Yesterday, I was out with my friend Laura, and we were discussing how soon I will be headed to Guatemala. I told her how I was actually a little disappointed to be going to Guatemala – I really wanted to go to India. Since I didn’t feel as strong a pull to Guatemala, I wasn’t feeling nervous or excited yet.
Then, as I was drifting off to sleep, it hit me…2 weeks. Two weeks until I would be heading to a country I knew nothing about, without anyone I knew, and without speaking their language very well. Two weeks is nothing…and I started to get nervous. I found myself thanking my lucky stars that I’m not going to India, because then I think I’d be about 100x more nervous.
Don’t get me wrong – being nervous is a good thing. If I’ve learned anything over the past 4 years, it’s that the things that push me the farthest out of my comfort zone that are the most rewarding. More uncomfortable = greater satisfaction and reward. I think there’s 2 big reasons for this. First of all, if I’m uncomfortable with something, it’s probably because I’m ignorant of it (eg. I know little about Guatemala). At the end of the adventure, I think the biggest reward is that you’ve learned something, that the process of facing your fears has taught you something. Something about yourself, and something about what you’ve done. And I LOVE learning. The other thing is that I find when I face a fear I feel SO accomplished at the end of it – I have conquered something that scares the hell out of me – I can do anything!
Here are the things I am currently nervous about:
1. Going alone – I know that there will be someone there to meet me on the other end of the plane ride, but this is the first time that I have EVER travelled without anyone I know. I’m sure it’ll all be good and I’ll meet tons of great people, but it’s still a little nerve-wracking.
2. Language barrier – I took a first year spanish course, and have continued with some lessons throughout the summer, but I am still FAR from fluent in Spanish. I know I’ll learn quickly once I get there, but I just hope I don’t flounder too much between now and then!
3. Placement – Unfortunately, the organization doesn’t tell me ANY details about my placement until I actually arrive. Being a person that likes to have things planned and be able to clearly see my next step – this is a challenge. I guess I just have to embrace it as part of the whole “being outside of my comfort zone” thing.
4. Getting everything done before I go – I have done very little to prepare for this trip thus-far, and these next two weeks will fly by. Today, I almost finished all of my medical school applications, but I still have so much to do. Yesterday I did my first run on packing – I need to cut my clothes down to half. EEK.
All in all, though, I’m feeling pretty good. Heading in to Guelph tomorrow for a couple of O-week events as a “BAS Alumni Ambassador” and to hang out with my BASSA peeps, so I’m super pumped for that. Just gotta find a way to let all the stress roll off my back!!