It’s three days until I leave for 4.5 months in Australia and I just started packing. The weekend before departure was spend with my amazing friend Cami, who drove up from Oregon to help prepare me. We shopped for some last minute clothing items and threw a going away party with a few close friends. The following day she shared with me lots of travel advice that she had accumulated from her study abroad trip to London last fall. We packed up everything I may need in Australia and Thailand and said our goodbye’s this morning.
While I was packing, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I am going to miss my family and friends. More so, I’ve been worrying almost non-stop about how intense my anxiety will/can/might be while I’m away. I’ve always struggled most often with the “if’s” in life. When I started going to school out of state, one of my personal goal was to become more independent in dealing with my anxiety. I used to rely on my close friends and family to calm me and talk me down from my panic attacks. Over time I feel that I’ve strengthened my positive self-talk, controlled breathing, and belief in myself to get through it, but I certainly still turn to Joe, Cami, Hannah, and my mom to assure me that it will all be okay. Negative foreshadowing is something else I have to consciously tell myself to push out of my mind. If I’ve learned anything about living with anxiety, it’s that more often than not, new situations are what you make of them. If you expect a trip to go terribly, all you will notice are the things that aren’t perfect (which nothing is). If you go into a new situation positively and trusting that you can handle whatever life may throw at you, the experience is more enjoyable than you could have imagined. This study abroad opportunity is a once in a lifetime thing and has incredible potential to be absolutely amazing.
Right now, I am more excited than I am nervous. I’ve always dreamed of growing up and visiting as many countries as possible, just like my grandparents have. My anxiety has kept me from seeing that dream as a realistic one: until now. I’m ready to experience this and take my first major steps in not allowing my anxiety disorder to control my life. Thanks again for following me on my journey!