Written by Lauren Hamrick, (Vanderbilt University) Student Correspondent Photography in Prague, Spring 2018
You never thought you would make it to this point. How is it that I have only a few weeks left on my study abroad? It’s a feeling both exhilarating and scary all at once. In an age that bombards us with social media that projects lavish lifestyles and standards of success, you also are shocked by your ability to have lived through an experience that is so commodified, romanticized and idealized. You can take a deep breath now.
It’s this experience, which has now become your experience, that you will miss the most. This place, these friends—it’s all become like a pseudo-home to you, and maybe you’re wondering if you’re not ready to leave just yet. I, for one, am feeling this way right now. I am currently caught in between the future—returning to familiar places and familiar faces—and the present—the gift of an adventure that invariably keeps on giving. It’s a weird mixture of nostalgia and homesickness, and if you’re anything like me, you don’t know what you want.
One rule to live by: don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Yes, returning home will be amazing in all kinds of ways (which will also be accompanied by its very own adjustment period), but don’t forget to enjoy today. Look around you; everything you see won’t be there for much longer. You have a rare opportunity to enjoy the few remaining weeks of wherever you’ve planted yourself. And if you think you’ve seen it all—the museums, the statues, the plays—chances are, there is still something left to be discovered. That, and you can also revisit the places or redo the things that you find the most fun. Why not?
In addition, you can maximize your time by preparing for finals that, if they haven’t already happened, are about to. Finish the semester strong by reeling in those grades. Studying is a good way to commemorate your experience. You know what they say: work hard, play hard!
Lastly, take a chance to say goodbye to those people who you might not see for a while. It’s easy to take your community abroad for granted, especially when you still have time left with them. Cherishing these moments with them—sharing a meal, having a drink—is an endeavor altogether worthwhile.
And so, we wrap this semester up with an enthusiastic Cheers! Or, as they say in Prague, Na zdraví!