Ready to Grow

Hope’s campus is back to life with students, classes, and activities as usual, but I am still at home waiting for my semester to begin. This spring I will be studying abroad in Rome, Italy, with IES. Orientation week begins on January 30.

It’s weird talking with my friends at Hope, knowing exactly what I’m missing there, while I’m in this period of waiting and anticipation for this semester filled with unknowns.

At Hope I know I’d be settling into my new, but familiar routine. Most of my classes would be in Martha Miller, the home to the Communication and Modern and Classical Language Departments. I’d go to Chapel three times a week, grab a to-go box from Phelps for lunch between classes, and go for runs in the Dow to hide from the Michigan winter outside. I’d be living in a house with my friends, cooking dinner, and having movie nights on the weekend.

Instead my room is somewhat controlled chaos as I try to figure out what to pack. I’m slowly learning a little more Italian (Duolingo is my friend) and gathering tips from friends and family who have been to Rome or studied abroad.

And as exciting as it is to think about the classes I will take, the internship I will do, and the incredible history I will be surrounded by, my emotions no longer reflect the, “Wow that’s so cool!” reactions I get from those I tell about what I am doing this semester.

What the most daunting aspect of studying abroad right now is also what will, at the end of the semester, be the most rewarding. Currently, it scares me to be leaving my comfort zone and support system at Hope. Ultimately, however, I know that taking classes, doing an internship, and learning to live and interact within a foreign country is going to lead me to grow in ways that I could not otherwise. To sum those thoughts up eloquently, here is a quotation by psychologist James Hillman:=

Anytime you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna lose something. You’re losing what you’re hanging onto to keep safe. You’re losing habits that you’re comfortable with, you’re losing familiarity.

—James Hillman

This studying abroad experience is kind of daunting right now and will surely become somewhat overwhelming as I learn to adjust to life in Rome. However, choosing to force myself out of my comfort zone like this will no doubt open up many opportunities for new growth and learning. So while I move through this period of waiting my goal is to keep Hillman’s quotation in my mind to remember that the very things that scare me now are the same things that I will be thankful for in a few months’ time.

Thanks for reading,

Posted inStudy Abroad

Published by Erin Hoolahan

Hi! My name is Erin Hoolahan and I am a Sophomore at Hope College. I am from Wexford, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh) and intend to double major in Classics and either English or Communications during my time here at Hope. I love to bake, play guitar and am involved in Ultimate Frisbee and Silent Praise. I am extremely excited about sharing my insights on life at Hope! Thanks for reading. :)

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