It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but between travelling every weekend, the never-ending cycle of taking and editing photos, and schoolwork (ordered by importance), I haven’t had much time to breathe. It’s the opposite kind of stress than what I’m normally used to, but it’s allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate my life, goals, and priorities.

Last semester, I let myself fall down a deep, dark hole that I now think only study abroad could have lifted me out of. Being on the other side of the world, doing zero film-related work (besides my own personal projects), meeting an entirely new set of people, and focusing on my favorite pastimes – traveling and language learning – could not have come at a better time in my life. I always start each school year with a set of goals and expectations, which I proceed to (unintentionally) throw out the window as the semester progresses. This time, I feel like going back to school will be different. I can confidently say that I feel so much more motivated to stick to my personal goals and make time for what makes me happy, without letting school and work completely take over. Not only that, but for the first time ever, I feel like I actually have a realistic, feasible plan of how to accomplish this.

I think I finally understand the importance of studying abroad or taking a gap year. Beyond the whole experiencing-new-cultures thing, it puts you out of your comfort zone into a completely new environment, and forces you to deal. It gives you a deadline, encourages you to experience as much as possible before the time’s up. It forces you to step back from everything and everyone you know, and makes you think: What’s really important, and what actually matters? No matter how much I thought I knew about Europe, or Germany, or travelling abroad, I think I’m only now becoming able to wrap my head around the answers to that question. Moral of the story: Uproot your life, and go plant yourself somewhere completely different. Over, and over, and over again.

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