“If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on.” -Lance Armstrong
I just finished my Japanese oral midterm exam a few hours ago and received an 85/100. I wish I did a lot better, but as a matter of fact, I got a better grade than I had initially thought I received after walking out of the room. I was thankful that two of my fellow classmates (both who are new to the Japanese language program at PSU) waited for me after my segment to discuss our thoughts on how things went. Interestingly enough, we are the only transfer students that were able to make it this far. This last week alone, we already had two students drop the class, as our instructors informed them that she didn’t believe they were good enough for the course. This only means there are less people for her to call upon in class, so things will definitely be different come Monday evening.
While waiting for our turn and psyching ourselves out in the meantime, my classmates informed me that they had both applied for a study abroad program in Japan. I told them that I wish I could get the opportunity to do something like that, and they gave me a great deal information about the application process. With that being said, I am now in the process of filling out my application, as well as applying for a smorgasbord of scholarships.
I’ve come to ask myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” To be honest, the only bad thing that can really result from my application is a rejection letter; so the positives far outweigh the negative. I don’t want to live with the regret of never trying and/or applying. Besides that, undergraduates seem to receive a lot more money than graduate students, so why not try for the program while I’m still an undergraduate?
Anyway, I felt like I had to share the big news. I’m sure I’ll be even more ecstatic when and if I receive an acceptance letter, but I already feel like this is a great step forward in my life. I think the other fantastic part about this process is being around other people that are equally passionate about exploring the Japanese language and other cultures. I feel as though too many people wish to stay within the confines of their own comfort zones. Some people enjoy staying within their comfort zone, but I enjoy the thrill of stepping out of mine. I value learning about other cultures, whether it be vicariously, in the classroom, or through practical application.
I feel that this is my path. I need variety, spontaneity, and a sense of challenge, almost on a daily basis. I don’t ever want to become “stuck”. I don’t ever want to be afraid of change, and I don’t ever want to see my life being limited. Even when and if I ever have children, I want the flexibility of us to move, travel and/or experience as much as we can. Life is so short and the world is so big, that the idea of spending the majority of life in one place and never exploring, even other countries, feels so restrictive to me. Life requires us to take chances, and I will do my best to do so as intelligently as possible.