An Ode to Xanax

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.

Let's get started

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.

German giddy

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.

German slap

I switched topics and focused on English-speaking countries instead. Hello, Britain!

Where might I find Platform 9 34

The first problem I encountered in applying was the waiting.

Impatient

Everything takes FOREVER.

So it's to be torture

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.

I hate fucking waiting

Anxiety

Weeks would go by without anything for me to do. Just sit by the phone or computer and wait. Anxiously wait.

I don't sleep, I 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.

It's like my life is buffering

Loading new exciting life

The problem with all that extra time is that it gives me too many opportunities to second-guess and criticize everything.

Distressed

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'm having a nervous break down

I give myself pep talks everyday, and I even have a playlist of corny, but effective, confidence-building songs.

Do it. Fierce. Power.

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.

People are paying attention to me

Of course, since I’m not used to that kind of attention, it came with its own bucket of stressors.

I must be psychotic to think I'm worthy of this attention

But I’ll get over it.

I'm so uncomfortable

School Might Not Be Out For As Long As Alice Cooper Thought

There are a lot of people I make fun of. Among them are eternal students: the kids who love education so much and fear the real world to such an extent that they never leave school.

I don't want to grow up

In a cliche Hollywood twist, however, I have discovered that I, too, am an eternal student (or at least have the potential to be one). It’s not because I fear the real world, though. In fact, it’s because I’ve been so obsessed with the “real world” that I’m rebelling against it.

Fuck the police

See, I’ve always loved school. I love to learn. If I didn’t have any other responsibilities, I would take classes forever.

Learning is my whole life

I refused to admit it, though, because as I’ve mentioned before, I am practical and make good decisions.

Make good choices

I thought following dreams that didn’t involve a stable paycheck and a 401K were a foolish waste of time. Being happy and passionate is for naive idiots, after all.

You guys are too young to be this cynical

But then I woke up.

Everyone has two lives

I realized that safe was essentially the same as boring.

You're telling me to be bored for the rest of my life

And so I found myself sitting at the beginning of my last semester of college at 22-years-old, learning that I’d deluded myself into thinking my life would be “successful” because I didn’t fall into any of those pesky traps called dreams that make people crazy and give them purpose and excitement.

Tell me, princess, when did you last let your heart decide

So what had I done instead? Worked countless, exhausting jobs? Sacrificed a social life? Turned down amazing study abroad trips?

I've done nothing with my life

I could see my life ahead of me as clearly as if I’d already lived it. Five, ten, twenty years down the road (it doesn’t matter when), I would be working painfully predictable days making just enough to get by but never enough to go anywhere or do anything more than camping or a trip to the state capital.

Always the same narrow people, mindless chatter

After wallowing in self-pity over a pint of Ben&Jerry’s, I snapped myself out of it and decided I was going to find a way out the boring mess I’d gotten myself into.

Snap out of it, Buzz

I never look back, darling, it distracts from the now

I hated the future I saw before me, and I knew that if I didn’t do something drastic – something crazy – soon, I might never do something drastic again.

If you had the chance to change your fate...

...Would you

So I asked myself what I wanted. The answer was simple and immediate:

Bitches gots to learn

But I only had a few months of college left.

more-time

That’s when a seed a friend of mine planted a couple years earlier took root. This friend had recently returned from Ireland after spending a year there getting a Master’s degree. I saw her excitement from application to arrival back in the States. It had looked like a fairy tale to me, but suddenly, from my new perspective, it looked obtainable.

I have a dream

I knew I wanted to continue studying history (European history), so why not go to Europe? It saves me a trip to archives that I would have to make regardless. Plus, I get to live abroad for a year.

I want to go to there

I haven’t been outside of the country (or much of anywhere) since my family adopted my brother from Russia when I was 6. So this is a big deal for me.

I wanna be where the people are

For the first time, graduation didn’t look like a terrifying black hole of doom where fun goes to die. Instead, it started to look like a bright, daring, swashbuckling world of adventure where no one (not even myself) could tell me that going to graduate school abroad was a bad idea.

Don't tell me what I can't do

…even though I had no previous plan, savings, or preparation of any kind.

elle

Explaining my new idea to my parents was fun.

Do I really look like a guy with a plan

But fortunately, they’re very supportive.

Believe in your dreams

So now, I face the future with new hope.

A new hope

I remind myself along the way why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Life is about the memories and experiences

When I tell people about it, I hope it comes out elegant and sophisticated.

tumblr_n0sodk0P5B1rli3apo1_500

But I know myself too well.

I seriously cannot emphasize how little we thought about this

Just One of Those Life-Changing Moments

As I’ve mentioned, I’m starting graduate school in a few months. The reason why this is such a big deal for me is that I never planned on it. Actually, I was fairly adamant against it. I’ve never understood why someone would pay so much money and enter the job market even later. I would get a degree later if I needed it, but getting one right out of college seemed incredibly irresponsible to me.

Be the good girl you always have to be

Obviously, my opinion changed, and it changed in one anvil-dropping-from-the-sky moment. tumblr_lnrmn0nDns1qh0epb

It all started about a year ago. I had (still have) two favorite professors, and one of them pulled me aside to ask me to attend a study abroad over the summer. I don’t remember what it was officially supposed to be about, but it was going to involve touring England with my favorite professors. And I turned it down flat. Honestly, I didn’t even think too hard about it.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

So my professors went off to the UK without me.

We shall have a garden party

I had just started a new, good job, and I didn’t want to take off two months in our prime season and risk losing my new position.

I love my job B&W

I also took a huge pay cut when I took that job, so I was living hand to mouth. The thought of coming up with thousands of dollars when I was surviving on peanut butter and crackers didn’t sound so appealing to me, regardless of potential benefits.

Work work work

So I went on my merry way for the summer, until it all came to a screeching halt on the first day of school – the first day of my last semester (because realizations should always come at the last second). I walked into my favorite professor’s class, and she opens by telling us about what an amazing time they had abroad. Basically, a two month long girl’s night in the UK.

Girl's night sash flick

All the single ladies

The girls have gone wild

Office party

With emphasis on the blow up doll. Of my two favorite professors, one studies the history of sexuality and the other studies the history of female criminality. One particular story included them running through a museum fangirling (as only history nerds can) over ancient dildos and birthing stools.

Dildo dildo dildo

Grandma anal beads

Don't make that face, you love it

So then, I’m sitting at my desk, hearing all this like,

Deadpan

Those bitches

I'm just green with jealous rage right now

And then it gets worse when I start thinking about it.

Oh no

First, it turned out that I was the only student specifically asked to go on this trip, and I turned it down. 54a78add788db_-_crying

Second, the school I attended throws money at students to do a study abroad. And more than that, money should never be an object for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like that. I could have made it work if I wanted to.

What have I done - Anakin

And finally, the main reason why I chose not to go: my job. By the end of the summer, it was clear to me that I never would have wanted the job to last anyway. I was working terrible hours in retail, and as much as I loved my boss and coworkers, that wasn’t the career I wanted. I was graduating and was going to move onto a stable job in a library somewhere. But somehow I thought working a few extra months at this job was worth giving up a summer making sexual innuendos with professors in London.

I've destroyed my life

But ironically, my life was already destroyed.

What are you waiting for

I was bored with my life. Meanwhile, I watched friends of mine travel all over the world to follow their dreams.

I feel like her life is getting perfect while my life...

I was living safe in every sense, and I did it by passing up all my chances to be spontaneous, reckless, or interesting. I was so determined to be responsible that I forgot that responsibility never has fun.

I'm boring myself just talking about this

So do I regret not going on that study abroad?

That's accurate

But the good news is that it really did completely change my perspective on…well, everything. It made me come to terms with how much I really love history and what direction I really want to go in professionally. Most importantly, it taught me to appreciate opportunities when they come.

robin-williams-good-will-hunting

Even though this chance passed me by…

You can't repeat the past

At least I know I’ll never make the same mistake again.

As God as my witness

First Things First

This blog has been a long time coming , and thank God for this digital age that allows me to express myself in small cinematic moments. See, like most people I think, I don’t express myself very well in everyday conversation or even in a normal, written diary. I rely on memes, movie references, and writing fiction to sort out my psychological issues and emotions. But it’s not that I’ve been diagnosed with anything (yet). I don’t have crippling social anxiety or xenophobia (yet). I also don’t have an amazing, super fabulous life that needs to be documented. In fact, I’m pretty boring most of the time. I have some good things going for me (I’m moving to Scotland in a few months), but I can be really pathetic too (table for one please). I just want to document my life for what it’s worth the way that I see it. We’ll see what happens.

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