if I didn't study abroad. Let me tell you, my friends were not lying to me. The "college study abroad" cliche is a cliche for a reason--because it is true!

I know I've only been here for three weeks, but you know what? I have already done SO much growing as an individual that I would NEVER have done if not for living abroad. I feel more independent, confident, and accomplished than I have ever felt in my entire 21 years of life! I came to a place I had never been before, not knowing a single person, but took a chance because of a cliche. I have already made three extremely amazing friends who I can tell will be friends long after this program is over. I have already grown so much academically (did I mention that Oxford is the second best school in the WORLD?!), being pushed to argue my opinions one-on-one with brilliant tutors, and not simply taking on the opinions of secondary sources to fulfill a source requirement, as I am used to doing in the States. I have become more aware of the greatness of God! I walk around the streets of Oxford and see beautiful old buildings, reveling in the history! I overhear people speaking Spanish, French, Italian, etc. every where I venture off to. What an incredible place I have the amazing opportunity of living in! I am SO blessed!!!

I know studying abroad isn't for everyone. It's quite scary to willingly sign up to do something and not know what you'll think, fearing you'll be stuck in a horrid place for months. Well, if you are a student, I am urging you to GO! Get out, push yourself, take out a loan (even if it makes you wince when doing so), cast aside any and all fears! You will never fully comprehend this feeling by just traveling! Yes, traveling is amazing! But living in a place on your own, what an accomplishment that is! You will most likely never have an opportunity to live in a different country after graduating. Of course you will miss friends, family, and your significant other (love you all and miss you dearly!), but GO! They will be waiting for you when you get back :) Do this for YOU! Don't live regretfully. Don't be the person telling a prospective college student years from now that you regret not studying abroad--just do it!!

Of course, in light of my appreciation of the experiences I've had so far, I must give a shout out to my big sister! Jamie, as you've been told (or not been told because people probably envy you so much haha!), you lead an AMAZING life! Every where you go, you live boldly and wonderfully--just as our short time on earth was meant to be lived! How could anyone look at your life and not envy your vivaciousness?! It is your passion and drive for truly living that brought me here! You are such an incredible person, an inspiration to everyone who meets you and I must thank you for simply being you! I love you so much!!!

And that's my little rant on the importance of cliches :) I have to finish my paper on Pride and Prejudice for my tutorial tomorrow, and then we're off to Edinburgh for the weekend! Amanda, Sarah, Brittany, and I booked our bus tickets today (YOLO? Haha!) and we are so excited to explore such an amazing city in Scotland! I will definitely be posting photos of our trip!! Time to get productive!

Love,
Kaylee

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