Being Real

Guest Post By: Lucy Wood, a Senior studying Marketing. She studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, during Autumn Semester 2022.

My college career dream has always been to study abroad. I didn’t have a particular destination in mind, I just knew I wanted to live, study, and travel abroad. This Fall I finally got to live out this dream and it was truly a dream come true. Since my arrival in Milan in late August, I have done more than I ever imagined studying abroad would bring to me. Not only did I meet the most incredible, loveable, and inspiring people, but I celebrated birthdays, met family members of my new friends, caught up with a childhood friend who also happened to be studying aboard, and best of all, I made lifelong friends that I will forever look forward to seeing elsewhere in the world. To say all of this blissfully is too easy, so I will be real. I had days where I sat in my room, a room where I did not bother to decorate the way I would in Seattle, longing for a moment of quietness. A moment where I could drown out everyone, my responsibilities, and my homework. In this moment I just wanted solitude and time to myself, but I always found myself questioning whether I should be in the kitchen socializing and making more memories, or at a café trying something new. But then I remember that constantly being 100% on my social game, talking 24/7, having endless energy, and always being on a high note is not reality. I had to remind myself that it is normal to take a day from being in the crazy world to reset my personal battery. Studying abroad and making new friends is not about having every moment, every day being loud and interactive. That is not real, it is not sustainable. I have learned from my four months in Milan in this crazy, exciting, yet foreign environment, that being real, and being myself is the true way to get to know others. This opportunity helped me learn who I am and what role I play when it comes to being put in such a diverse, emotional, and new setting. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have changed anything because the learning curve is real, and it has given me a new perspective that I will apply to every new situation I encounter in life going forwards.