While on my walk from the bus stop to the gym, I always pass this wall.
It reads: “If I could bring bck dem days dat made me who I am, I wuldn’t change a fing.” It is simplistic, yes, but it got me thinking, “What events in my life helped shape me? If things were different, would I be in this spot, right now,looking at this wall?”
Now that’s an impossible question no doubt, lacking a factual way to find the answer. However, it’s fun to ponder isn’t it?
When I briefly play back the past 21 years of my life, one main event stands out. I believe if I had chosen no instead of yes, I would probably still be in America. With that being said, I am not implying that there is anything wrong with being in America. I am simply emphasising how insane of an impact one decision can make. Now, the question I had said yes to was: “Do I want to spend my freshman year abroad?”
To go into more detail about the circumstances that directed my decision, I did not want to attend college after I graduated high school. I hated the idea of it, I hated every campus tour I took, and I especially hated the application process. Regardless of how opposed I was to college, there was an itty-bitty teeny-tiny microscopic voice all the way in the furthest part of my brain telling me to enrol.
Then the question went from: “Do I go to college?” to: “Where do I go to college?” This was just as difficult as the first one. Because I hated them all, no university stood out to me. My sister was attending Florida State University at the time and I did visit her and toured. I actually toured twice. Both times – hated it. It just wasn’t for me. I can see how others find it enticing but honestly universities are just a personal preference. However, two things, and I say this word lightly, *attracted* me to the school. 1. My sister was there. 2. They offered a freshman year abroad program which gave out-of-state students in-state tuition. I figured if I absolutely must go to college, why not do it in another continent? So after what felt like years of stressing out about what to do, I finally settled on going to Florence, Italy for 2 semesters and London, England for the summer of my freshman year with Florida State University.
This decision changed my life. Dramatic? Yes. Truthful? Also yes. This experience basically kickstarted my passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures. Previous to my freshman year of college, I hadn’t traveled nearly as much as I was about to. What started as a last-minute “screw it” decision turned into the best choice I have ever made for myself. I look back in fear of what my life would be like if I had chosen otherwise.
That summer was my first time in England, and I instantly fell in love. Since then, I’ve been seeking out ways to get myself back. Finally, a couple years later I’m sitting at my desk in London, writing this. It is interesting looking back and seeing what decisions resulted in what outcomes, especially when it determines which country you’ll be in 3 years from today.