Leaving the Nest For a Second Time

Gracie Weinstein
January 5, 2022

It’s 10:37 p.m. Jan. 3, and I am currently sitting in my bed staring at my computer screen trying to think about how to express my emotions about leaving for Milan, Italy in 10 days—whilst my two suitcases daunt me lying open on my floor peaking behind my screen. Going away to college in a new state wasn’t all that difficult for me, I was a simple drive home and I already knew and loved my roommate. Not to say that it was necessarily easy, but with two older brothers and numerous friends having already undergone the college transition, I felt fairly prepared to “leave the nest.” But going abroad isn’t much like moving four hours down south to a town with a parallel lifestyle to the one you started your drive from—how do you prepare someone for a four month long transition to another country? You can’t. 

I’ve been to, as of tomorrow, three orientation, three advisor and plenty, plenty, of zoom meetings about steps I can take to prepare myself for this trip. Figure out my phone situation, done; get a new credit card, done; buy a new suitcase, done; mentally prepare myself for one of the largest changes of my life, not in the slightest bit even close to done. But I’m learning that that’s okay. Change isn’t change if you are 100% ready for it—although I’m shooting for about 40%. I’ve begun my goodbyes as I head into self-isolation before my COVID-19 test and as my friends head back to their normal semesters on campus. It’s all coming up so soon, this conversation I’ve been having about studying abroad since I was a senior in high school is now next week. Crazy. 

Covid has definitely not helped. Testing positive right before having to leave, and being forced to delay my trip, definitely terrifies me. Not knowing if I’ll be able to visit my friends or have my family visit me while I am in Europe also scares me due to the current restrictions in other countries. My boyfriend and I will be starting long distance and that will also be incredibly tough—will I be able to see him even once over the span of the entire semester? For the past few weeks, I’ve allowed myself to let these intrusive thoughts, questions and worries taint how I feel about going abroad. I’ve turned my excitement into fear and anxiety without any room for optimism; but, as the departure date gets closer, I’ve tried gaining more perspective. All of these things that I am worrying and thinking about may not even come true, and I won’t know until I am actually there; so, for right now, I have no right to worry—I can not do anything about it right this instant. I’ve prepared myself as much as possible, and that is good enough. 

Maybe going abroad isn’t like going to college during a traditional semester on campus—at least certainly not right now in 2022 (that’s incredibly weird to say); but, there’s some parallels that many of us forget about. Every challenge we faced when we got to our new school was conquered. Every fear was settled. Life went on, and in many ways improved. In the end, we all managed to turn out okay—nothing was as bad as we thought it would be. It’s our instinct to fear the worst and expect the terrible, but maybe that’s not all that necessary. In my application essay to become a correspondent, I presented my favorite quote to the board of admissions to accurately portray my mindset in choosing to go abroad. It reads—loosely—as follows: what if it turns out to be better than you ever imagined. 

My entry for pre-departure isn’t all that interesting or long because I haven’t gotten to the good stuff yet, it will soon I promise; but, as I have finished preparing for my trip, I’ve been asking myself why no one is talking about the fear and the anxiety, only their excitement and how we’re going to have ‘so much fun,’ to be exact. That’s great to talk about, but in some ways, where’s the honesty? The point of this entry isn’t to entertain my reader, maybe it did who knows, but to be the friend and voice that I was looking for the past few weeks. It’s okay to be nervous when you are in this first stage. It’s okay to be even more than nervous, I am. But as you’ll see in my next post, it’ll all turn out to be okay. 

Fingers crossed. 

See you in Milan, Ciao! 


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Gracie Weinstein,

And that was all she wrote.

My time in Italy and Europe as a whole is over after all these months. I've shared stories and advice and just my general thoughts on here for the past 115 days...

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Gracie Weinstein

<p>Hello, my name’s Gracie Weinstein and I am a junior studying political science and journalism. Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved to write and have always tried to use my writing to tell stories with others about some of the best, or maybe worst, experiences in my life. I believe in the power of words and the ability it has to connect strangers with one another through their experiences, whether they are shared experiences or not. Writing humanizes people, and helps others relate to them — it cuts down on barriers such as physical appearances (how one’s life looks) and allows for strangers to understand each other. Whether or not those who read my work or see my posts have themselves studied abroad or plan to study abroad, documenting each scary, fun, jaw-dropping, or brand new experience I encounter is so special to share with them. I am very much looking forward to sharing my next few months abroad with others, and hopefully inspire them to make the same decision that I did. Ciao!</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Indiana University
Elmhurst, IL
Political Science
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