It’s crazy how much a mindset can change in such a small amount of time. Before today I feel like I viewed this experience as so……foreign, and truthfully, I don’t think that I’ve ever been more nervous about an experience as I was before coming on this journey, before even stepping on the plane!
I think that the magnitude and opportunity of this experience truly hit me once I got back home from the semester, and a rapid period of packing, shopping, and planning began from the second I returned home from the spring semester to the second I even boarded the plane. I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt so nervous as I did the day before departure.
I had a literal rock just sitting in my stomach, whether it was from nervousness, or simply raw excitement and disbelief, the cause of the feeling remained unknown, but what I did know was that I had absolutely no idea about what would happen next.
As soon as I stepped on the plane, specifically the second of the four flights of my journey from El Paso to Bangkok—the 12 hr. flight from Houston to Japan, I swear I just couldn’t breathe or think straight for a solid 5 minutes after takeoff.
I was finally able to do it, to leave, I saw my first true blue ocean, I was on my way to a nation that believes, thinks, practices, and cares for others unlike anything I’ve ever been able to experience in my life previous, and is just….in almost every way, emblematic of the kind of life that I want to live in the future—thoughtful, compassionate, scientific, reasoned, understanding, flawed but trying to never stop improving, and serving as a role model to whoever may be listening or paying attention not by yelling the loudest, but simply doing the right thing and inspiring others to follow.
That seems to me like the kind of life that’d be worth living, and truly chasing…..what better place to learn from by example than here? In the past 11 hours I swear it feels like my mindset has just shifted from one that’s simply trying to work the hardest for the best end result (grades and such) to one of just chasing understanding, true understanding as found by achieving not just personal growth, but specifically intellectual and emotional growth at the core of the choices I make in my time here.
It’s truly fascinating to be surrounded by so many kind and intelligent people from so many places. It’s funny, I just feel like no matter where I go, who I’m around…it just sometimes feels like my experiences just make me stand out from others. Don’t get me wrong, being selected for any kind of award granted through hard work and the pursuit of growth or working hard out of a wanting and truly a necessity to try to truly become independent and make a difference in the lives of others is great, but people’s reactions to my life story just make me feel so lucky sometimes.
As far as I know, no one here has had to work as hard as I have to get not just physically here, but just to this point in my life—one where I feel like anything is truly possible, and that lets me think that I can truly leave this world in a better state than it was in when I was born into it as my own person—one that takes care of the people he cares about, that chases understanding in foreign environments, and actively seeks a life worth living-one that’ll truly make the lives of many, whether they be known or foreign, better.