“I don’t want to go”. So speaks David Tennant rights before his version of The Doctor dies in the BBC SIFI show “Doctor Who”. It’s ironic that I sit here, sad to leave a place I had once dreaded coming to. In the end, I don’t think I could have ever hoped for a better experience in Italy. Sure there have been highs and lows, annoying train trips, spring break adventures with my mother, but through it all, the common theme that it couldn’t have happened if I had not left the USA remains. I can’t count the amount of times that I wanted to withdraw from the study abroad program and stay in New York before coming here. To me, Italy was the place where everything would change. My friend groups from home would dissolve, my trajectory in my professional life would be thrown into the air, and I would have to rely on a language that I was just beginning to get the grips of. And to be sure, all of those things happened. I’m not living with any of the people that I thought I would be, I don’t have any of the summer internships I had been banking on, and I did flounder with Italian.
But in the end, I’m thankful for all of that. If the friend group that I was so afraid of collapsing did collapse, then perhaps it wasn’t meant to exist in the first place. If I couldn’t get those internships from a skype interview, then perhaps I wasn’t meant to work them. As for the language, it’s always nice to be put in your place as the monolingual American. But forgetting all that, good or bad, living here changed me. It changed how I view this county and this continent. It changed what I want out of life. It changed the way that I see my life and my world. Though America is this wonderful melting pot of people and culture, the underlying theme of work and pressure to succeed seems to creep into everyone that inhabits the good ol’ USofA. No one wants to be the one to take the extra day off work to see their family, no one wants to be the first to clock out and the last to clock in…at least no one wants to be perceived that way. Here, it doesn’t matter. Here, as long as you’re enjoying your life, whatever your doing is working out just fine.
I hope to take that back with me to America, that idea that we don’t have to always work ourselves to the bone just to get more out of life. I guess you can sum it all up by saying that money truly doesn’t equal happiness, and actually acknowledging that and living that motto might just be what I need so I don’t fall apart (this upcoming year being my last in college). The tendency to stress about the future after university can tear you apart, but if I can just focus on being happy, on enjoying those moments, maybe the typical post-graduation stress won’t be as bad as its been made out to be.So yes, much like the great 10th doctor, I don’t want to go, but in my own way, I really don’t have to. And I’m not just talking about the week of traveling that I have planned after this semester.