Mixing COVID with personal circumstances has made preparing for studying abroad in France not easy whatsoever. A rollercoaster shifting through endless anxiety, confusion, fear, hope, and excitement. Every step either felt like one foot forward or one foot back.
To be completely honest, my predeparture to-do list felt endless. Not only because of what had to be done for studying abroad but also for all the important home life changes. Originally, my plan this summer was to work, prep for studying in France, and work on law school applications. However, this Spring, my mother’s right shoulder quickly became significantly worse. She had some pain for months, but an MRI revealed a large tear among other things. She had to quit working because of it. That said, the amount I could muster to make this summer was all we really had come into the household. Medical bills. Bills in general. Personal health issues. Having to take care of my mother as it is just me and her. Taking care of the house mostly by myself. Impeding recovery—which we were and still are not sure how will go—and surgery dates changing closer to the time for me to leave for France. Adding the big decision of law school and all the different things to prepare for study abroad on top, and you have the lovely mountain of worries I stared at each day. I would be lying if I said my mental health did not suffer. I have had to battle so many bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety. Wondering if I could really be strong enough despite knowing I’m more than capable. Taking it one day at a time even if I couldn’t accomplish much one day compared to another is LITERALLY how I survived and continue to survive.
Out of everything, the key to my predeparture madness laid in the small victories. I took the LSAT in June after months of stress. I realized that I was on time doing my online visa stuff even though I thought I was late (stress can do it to you). After spending the necessary hours to figure out the online components of the visa process for France, I breathed a sigh of relief after my visa appointment in Atlanta. I talked with my school’s financial aid office as finances are a big concern for me. I got health insurance issues resolved after months (a piece of advice: yes, insurance is never fun to deal with, but keep your head high, talk to different people, know that some representatives will lie to you to get you off the line when they don’t know, and be patient). FINALLY getting my mom through surgery even though her caretaking needs have increased (it is the process that counts; I just get really worried about her when I leave).
Even with these small victories, hope and excitement for reaching my dream of studying in France have kept me going the most. Plenty of times I’ve been extremely nervous and feeling a strong case of imposter syndrome about immersing myself in another language and changing my entire usual reality. Yet, I remind myself that change is how humans grow, and it’s not going to be under ideal conditions. The whole purpose of this program is to grow, not show that you are perfect because no one is. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has the potential to change who I am in more ways than one. I may have been struggling for a while now, but I know that the best is yet to come. If I can be a well-experienced college senior despite being a first-generation student, I think there is great truth in that.
The point of being this honest with you is that I want others to explicitly know a few things. Life being unpredictable is no joke, and even though it is human to break down and struggle, the hard times will pass even if it feels like forever. We aren’t going to know everything nor have everything magically done. I should know as I have plenty on my plate left to handle before boarding my flight on August 31st. The biggest piece of advice I can give is that things will happen in their own time, and above all, you must be patient with yourself.
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<p>Hello, everyone! My name is Daisy Humphries. I am a senior double majoring in Psychology and French at Wofford College. I am a first-generation college student from a small town in South Carolina, and I am beyond excited to share these once-in-a-lifetime experiences with you all from my humble perspective. I love to read, write, travel, eat food, and spend time with my family. I'm also quite determined and ambitious even if it scares me, but hey, what's bravery without some fear and nervousness? As I've learned, you have to be uncomfortable to change for the better, so let's do that!</p>