So, with two months left of college and roughly 3-4 months until graduate applications were due, I knew two things: 1) I wanted to go to school abroad, and 2) I wanted to study history.
The friend of mine who studied in Ireland has a brother, and he happens to be in Germany studying for his own Master’s. Before he left, he advised me to go to Germany because school is cheap.
Unfortunately, halfway through my fourth German class, I was forced to admit that there was no way in Hell I was going to be fluent enough to apply. Plus, the topic of interest that I would have pursued there was soundly shut down by one of my professors as being unoriginal and done to death. Well, goodbye to Deutschland.
I switched topics and focused on English-speaking countries instead. Hello, Britain!
The first problem I encountered in applying was the waiting.
Everything takes FOREVER.
First, I had to get a passport. 2 months. Then, I had to wait for my transcripts. 1 month. My professors took their good sweet time on their letters of recommendations (no complaints, though, they’re absolutely beautiful). 2 more months. Fortunately, a lot of this time overlapped, but still.
Weeks would go by without anything for me to do. Just sit by the phone or computer and wait. Anxiously wait.
The next eight months continued in the same way, rushing to complete a giant pile of paperwork and bureaucratic bullshit and then waiting the weeks or months until the next step in the process.
The problem with all that extra time is that it gives me too many opportunities to second-guess and criticize everything.
All that I’m doing is so different from the safety zone I’m used to, so every second it takes to hear back from the professor, agency, or school causes every one of my insecurities to scream out at me.
I give myself pep talks everyday, and I even have a playlist of corny, but effective, confidence-building songs.
The one upside is that once it leaks out that you’re hoping to go to school overseas – well, if you live in a pretty stay-put, go-nowhere community like me – you start getting a lot of attention. My brother was always the center of all things new and different and the one who we all predicted would travel, so it came as a surprise when I came out of the interesting person closet.
Of course, since I’m not used to that kind of attention, it came with its own bucket of stressors.
But I’ll get over it.