California Dreaming

If you had asked me around this time last year if I would be on academic exchange, I would probably say no. I had a lot of other SHIT going on in my life. But, a turn of events caused me to spontaneously apply to study in California this Fall. I applied exactly one day before the application was due. I received my acceptance letter almost immediately. And just like that, my life was about to change.

The Anticipation

Leading up to exchange, it almost seemed as if everyone was more excited than I was. Everywhere I went, people I knew would stop me and say the most generic travelling things:

“You’re going to have so much fun!”

“You’re so lucky, I never got to do that when I was in college!”

“You’re never going to want to come back home!”

I would usually dismiss these statements. For me, this exchange is was merely an opportunity to study abroad. Whenever people would say I was “so lucky” and was “going to have so much fun,” I would get annoyed. I wasn’t travelling for mere leisure, I was here to go to school. Little did I know that only 2 weeks abroad, I would already feel like a changed person.

The Beginning

I can’t say I really liked California much my first few days here. I was feeling homesick already. I spent my first day alone in a hotel then the following few days in an Airbnb. I was alone in a new country. I didn’t have anyone to call or hang out with. My days were spent lying down in a bed that wasn’t mine, watching Netflix, and ordering in food. I felt as if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life coming here.

This all changed a few days later during “International Student Orientation.” I completely forgot how hard it was to make friends. There was this HUGE line of International students. Over 300 of us. All of them clearly from different countries. But, being the ambitious little woman that I am, I approached the Swedish girl in-front of me (She is now my roommate hehe). One friend, turned into 2 friends, and later that day I already had a whole crew of friends from all over the world!

The Change-Up

It’s funny how meeting new people and FINALLY settling in changes your perception of your environment. Only 3 weeks into my exchange and I already want to call California home. My professors are AMAZING, the weather is beautiful, and my mindset has been nothing but positive. Other than missing my family, close friends, and my dog, I haven’t experienced any sad, anxious or negative thoughts recently. I am truly happy. I see California as a land of opportunity and all I want to do is experience everything.

Stay turned for my new travel series – First stop, CALIFORNIA.

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Goals For Senior Year

Each new school year, I make myself a goal list.

My overly ambitious self assumes that (based on the laws of attraction, of course) if I write down my wishes, they will come true. Unfortunately, my Notes app on my iPhone isn’t a genie bottle. I sometimes forget that.

I’m almost embarrassed to share my junior year goal list with you. Basically, none of my “wishes” came true. But, I guess that is exactly what happens when believe that your life path exists as one straight line. You cannot predict or plan your future. I learned this the hard way.

My Junior Year Goal List Was:

  1. Start A Blog
  2. Become A Freelance Writer For A Magazine
  3. Cut Down On Drinking & Partying
  4. Meditate Everyday
  5. Don’t Be Such A Bitch To Men (Some Guys Are Actually Nice)
  6. Start Reading Again
  7. Become President Of AOII

The only goal I was actually able to complete was Number 1. Numbers 2-4 happened partially or later on in the year. Numbers 5-7 didn’t happen at all. What I hate most in life is being labelled as a failure. I feel as if I failed because I was unable to complete all these goals. I’m in complete shock that I’m even sharing this list with the world right now… But, there is a reason why I am doing so. 

No one should have to feel like a failure.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Trying to achieve a certain amount of goals in a short period of time is nearly impossible to do. The motivated self you are at the beginning of a new term isn’t who you will be throughout the actual year. Life is unpredictable. There will be hurdles along the way.

The only reason I decided to keep and even share my failed list of goals from my junior year was so that I can avoid making the same mistakes when creating my new list. Almost instantly I know that adding any goals that involve the help or reliance on other people should be disregarded. You need to be in charge of your goals. You cannot be dependent on the unreliability of others. 

Next, I need to remember that daily schedules get busy. I tend to make goals when my life is at a bit of a halt. The silence I hear in my life now won’t last very long. Soon I will be bombarded with school assignments, events, travel, work, blogging, running errands, and all of the unforeseen circumstances that might come my way. Because of this, any daily or leisure goals this year will be avoided.

You can control the future (Well, to some degree).

Life remains unpredictable. But, striving for a particular end result is in fact do-able. That is, if you remain realistic and continue to be hard-working. I continue to make goal lists because they are what push me through my day-to-day activities. Yes, goals to me are literally an imaginary person I create to forcibly push me in the right direction. And failed goals you might ask? To stick with the same imagery, failure exists as another imaginary friend. Failure was once that friend that used to push me towards success, but has since failed me.  This was either because of a change in my life direction, unforeseen circumstances, etc. Yet, failure will forever be in my life. It now exists as a hardship I have overcome, a lesson I have learned and a push to try even harder in the future.

Now… The long awaited goal list for my upcoming senior year.

My Goal List This Year Is:

  1. Get a 4.0 GPA both semesters of school
  2. Befriend all my professors – Ask for extra help and recommendation letters
  3. Earn $10,000 in profit through work, other freelancing opportunities, selling pre-loved things to new & welcoming homes, and blogging (a girl can still dream)
  4. Volunteer once a month. It doesn’t matter where, when, or what charity
  5. Buy a sewing machine then learn how to use it – THERE WILL BE A BLOG POST UP SOON ON MY NEW OBSESSION WITH RE-WORKED CLOTHES & SLOW FASHION!! LET’S ALL WORK TOWARDS ENDING SWEATSHOPS