Ten weeks in New York, six trips to the movies, five Skype calls to friends in Prague, Rio, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and the Dallas–Fort Worth Airport, countless subway rides, four days in St Croix, three Skype interviews, two weeks in Vermont and Florida, too many loads of laundry, one-and-a-half packed suitcases, and one new pair of boots later, I am almost ready to leave for my study abroad program.
“Leave?” you might ask, given that it’s the end of February. Yes, leave. While my friends have been abroad for weeks already—and some for a month or more—I’m still trying to squeeze a quick-dry towel into my already (maybe, probably) overweight luggage.
Turns out that Argentine universities start their fall semester much later than we start our spring one. So much later, in fact, that I’ve had plenty of time to worry, panic, bury my anxiety in horrible quantities of Netflix, doubt my country decision, language abilities, and friend-making skills, and not quite prepare myself as well as I should have.
Being home so long has made me appreciate my crazy busy life at Macalester. While it’s happening I often long for a break, but when I found myself with such luxurious amounts of free time I missed that feeling of productivity I get while rushing from one engagement to the next. Being overwhelmed by free time at home has made me appreciate how well we use our time at school—and how well we ensure we’re learning as much as we can, whenever we can. It’s easy to forget how rewarding productivity is until you begin to consider it an accomplishment just to leave the house before noon! (Kidding...kind of.)
I’m so excited to board that plane and start a new adventure with a new language, in a new country where I will undoubtedly overschedule and overwhelm myself. But you know what? I can’t wait. There’s something to be said for taking your time, but there’s also something to be said for using every last minute of it.
[On another note: It’s strange to be receiving news from Macalester when I feel so far away. But watching my classmates come together to protect what—and who—they love and value as part of their Macalester experience has been nothing short of inspiring. It’s amazing to see the thought going into the student response to administrative action. I hope as a student body we can continue to question administrative practices and to help shape our school into the best one it can be. ]