Finding Peace in the Unknown

Macks Koontz headshot
Macks Koontz
December 20, 2022

Starting college, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to even get through the first semester. Never in a million years would I have ever expected that in my sophomore year of college I would be able to study abroad in Japan.

As someone who is notorious for being a worry wart, there are so many things that are unclear and that makes me incredibly anxious. How is the flight going to work? What will campus be like? Will I be able to make friends? Of course I am excited, but there’s always that little voice in the back of my head telling me that everything will go horribly wrong.

However, there are a few things that are definitely helping—firstly, making sure to reach out to all the people connected to study abroad like my program advisor, advising at my home university (as well as the programs abroad office), student affairs, etc. They are honestly probably annoyed at how much I reach out, but that’s fine. Next, talking to all of my loved ones about my fears and how we would be able to handle it. Also talking to people I know who have studied abroad and the blog posts available have been super helpful! I am a type of person who researches every little aspect of something before I do pretty much anything, so the blogs and going on various other websites/social media pages eased a lot of my worries.

Even with that though, there is always that anxiety coming. I think there always will be. But it brings me peace of mind knowing that it will go away. Right now, I am focusing on having a mindset that I wish I had when I started college. Yes, it could be really bad and I could be miserable, but what if it wasn’t? What if it was the best experience of my life? What if it works out so well that it’s not even comparable to the best experiences I’ve had thus far? I can’t let the worry about it being bad define my trip when I haven’t even set foot in Japan. Although all of the unknowns seem extremely scary, it is comforting to know they could be quite the opposite. For now, I just need to trust that it will work out (like it always does) and that if it doesn’t, I can get through it just like everything else I have gotten through before.

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Macks Koontz headshot

Macks Koontz

Hello! My name is Macks and I'm a sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Japanese. I love learning, hiking, reading, and playing the guitar/ukulele. Studying abroad is super important to me and I am so very excited to be able to share my journey with other people :)

2023 Spring
Home University:
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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