The Reward of Losing All Expectations

I think that it is just natural for us as human beings to form preconceived notions about things before we actually encounter them first-hand. Sometimes we will go into something expecting something very significant but are a little let down at the end with the final outcome. On the contrary, we may go into something with very low expectations and in the end, leave pleasantly surprised. Obviously, the latter scenario is more desirable, but when you develop expectations for anything, you always run the risk of being even more disappointed than you were in the beginning. During my time abroad, I have been able to refrain myself from constructing any sort of expectations when it comes to things I heard from people prior to coming here, things I have heard while here, and anything that is completely new to me. By doing this, I have been able to go into each and every day with an open mind which has allowed me to have an experience that is unique to me and only me.

Although my time here has mostly been positive, filled with amazing experiences, I would be lying if I said there has not been any frustrations along the way. For example, we may be traveling every weekend encountering new places most people only see in pictures, but we are still students and finding the balance between traveler and student is a tricky one that does cause a little stress. Even with the little frustrations we encounter along the way, I credit a lot of my positive experience to waking up every day with an open mind. I think that a lot of us study abroad students set too high of expectations and expect every day to be picture perfect with no obstacles to deal with. When we do this, the little hiccups and stressors we encounter are perceived as much more significant and impactful. If we set all expectations aside, it is much easier to deal with things as they come, learn from it, move on, and realize that each speed bump is part of the overall experience that makes it so special.

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Before I came to Rome, I really had no idea what to expect. I think that I have been fortunate to go into this entire experience without any expectations because it has allowed me to create my own experience and live day by day, and I could not be happier with where I am with just over one month remaining. I did not expect I would see all the amazing things I have seen, meet all the great people I have met, do all the things I have done, and learn all the things I have learned. Everything put together has helped contribute in creating this once in a lifetime experience, and has helped give me an entirely new perspective on life. I have learned to appreciate every single day I have here, embrace the special moments I am fortunate enough to have, and move on from the things I perceive as an inconvenience. Not having expectations has far exceeded anything I may have expected because it has allowed me to learn as I go and live in the moment.

“The best things in life are unexpected- because there were no expectations.”

Zachary Dagneau is a student at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and an official API Student Blogger. Zachary is studying abroad with API in Rome, Italy.

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