Kimberly Perez-Lucero is a student at the Ramapo College of New Jersey and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.
College can be a pretty confusing and overwhelming time for just about anyone. Many students transfer or change majors, many change living situations, and most will face many challenges along the way. Once junior year hits or maybe even sooner, you’re probably itching to know what you will do next.
Where will you intern? What are your plans after graduating? Where will you work?
You may have heard this before and you may think it’s not true, but it is:
You do not need to know what you’ll be doing in the future as a freshman or even as a senior in college.
I am not saying that it is not practical to create goals for yourself because it is, and you should. But we cannot let the pressure of the future affect the decisions we make today. We should never feel like we have to do something because it’s expected or even limit ourselves from reaching our fullest potential. And by fullest potential, I do not mean just academically, but as a whole person. We owe it to ourselves to explore, to challenge ourselves, and to experience as much as we can. It is the only way we will grow and it is one of the ways we’ll find our answers to the future.
For everyone who has been abroad, we will never leave empty handed. Being away from everything that you’re used to leaves an impact on you. You have to grow accustomed to the food, the way people dress, the way people speak, the different forms of transportation, and so much more. The hardest part of it can be realizing you’re in a country you have never been in and know no one. But you meet a lot of people like you who are just as far from home as you are, and that’s a way you can bond together. I have learned to enjoy my own company as well as others, to be flexible, to have an open mind, and to always be eager to learn something new.
Your experiences abroad are something you will never receive from a textbook. Traveling and learning is a gift that we should all try to obtain. It will certainly challenge you, but no one can ever take away your memories, your knowledge, and the skills you’ve gained from being abroad.
So if you can, do it! If you do, remember to always be in the moment and take in as much as you can. That’s how it will help your future in any career: by being adaptable and a positive risk taker.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.