I’m finishing my degree in Finance and Economics at the University of Alabama in December of this year. I’m from the suburbs of Chicago, and when I was a freshman I thought Bama was the farthest I’d ever go from home. Now, I’m sitting in an airport waiting to catch a seven and a half hour flight to London, England reflecting on everything it took to get me here. And I have to say, 17 year old me would never believe I’m going where I’m going.
One of the things I feel UA prides itself on the most (other than football) is its Education Abroad office and the study abroad experiences it offers to students. My first visit to Bama, my freshman orientation, and every education counseling meeting since, the question of whether I wanted to study abroad or not seemed to come up. My answer was always the same. “Yes, but I don’t know where I’d want to go.” Not only did the education abroad office help me figure that out, they’ve gone above and beyond to help me apply, get accepted, and prepare for my upcoming adventure.
Some students go to Spain, some go to Italy, others go to Australia, etc. For me, once I set my sights on London, it seemed like the most obvious choice in the world. The Harry Potter fan in me chides myself for not realizing it sooner.
Packing was easy. Maybe a little too easy. But the hard part is overcoming some of the nervousness, anxiety, and all the “what ifs?” going through my head: “What if I don’t understand their culture?”, “What if I don’t fit in?”, or worst of all, “What if I hate it?”
Here’s the thing about what ifs-they’re a waste of time. All of the things I’m scared of happening could easily happen. But, as I’m preparing to go on this 6 week adventure across the pond, I’m trying to learn to ask myself a new question: So what? So what if one thing, two things, or twenty things go wrong? You learn more when you fail than when you succeed. And ever since I started replacing “What if?” with “So what?” my excitement for this trip far outweighs my fears. I’m ready to immerse myself in London’s culture and make a few mistakes along the way.