Preparing for the Unpreparable

Grace McGovern
December 29, 2016

For the past couple months, the third of every month has felt like a countdown for me.


Three months until Dublin…


Two months until my plane takes off…


One month until I go…


And here I am, now, leaving for Ireland in less than a week. Surreal has been a staple in my vocabulary these past few weeks at home, to say the least. I have spreadsheets filled out with every last thing I’m carrying onto that plane with me, down to the very last sock. My chargers are organized by type, my Kindle is loaded with books, and the new apps on my phone patiently await their first use on that plane ride. When you look at it on paper, I am prepared.


But I keep asking myself: can I ever really be prepared for something like this?


Excitement is the word that comes to mind when people ask how I’m feeling. It was disbelief for a while, had a stint of fear, and finally when I came back from my school I felt overwhelming joy and appreciation for the journey I was about to go on. I, Grace McGovern, will be living in Dublin, Ireland for four months of my young adult life. It is completely unreal, and this overwhelming adventure and all that it has to offer has left me with a beautiful sense of being completely unprepared.


I’m ready to wander the streets and be overcome by the promise of what these places and people can bring me, and what I hope to bring to these places and people. There is only so much you can prepare for, and I am ready to be surprised.


By nature, I’m not someone who loves surprises or the unknown. But for some reason, I just feel ready. There’s no logic to it, no self-help book I read that lead me to this golden answer. It’s just my trust in myself, and the amazing stories from all my friends who have studied abroad that has brought me to this feeling of excitement.


After all, in the grand scheme of my 20 years here, 4 months is an awfully short amount of time. I’ve been on this earth for over 240 months; to think that these next 4 could be the most impactful of my life is something that brings a beautiful lightness to my head, and lets me know that the path I’m taking really is the right one.


So goodbye for now, Illinois. I will miss you dearly; but Dublin, I am ready to welcome you and all your promises with open arms. 

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Grace McGovern

<p>I am a junior English major at Illinois Wesleyan University studying in Dublin, Ireland. I love the rain, which is a good thing, since it never stops here. You can find me sitting in a café reading Sylvia Plath in my down time, as any good English major would. Poetry, the sea, and finding the best ice cream in any given location are just a few of my passions.</p>

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