Can Travel Help You Get “Unstuck?”

Backpacking & Trekking, Departments, Destinations, Dispatches from the Road, Europe, Italy, Leaving & Coming Home, Lost Girl of the Week, Studying Abroad, Travel Philosophy — By on April 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

That’s what Syracuse sophomore Patty Hodapp is hoping to find out. Here, she shares what prompted her to start looking into study abroad courses, and this summer, to jaunt off to Florence. You’ll be able to read her dispatches from abroad right here, so stay tuned.
My summer in Florence is signed, sealed and soon-to-be a reality-thanks to the Lost Girls’ encouragement-but here is how the idea of Florence came to me once-upon-a-time last semester…

One day I was sitting around with a bunch of girlfriends eating dinner in the dining hall at Syracuse University. We started talking about memories from freshman year, reminiscing on how new and exciting college used to be-back then the work load was half as heavy and our bank accounts were twice as full. Things were great.

Fresh out of high school, I came halfway across the country from Minnesota to New York chasing my dream of becoming a journalist. My friends and I embraced the exhilarating freedom of being “adults” and we grew up quickly, becoming fast friends. I did everything I could to keep up with the fast pace of college life, and before I knew it, freshman year was over.
Summer whizzed by and sophomore year started, but this time, everything felt so different. I flew back to school with one suitcase and unpacked my stuff from summer storage. I remember strutting into my dorm with a big grin on my face-we were seasoned college kids now. I knew the ropes and I was going to have a sweet year.

Then classes kicked in, and I was swamped. I frantically racked my brain-had I always had this much work? How was I supposed to write two papers in one night? Why was the library café becoming my second home? THIS WAS NOT HOW I REMEMBERED COLLEGE.

So a few months in, exhausted and downtrodden, my girlfriends and I decided that as sophomores we all felt, well, pretty much stuck. We were all weighed down with the in-between, “caught in the middle” feeling. Yikes.

I needed to take action fast before I melted away in the mundane blur my life had become. I wanted a future goal or short term plan that would keep me motivated. Also, the familiar ache of the travel bug was quickly becoming a gnawing hunger with every month that I stayed put in Syracuse. So I put two and two together and decided it was time to get unstuck.

I started looking into options and talking to SU Abroad counselors who gave me lots of great information on their summer programs. With my crazy schedule, a summer program was perfect timing, and I could take fine arts classes in Florence that would count toward my second major. Then I met the Lost Girls and they cleared up my internship concern. So it was basically meant to be! I fly out in T-minus two months and I am THRILLED. But making the decision to go and getting accepted to the program was just one tiny piece of the puzzle-I had the whole list of things to organize: a passport, a visa, my wardrobe, you name it!

More soon…
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