How This Anxiety-Sufferer Prepares for her Amsterdam Adventure

Charlotte Steinberg
January 24, 2019

(Confession- this isn’t exactly a “predeparture” post considering I’m already in Amsterdam. But the week-before-a-new-semester-of-school theme still stands.)

As a transfer student, I’m accustomed to being thrown into a new school with new classmates, location, and environment; I don’t expect that part of my transition to UvA be particularly difficult. It’s the living-in-a-foreign-country-where-I-don’t-know-anybody part that’s starting to break me out a little bit. I’ve only been in Amsterdam for 24 hours and I’ve already cried 3 times (which is honestly not that impressive for me but still)- once upon arrival after realizing our AirBnB was nowhere near Schiphol and we had to lug my oversize, overweight suitcase across the city, once after getting on 3 (!) wrong trains, and once from pure exhaustion (although to be honest I think all three crying fits were direct effects of sleep deprivation). Each time, I cried to my mom “I can’t stay here for 4 months,” and she'd hug me and say "you can and you will!". But now that I’ve caught up on sleep (sort of) and decoded the tram and metro maps (again, sort of), I’m feeling infinitely better about the months ahead. Will I get lost again and end up crying in front of a touristy coffeeshop? Probably. But what’s a better use of my energy is considering the potential that this semester holds. Today, as my parents and I made our way to the Anne Frank house, I took a moment to stand over a canal and take a breath- I realized I hadn’t taken a moment for myself since we’d arrived. I breathed in the (cold!) Holland air and was reminded why I chose to come here in the first place: for an adventure. 

As someone who suffers from anxiety, it’s so easy for me to look too far ahead, assume the worse, and begin to dread the future. I do it all the time, even when I’m not 5,737 kilometers from home (look at me already using the metric system! Thanks Google.) My goal from here on out is going to be to remind myself that this semester won’t be perfect. Nothing ever is. The goal is to let myself have some bad moments, some anxious moments, some lonely moments. But what’s more is that I’ll tell myself over and over that they’re exactly that: moments. And for every less-than-perfect moment, it’s more than likely there’ll be 100 incredible, growing, memorable moments. I have no idea what the future holds- but that’s what makes it so exciting. After all, this is Amsterdam.

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