We all know that cliché coming-of-age story: a lost teenager discovers the meaning of life through some spectacular adventure / relationship / traumatic event. Tales like this fill Young Adult library sections and movie theaters.
And, to be honest, they’re there for a reason. High school is a time of great uncertainty. It’s a time of deciding what your priorities are, what type of people you want in your life. But when high school’s over, so is all that doubt and awkwardness and teenage angst…right?
When I came to college, I thought I was certain of my path. I knew my major, Global Media, was for me. I loved my classes, all my new friends, the extracurriculars I joined. Everything was shiny and exciting and perfect.
Then reality hit.
Sometime in February, everything seemed to lose its luster. There was drama in my previously peaceful friend group. My classes were harder. Arcadia’s campus began to feel suffocatingly small. I started feeling stuck, started wondering if I was on the right path at all. Maybe I should’ve stayed with the plan I followed all through middle school, to be a creative writer. Maybe I should’ve skipped college altogether and become a wandering hobo. It’s not like I was going to get a job anyway. By the time spring break rolled around, I was desperate. I needed to get away from – well, everything.
Lucky for me, I was headed to Istanbul, Turkey, for Spring Preview.
My trip was only a week long, far from the semester adventure I’m looking forward to in Australia. But in that week, I was able to do more than I could have imagined. I met with a Muslim religious leader, saw one of the world’s seven wonders, and went to a school for Syrian refugee children. I experienced a culture that is incredibly and wonderfully different from our own. When the time came for me to return to Glenside, I was inspired by the fact that in four months, I’d be going abroad again.
Looking out over Istanbul.
That, and a newfound sense of purpose.
Being abroad for that short time reminded me why I was here. It reminded me how highly I value learning others’ perspectives, gathering new experiences, and challenging myself in foreign environments. I am a Global Media major because nothing makes me happier than meeting new people in a new place—the reason I chose Arcadia in the first place.
Now, I’m facing the rest of the semester energized, with far more focus and drive than I had just a week or two ago. Not only is traveling what I look forward to, it’s what gives me the excitement I need to thrive while at home.