I Traded Blacksburg For Paris And It Was The Best Decision I Ever Made

I Traded Blacksburg For Paris And It Was The Best Decision I Ever Made

Studying abroad in Paris for a semester was the best decision I've ever made.

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During the second semester of my freshman year, I applied to study abroad in Paris for five weeks over the summer. At first I had many reservations, like the cost and missing home, however, now I cannot imagine my life without this experience. In the days between finishing freshman year and the beginning of study abroad, I was mixed with excitement and nerves.

It felt different than simply going to college because your parents are not just four hours away, but a whole ocean. When I got to the airport, I knew it was the right decision. I started making conversation with the other people on the trip, but I had no idea that these strangers were going to become so important to me.

I had vaguely known two of the people on the trip, and one ended up being my roommate which was a relief! We all got to know each other pretty fast while exploring the city of Paris. The beautiful architecture, wonderful food, and great new friends made the transition from Virginia Tech easy.

Most of us took two classes while being there, which included a curriculum based around the French language and culture. We took classes with people from all over the world which was an amazing, and immersive experience. Other parts of the course included walking tours and weekend excursions which were full of information and group bonding. From Notre Dame to Chambord, I loved and savored every second. It was school, but it felt also like a vacation. The constant excitement of the city kept me going through our written assignments, and writing about art museums did not feel like a chore. Having lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens almost every day was one of the many experiences that I will never forget.

The group of people that were on the trip was so unique and I honestly don't know if we would have been friends otherwise. There is something, however, about being abroad together that makes everyone want to be with each other and share the experiences.

I studied French all throughout high school and took only the first semester of freshman year off, but studying in Paris made me fall back in love with the language and culture. The smallest things like doing my homework sitting by the edge of the Seine or taking a trip to the Centre Pompidou to admire modern art made the trip all worth it.

These are memories that I will cherish forever, and Paris will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Yes, studying abroad is a big commitment, and yes it is expensive, but I have absolutely no regrets about my time there. All I can say is thank you to the friends I've made, the professeur who led the trip, and to my parents for believing in a worldly education.

Merci beaucoup.

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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6 Unique Spring Break Destinations, For The Adventurous College Kid

If sand or snow ain't your thing, you can still have a great time this spring break.

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So you've been to the beach every year for the past five years...you hate skiing like you hate 7 a.m. classes...if the typical spring break destinations sound bland and boring, here are some fresh destination ideas for you. Ride solo or bring a squad, you're guaranteed to have fun at these less explored spring break spots.

1. Portland, Maine

Explore the beautiful state of Maine, with temperate weather and beautiful shoreline, Portland is definitely a destination. Featuring a huge art and theatre culture, Portland has lots to offer from every perspective: art, food, outdoor rec, spas, nightlife and more. Try some fresh Maine lobster, sit on their scenic shores, or try to get a selfie with a moose!

2. New York City, New York

We all know about the hustle and bustle of New York City, but have you been there? If the answer is no, perhaps your spring break trip could feature Times Square, famous NYC style pizza, Broadway, and bumping nightlife.

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is an optimal travel destination year round. The city is alive with music and culture, and you can never go hungry here! Explore the French Quarter and their numerous parks and museums, after you go to Bourbon St. of course.

4. Phoenix, Arizona

The natural wonder of the Phoenix desert should be enough to draw you to the southwest. Hike rock formations, explore natural rivers, bike through the city, take walks through their canals or explore Pheonix's LGBTQ district. Phoenix is meant for an active attitude and adventurous souls.

5. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

If you're an adrenaline junkie, look no further than the rollercoaster capital, Cedar Point Amusement Park located in Sandusky, Ohio. With 18 thrilling coasters, there will be no shortage of screams here. Get a weekend pass and test your limits, can you make it on all of them?

6. Yellowstone National Park

If you love camping and the great outdoors, a national park like Yellowstone is the perfect place to plan your spring break. Go on wildlife tours, test your hand at photography or relax by some natural hot springs. The park is located in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, so there's plenty os surrounding cities to explore as well. Sounds like a great road trip!

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