10 Things You Miss About Connecticut College While Abroad

10 Things You Miss About Connecticut College While Abroad

Studying away is amazing, but there are some things to feel homesick for.
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Everyone tells you that you'll be having too much fun studying abroad to miss home, and that's true for the most part. But there are some endearing parts of Connecticut College that I have found myself missing in the month that I have been in Italy:

1. Everything being ten minutes from your room, at the most.

At Conn, you can roll out of bed fifteen minutes before class and make it there with time to spare. At night, dinner and friends are just a quick walk away. When you leave all that behind and choose to study in a city in Europe, your feet and legs are in for a bit of a shock. Walking between classes can take twenty minutes, and maneuvering through the city is a workout without the help of public transportation. It's satisfying to have your phone tell you you've reached your step goal every hour, but I know my feet will be thankful to take on Conn's sidewalks after months and miles of cobblestones.

2. Sundae Sundays.

As annoying as it can be to wait in line only to find your favorite flavor has run out, having the candy at the toppings bar to sneak back to your room is worth it. Giving yourself gelato Sundays isn't so bad, though.

3. Dryers.

If you thought doing laundry at Conn took up time, you haven't gone abroad! Parts of Europe just don't believe in dryers. Some people are lucky enough to have a dryer built into their washing machine, but where I am, the living room has been filled with drying racks for days as the seven of us living in the apartment wait for our clothes to be at least halfway dry. Once we're back at Conn, getting to fold warm clothes straight out of the dryer is going to feel like a blessing.

4. Hearing the Coast Guard's cannons go off.

I hadn't even realized this was a sound I was so used to until the cannon on Gianicolo Hill in Rome went off on our first days here, and I was the only one not to jump. It goes off every day at noon, and every time I hear it I think of the boom that echoes across Route 32 from our neighbors at the Coast Guard.

5. The Harris staff.

They're so friendly; it's impossible not to miss them. The staff here in Rome is great, but nobody could replace the people working in Harris!

6. Camel-Everything.

Camel cookies, camel waffles, camel-shaped decor everywhere you look in Cro... At Conn, our odd mascot is everywhere. Not only is it hard to find a single camel in European cities like Rome, but its hard to find good cookies and waffles, too!

7. Self-Scheduled Exams.

We haven't even had exams yet, but I know I'm going to miss being able to choose when and where I take my finals. The idea of the professor sitting in the room watching you struggle isn't a fun one, either. Life without the honor code making you feel comfortable leaving your backpack at the library overnight and allowing you to procrastinate until the last possible day of self-scheduled finals is going to be rough.

8. The Arbo.

Most people study away in cities, which aren't exactly the place to find a literal forest in your backyard, like we do at Conn. Taking walks around the water, lying in the grass during Arbofest, and exploring the rocks and nature paths are all serene moments you don't get very often living in a city unless you really go looking for them.

9. Floralia.

When it came to deciding between fall and spring for studying away, the fact that I would be missing Floralia at the end of the year was one of the first things I thought of. It'll be hard finding such a perfect way to end the semester outside Conn. I'll have to live vicariously through stories and pictures on Facebook.

10. Seeing your friends every day.

Whether you planned on hanging out or you just spotted them while walking to class, it's hard to go very long without seeing the same people at Conn. While studying away, you have to work around distance and time differences, deal with missing texts for hours, and arrange FaceTime and phone calls at odd hours. Most of your calls involve telling them to come visit you, though, so hopefully you'll see them soon enough.

Cover Image Credit: LinkedIn

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Love Belonged to the Seconds

Sarendipity Under the Gold Statues
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She felt the night was happy under the spell of a rite. The wish of a random fate had gathered them under the gold goddess statues. Listeners, dancers, viewers, lovers, singles, young and old, almost in harmony of sounds. The darkness of the night and the golden light beauty was dominant. She decided to stand on the side of the marble ground that decorated every dancer’s shadow. Each silhouette looked wild dancing freely over the white stones, beautifully shaped by woman's heels. Even the statues, standing still above their heads looked real. Looking almost jealous over the careless dancers undisturbed by each other presence. It was as if the serendipity of a random fait gathered them in that place.

She enjoyed looking at people dancing around her. There was something irresistible to see their body curved in different directions carelessly. They were unknown to each other, strangers connected with the rhythm of music and the rite of their body. Their shadows’ reflection gave a nostalgic look to the old brick walls looking as if they were ready to melt at any moment. The statues above their heads added to the grandiose momentum.


People surrounding her reflected a genuine smile all over her face while repetition of sound seemed to overwhelm the night that almost felt seductive and melancholic. Suddenly she was surrounded by random people, although drunk by the rhythm, she danced with one only. The energy was inevitable to ignore and made her blush of her thoughts. Everything was unruled. The shapes around her distorted light, in harmony. She felt included in something that was randomly and beautiful. Her dance became a prisoner of her feelings, and him, facing her, turned the night into a serendipity. She did not understand what he said to her, but instinctively felt the strange curiosity painted with young men's testosterone that made her even more attractive.


Can someone fall in love simply when stopping the time for a couple of seconds randomly? What made her attractive, so fast with the speed of light? In a split second she observed so much of herself and him in front of her. She designated no name for it. Nothing was equal to the meaning anyway. The dictionary struggled in limitation when describing the being of that momentum. She memorized his eyes, that where big like an avatar and strangely colored. His movements were slow and gentle. Not a good dancer at all. At times would stump over her toes, apologetic not much in words but with a smile. There was something very peaceful in his entire presence, that suddenly relaxed her.


They observed at each other without looking. It was so abstract, but so true. Her perfume made a cocktail with his fresh aroma from the shower, mixed with the body heat. His lips had sculpted a slightly permanent smile, while he barely spoke. His words were very limited, almost not there. She preferred that indeed. Who needed the words. Both had a way of ignoring things, but details never escaped. Only time escaped, so fast, until suddenly the world between them was interrupted with the same casualty. Serendipity was playing a chess game. He was lost within the crowd while she felt she was looking at no direction in love with the hole rite of that night. A stranger became her love. Such love had an endless ending. It was not the eternity that made love but something else, more simple. Maybe, just maybe, love belonged only to the seconds. After all the world was full of serendipity.

Cover Image Credit: Fatjona Lubonja

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The Only Way We Grow Fearless Is By Walking Into Our Fears

Walking away almost feels like a funeral.You die a bit inside, yet you live in the hearts of those you left behind
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I reminisce about walking down that aisle. In my mind, I counted each step, looking down, praying that I had made the right decision.

I have never been this petrified and thrilled at the same time in my entire life. I knew this was it. This was the moment where everything was about to change. Everything I've always been dreaming of right here, right now.

As a little girl, I remember dreaming about this day, and here it finally was...right in front of me.

I recall having two choices: I could turn around and walk away or I could take a leap of faith and follow my heart. Either way, I knew that this could be the worst decision I have ever made or it could be a life-changing experience.

I knew that regardless of the choice I would make, this would change my life forever.

I remember glancing at my father who was walking beside me. In my mind, I knew that this wasn't easy for him either. I knew that he was so terrified. He was terrified of letting his one and only daughter go.

He knew that this was the moment he had to hand me over. This was the moment he had to trust me and trust that I was making a decision based on my happiness.

That day my father did not hand me over to a man. No, he handed me over to a new country, as well as a new beginning. I wasn't getting married, not even close, I was on my way to start a new life, but this time all alone.

For my father, this was the same concept. He would hand me over with the hope that I find true happiness and live a life having no regrets. He had to watch me walk away to start a life with the thought that he would not be the greatest part of it anymore.

I knew that must have hurt because for 18 years he was my best friend, my training partner and my hero. I was heartbroken knowing I'd leave someone behind that is so dear to me.

We all have fears, and as we grow older, these fears can change...just like we do. Most of us don't fear what we feared when we were younger. Many of us fear failure, death and rejection.

But what I fear most is change. I fear change because I fear not having control of my life. I fear being judged and I fear being alone. I dread waking up one day and not having a single soul that I can call a friend.

Nevertheless, moving on to a new phase in my life required change, and I wasn't ready for that. But, much to my surprise, this is exactly what life handed me, this was exactly the fear I was about to face and honestly, I could not be more terrified.

If you have ever walked away from someone you loved, a job or something that did not serve you well anymore I know it must have hurt because I have been there too.

Walking away from something we knew and once loved always reminded me of a funeral. It made a part of you die, yet it meant we got to live in the hearts of the people that we left behind. We always leave something behind when we leave, whether it's good or bad, and sometimes, change means walking away.

To me, the last days were the toughest because I knew this is the life I have chosen for the next four years. The memory that haunted me the most was the look on my mother's face the day I had to leave. It was a look of terror and uncertainty. This made me think even more about a funeral because, to my mother, I'd just be a memory...at least just for a while.

I knew she feared going back to an empty house with my room left untouched until I return home once again. I knew she'd be lonely, as we did everything together. She was the person I'd go to when I needed someone to listen, a shoulder to cry on and she used to be my biggest supporter.

I didn't know who I was going to talk to anymore or who I'd go to when I need support.

For the first time in my life, I felt completely alone.

This must be a parent's greatest fear, yet they let me go.They had no choice but to face their fears, and I was about to do the same.

I knew that I was going to fight my fears the moment I stepped on that plane. As I looked out the window where I was seated, I saw my reflection, and the first thought that came to mind was that the person staring back at me would be my only friend for a while.

This thought of being alone terrified me.

I liked who I was and what I was doing, but I knew this was going to change. I kept telling myself: "In order to make friends and fit in I had no choice but to adapt to whatever the world I was entering wanted me to be."

It wasn't long before I made my first "friends." They wanted me to change for them, to be like them, to do what they did even if it meant sacrificing everything I believed in. I feared judgment, but I didn't want to lose myself either and going against these friends meant I'd be alone and that's exactly what I did.

This made me change the way I saw myself. From being someone who was so loved I went to feeling so alone and unwanted. I never enjoyed parties, I was always the girl who'd show up for 15 minutes with a Pepsi and leave. I never enjoyed staying out late, and I always felt awkward in these situations. What seemed to be normal for so many people just never really appealed to me.

I felt like I'd never fit in anywhere.

After a few months, I did not like who I was any more I hated my body and every piece of confidence I had just seemed to disappear. It started small with little lies that you tell yourself until it becomes your truth, something you start to believe.

I never felt pretty enough or skinny enough. I was too focused on how people perceived and judged me. I wanted people to love me. I wanted to be the best, but most of all, I wanted to be perfect.

The only problem was that perfect wasn't me, but that's what they wanted me to be.

I remember coming home from track training one day, and an acquaintance came knocking on my door. Apparently, she just needed to tell me something. As she continued to speak, my heart sank as she was telling me some offensive comments she heard the people I called friends said about me.

It wasn't the fact that they were speaking behind my back, it was the words they have said. Despite what I was feeling, I tried to stay strong and to pretend that it did not even bother me when it actually left a scar that I can still recall.

When she left, I started crying. I just could not understand why they would not accept me. I have been trying so hard. For the first time in my life, all my fears became reality. I was judged, I had no control over anything or anyone's opinions about me and I was alone.

For a while, I distanced myself from many things, places and people. I realized for me to be happy once again I had to walk straight into my fears. I had to accept changes in my life, but I didn't have to change who I was for anyone. The only thing I had to change was the people I surrounded myself with because I was made perfect by a perfect God and he loves me despite my flaws.

I had to remove myself from people who did not support or love me for the person that I was. I had to accept that what happens in my life is out of my control, and I had to accept the fact that putting my faith in God was the only way I could find peace.

I had to trust that whatever was happening in my life was His greater plan. Lastly, I had to be alone for a while to appreciate how blessed I actually am.

Despite the fears, I had to overcome I don't regret anything. I thank every person who had something to say, this taught me so much about myself and that in the end, your words do not mean anything.

In fact they actually never did. The way you treat people around you define you as a human being, not me.

I have grown to love myself in every way, and I'm sad that I wasted time caring about what you thought. You have made me face my fears. I don't want to change for you, and I honestly never will.

I could not be more satisfied with the choices I made.

I will continue to love people I will continue living every day as my last because, in the end, it doesn't matter how many friends you have or what you look like.

In the end, your happiness matters, how much you loved matters and how fearlessly you lived matters. Never facing your fears also means not truly being alive.

I have changed for the better. I no longer find the need to fit in because honestly, I never did. I didn't lose myself through anything I experienced, in fact, I got to know myself better.

I don't waste my time on people who don't deserve it anymore. I don't fear change anymore, in fact, I encourage it. I encourage getting on that plane, starting that new job or relationship.

Doing what makes you happy. I encourage doing the thing you fear the most if it means living your dreams.

I encourage embracing change because fear isn't real, but regret is.

Cover Image Credit: Cindy von Ahlefeldt

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