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It’s almost hard to believe that it’s summer. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was walking onto Yale’s campus ready to tackle this new adventure of mine. Today I find myself at my desk, in Paris, as I study abroad thanks to some amazing resources that Yale has for its students.

The End of Freshman Year

Words cannot capture how fast time flies. My second semester flew by even faster than the first: before I could even take the time to catch my breath, I was headed out the door as a rising sophomore. Weird as it might be, I was no longer a freshman.

That’s something weird that I’ve learned about college: Unlike high school, where the ending seems to drag on as you often continue to go to class even after final exams, college ends just as fast as it starts. In the blink of an eye you’re done with everything—literally everything.

You sit in your dorm and don’t know what to do with yourself anymore. In the span of a few days you turn in all your papers, take all your finals and pack up all your belongings, and soon you’re ready to leave campus for the summer. This sudden ending catches all freshman by surprise because it’s quite different from being a high school student. Even seniors who graduated last year said that this feeling doesn’t change. One day you’re at your desk freaking out about how many tests, papers and other tasks you have to complete; then, one or two days later, you’re sitting in the same spot bored out of your mind. The change is rather crude and sudden.

Summer Plans

Until a few weeks before the summer began, I didn’t really have summer plans. I knew I was going to South Korea and Taiwan to help run two of our Yale Model United Nations Conferences (YMUN), but what I’d be doing after that was still in the air. I’d intended to study abroad in France for seven weeks, but then I was rejected from a scholarship and that threw everything off course.

Still, I worked my connections and managed to secure enough funding to take part in the experience. Today I find myself in Paris, where I’ll be for a total of seven weeks, staying with a host family and studying intensive intermediate French.

Afterward, thanks to some extreme budgeting on my behalf, I’ll be backpacking through five European cities, eventually ending up in Stockholm; from there, I’ll fly to Russia, where I’ll stay for one more week. I will be taking part in a leadership conference at the Preparing Global Leaders Summit in Moscow.

After that, I’ll come home for a grand three days. In August, two weeks before classes start, a scholarship program of which I am a recipient will fly me and my cohort to Guatemala for a service project. Never in a million years would I have imagined going to so many places in one summer, but it’s important to remember that the opportunities are there. As my study abroad fiasco proved, if there’s a will, there’s definitely a way.


I’m very excited to go back to campus. I miss my friends dearly. I didn’t think I’d say that so soon, especially not after my first semester. I didn’t find my “people” until my second semester, but I’ve learned that college is about the people who make it worth it. There will always be people who you do not get along with and people whose values do not align with your own. However, as someone told me, “It’s the people who make a place.” If you find the right people, you’ll make any place great.

Yale is a web of so many social groups. I’m very grateful that no one dominates the social scene, but I’m even more grateful that I was finally able to find my own niche and group of people on campus.

With all of this traveling, I do have to recognize that I wish I could spend more time at home. When my parents found out that I’d be home a grand total of seven days over the course of summer, they weren’t happy to say the least. Neither were my friends whom I hadn’t seen in more than six months.

This is the price we pay to take advantage of opportunities like these. My parents recognize that these opportunities are amazing, but they also want to spend time with me. I’ve come to learn that with each deposit into our lives, something will inevitably be moved or be pushed aside. I didn’t ever intend for it to be, but this summer, it’s my family that’s being pushed aside.

I’m trying my best to stay in communication with them, but between classes and the difference in time zones, it is very hard. I don’t know how likely I am to pack next summer as tightly as this one: my parents, friends and I all value spending time together. I’m glad I have the opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to have something to do all summer, but if don’t know how I’d respond if you asked me if I’d do this again next summer. Half of me says yes, but the other half says no.

Seeing the world is important for a lot of reasons; but, Kansas is important too because its home.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens between now and then.