Are You Ever Really Ready?

I had been planning this semester abroad from about the time I started high school, and I let absolutely nothing stand in my way to get there, not even an ocean. For years, I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime that I didn’t want to miss out on. When the time finally came to go, it was my own, last minute second thoughts and fears that became the final obstacles in my way.

I truly thought I was ready, and on paper, I was, but the car ride down to the airport had my stomach in knots and my chest was pounding. I had never been abroad before, I had never been on a flight that long before, I had never even flown alone before and now I had to do all of this by myself! And it all hit me when my bags were packed and in the trunk on our trip to the airport. Luckily, I had many words of encouragement from my family driving me down as well as my friends sending me farewells and well wishes.

I breezed through the lines since I had checked in online and made my way over to the gate. As excited as I was that the day was finally here, I was scared to death and just wanted the scared feelings to go away. I couldn’t help but continuously check my phone and the status of my family’s drive home, just so I didn’t have to deal with the fears I was facing. Once boarding came around, I was pleased to find myself in a window seat where I could at least see a few sights before it got dark.

The best part of the flight was the woman next to me who shared that she had just dropped her son off in Tennessee for a year of school and was returning home in Europe. It was so nice to have somebody who knew what I was going through and who I could share some of my own experiences with. It was also really eye-opening to have my parents’ own fears, hesitations, and hopes for the semester shown to me from a complete stranger just because those were her shoes too at the moment. Having her there did help me get over how scared I was to be going on my own because then I knew it would all work out, especially with so many people in my corner for an amazing semester. It is just as hard, if not harder, for parents to say goodbye for the semester and let you on that plane, but just like us, they take that leap of faith.

As ready for the semester as I thought I was, I was very wrong, and I learned that that’s okay too. Even the experience of a lifetime that you’ve been dreaming of for years can be absolutely terrifying, but sometimes a little faith in yourself, even if you need others to bring it out, and a kind soul on a long flight are all you need to know everything will be okay and this chance you are taking is well worth it.


Rynne O’Connor is a student at St. Michael’s College and an official API Student Blogger. Rynne is studying abroad with API in Salamanca, Spain.

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  1. Hey, We have been checking out your blog and we must say that we are very impressed. It’s really great.

    We have particularly been following your posts about Salamanca as we visited there too. We have even written a guide, which you can check out here: We would love your feedback and any tips, information, advice that you might have would be warmly appreciated.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ania & Jon

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