Whoops

It’s really all I can say.

When I first envisioned this blog as a sophomore, I knew I wanted it to be a record of my college experience. I saw myself writing at least once a week, providing a digest of various happenings in my life, the lessons I learned, struggles–you know.

Part of my resolutions for 2015 was to improve my writing and write more, as I feel that my skills have waned thanks to the bland research papers I pen for class. Achieving that would naturally call for deeper reflection than what is normal for me, and so I hoped for a heightened acuity for introspection. A couple of my friends were engaging in posting pictures or recording seconds of their lives at least once a day, and so I figured to myself, “Why not write a daily blog?”

And so that was the plan. But, as you can see from scrolling down my homepage, you’ll realize that I didn’t keep up. I’m wracking my brain to remember why, and all I’ve mustered is a shameful excuse that it became tedious or nothing happened that was interesting enough to write about.

Forward the end of summer 2015. Days before my senior year, I’m packing and stressing over moving to Geneva, Switzerland for the semester. Studying abroad was always part of the plan in a serious effort to acquaint myself even more with international affairs, European culture, and the uncomfortable. I planned to go on as many adventures as my bank account allowed, so documenting the whole 3 and 1/2 month experience was a priority. I even bought a Canon Rebel T5 (I’ve always wanted a DSLR) to accompany me on my travels. Aside from photography, I knew I wanted to keep a travel blog. Why not? A journal I can look back on to remind me of my journeys. An open diary to let people know of the moments when I thrived and when I stumbled. It was going to be great.

But of course, scroll down again and laugh. It never happened either.

Now, I’m writing this in my penultimate week of my time abroad. My plane leaves in ten days. Certainly this day would come, but just how nearly four months in a new continent filled with adventures and surprise flew by so quickly remains a mystery to me.

A small part of my conscience is scolding me for doing a poor job (or lack thereof) at recording this semester. While I’ve taken hundred of photos, I never really wrote about them.

Despite that, I’m very content with how I utilized my time in Europe. My lack of blog posts don’t account for a lack of reflection. In fact, this whole semester can be summed up under the theme of introspection.

I knew I needed a break from the hustle of Boston, and Geneva’s striking quietude and calm mode of life was the perfect antithesis. I’ve spend a lot of my time in planes, trains, and on foot en route to new destinations. To pass the time, I’m pulled into a state of reflection. As clouds, trees, and people speaking languages I don’t understand buzz past, I can’t help but feel proud but humbled at the same time. I’m here. I’m going, but I’m here.

Switzerland, Italy, Milan, England, Greece, France. Never would have guessed that I’d be stepping foot in these cities a year ago or even two years ago when I created this blog.

Even though I haven’t stayed true to sitting down and writing about my life as often as I promised myself, I don’t mark this down as a failure.

Maybe I was lazy. Or maybe I didn’t have time. Maybe I felt uninspired.

Or perhaps I was just living life, and decided for myself, subconsciously, that I didn’t care whether or not I spent a portion of my time writing about my day, week, or month.

I’ll be honest though: At first, I really wish that I did. I wish I took ten minutes a day to write down a small blurb so that I’d have an archive of memories to look back on and share with the world. I wish I collected postcards. I wish I bought maps from the souvenir shops of the cities and towns I explored.

In all of this regret, I forgot that my memories are simply stored with me, in my mind. I longed for the physical; and in my search and failed attempts, I forgot that I have the intangible. While I don’t have small trinkets to remind me of those times I hiked and traipsed through storybook locations, I have my memories of them. I can’t pull them out on a whim like I can do on a camera roll or blog, though. I won’t be able to tell you where I went or what I ate if you picked a random day on a calendar. Despite that, I know that what I do have in my head is more potent than a keychain.

So I’ll wait for those triggers to extract memories I forgot I had when I least expect them. I know that when I smell the putrid stench of fondue, I’ll be taken back to Gruyéres where I first had my experience of dipping vegetables into melted cheese. When I find sand in my shoes, I’ll hear the waves of the Mediterranean crashing on the shores of Barcelona under the moonlight. When I see some geyser, broken hose or fire hydrant, or some mechanism shooting out water, I’ll think of the Jet d’Eau, its refreshing mist on my face on a hot September afternoon, and all those hours I spent marveling at its grandeur–both in awe and of fear of being in such an unfamiliar territory–while promising myself that I will make the most out of this adventure, and that I will write about it one day.

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Have fun but never forget why you’re here

There were so many distractions to which I gave my attention during freshman year. I lost my sense of direction and gradually forgot the main reason why I moved to Boston in the first place: to learn how to better the world I live in and how to find the tools and opportunities to accomplish those goals.

Come sophomore year, I’m going to glue my eyes to my books, reduce the frequency of going out and having fun (especially on weeknights), join organizations that relate to my interests and educational pursuits, attend every class session, and meet with my professors and advisors regularly. Especially that last one.

It takes a lot for me to seek help for any trouble I’m having with school. Prior to college, I’ve always received excellent grades. None of them ever fell below-par and my teachers definitely did not dislike me. I made the mistake of thinking that that would carry on in college–at least naturally. I skipped class for the pettiest of excuses (“I’m tired” or “It’s raining”), made no attempts to meet with professors or TA’s during their office hours, and kept studying at a minimum. If I had any difficulty understanding material in class, I would always brush it off and save it for later. There were more pressing matters that I needed to deal with, obviously (not). If I were to grade myself on effort, I’d give an F- if such a rating ever existed.

Can sophomore year come any faster? I want to prove to myself that I’m better than that.