Anxious Excitement: Looking Forward and Back

On September 6th, or next Friday, I will finally be leaving the States for Scotland in what will be the most exciting part of my last year of college. I am beyond excited to go on this trip, but it’s almost a bittersweet feeling in a few ways.Even though I had wanted to study abroad for a while, I had resolved to work towards it last fall when I had found out that I would be able to do this. I had plenty of ideas of where I would have loved to go, but I was limited to what we could afford and by what had psychology courses (I guess I didn’t need to, but I didn’t want to neglect my major while I was there). Even though my semester abroad would have been exciting regardless of where I went, many places were eliminated based on minor setbacks.

And of course, there were a lot of other roadblocks that I had faced while applying. My parents were concerned about a lot of things, particularly issues with money and my distance. I know that they are proud of me, but I also know that they will miss me a lot and will constantly think of my well-being. They could have put the brakes on my efforts to apply, but I was allowed to continue, and in the end, I was able to put everything together.

Another huge hurdle that I have had to face was deciding on a new program after my first choice had been discontinued; something that had happened during a larger ordeal: the passing of my grandfather. It was hard to have to start over on where I had wanted to go, and during a time of grieving, no less. However, I know that my grandpa would be proud that I hadn’t given up, and that through hours of weighing my options, asking for advice from friends and family, and spending hours nitpicking every detail on the cities and countries I had narrowed down, I had eventually limited my final choice to two cities, one of which, of course, was Glasgow, and after even more nitpicking, I had decided to spend my fall semester in Scotland.

Of course, even after I had sent my application and everything else in, there was more that I had to do to get ready, mainly keeping my GPA in good standing and finding a way to make money, both for food and to spend abroad. I believe that this trip served as an extra incentive, as I was able to accomplish both goals spectacularly: last spring was the first time I had made the President’s list at McKendree, and I found a great job within my first month of summer break. I also had to fill out plenty of paperwork and organize payment, both of which I stressed out immensely over, but in the end, I was able to overcome them.

Beyond preparations for Scotland, I had also been spending time with friends and family this summer. While it has been difficult to see a few of my friends, I was able to see many of them at least once, and hopefully, I will be able to see a few more before I finally leave. Most of my friends at McKendree are starting classes today, but I will also try to visit them too before I leave. It’ll be slightly difficult because of the amount of work hours that I have this week, but I will make as much of an effort that I can to visit everyone.

In the next few months, there will be a lot of firsts for me: It will be the first time living in a foreign country, living in a city, living far away from family, and traveling to the United Kingdom (as well as many other countries, possibly). It will have been the first time I have been to Europe since I was eight, and the first time I have left the States since I was in fifth grade. I will have to start over making friends, which shouldn’t be hard, but it is daunting regardless.

Considering my personality, it is a huge leap of faith to be studying abroad, but one of the major reasons that I had decided to study abroad was to step out of my comfort zone, and I think throwing myself into a different culture is definitely one of the best ways to do that. I have worries, and I know that my trip won’t likely be all fun and games, but it will definitely be enjoyable. I am thankful that I have great friends and family that have been very supportive of me, and I will miss everyone a lot, but I will make this trip a great experience and come back with plenty of stories to tell.



Due to the length of this post, I will not have a learning section this time. I will definitely have one the next time I post, though!



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5 responses to “Anxious Excitement: Looking Forward and Back

  1. Judy (mom)

    Dan–just realized you had a blog. I am so very proud of you! This is a big endeavor studying abroad; it will challenge you and build character and it will be exciting and fun–I think it suits your personality. I am sorry my worries put stress on you–just put that all behind and have an awesome time. One of my recommendations to you was to consider English speaking countries, since you aren’t studying a language; I will be interested to hear about the differences in English in the areas you travel. How much Gaelic is sill spoken in Scotland? I am curious about the foods (and be careful with the whiskey). Of course I am also interested in your education–do they have a similar academic approach? Is grading the same?

  2. Good luck – I am sure you will love Glasgow. I study there and it really is like Hogwarts! 🙂

  3. ted and henri lawrence

    Hi Dan, As you are getting ready to leave we wanted to wish you well on this fabulous journey you are about to have. We will miss you but know that this will be a great adventure for you. When you have the time send more info so we know how you are doing. Your Friends and Neighbors, Ted and Henri

  4. Sarah Klucker

    I’m checking this blog every day to try and find some scoop on how things are going. We miss you already at McKendree and I can’t wait to watch this experience unfold for you…..SO PROUD!!!!!

    • Hey Sarah!

      I’ve actually been working on another blog post. It’s been hard trying to update in the middle of freshers’ week, which is basically like NSO (New Student Orientation) that international students are allowed to attend as well. I’m going to post another entry by the end of today, though. Just know that Glasgow has been great so far!

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