Indiana University Overseas Study

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir mens’ blood.”

-Daniel Burnham-

It’s a bit funny, in its own wretched way, to realize (on the world-changing precipice), how significantly less prepared/excited/ready you are than you thought you were. Not that you’re so unprepared/anxious/hesitant that you’re going to turn fuzzy tail and scurry back down into the hole of comfortable recurrence, but you suddenly have the whole world of change thrown right into your face, and no amount of shine to the pre-departure proleptic lenses can clear away the worry.

At the risk of this tirade sounding a bit over-dramatized, I’m going to go ahead and skip the emotional whatnot and jump right into the meat of the anxiety; something, I assure my willing readers, that will be achingly tender with just the right amount of juice to keep wary eyes from wandering.

Are you ready? Because I’d like to think that I coined this little quip myself: societal de-conditioning. Something I’m sure Websters would define as the act or process by which one migrates away from the process of re-immersion into different social spheres, and instead immerses himself into a singular social sphere, from which he is reluctant to leave.

That should be enough long-winded faux-academia to outlast the trip, and on my word as an Eagle Scout it will be the last. That, however, was the first chewy bite, and here are the promised juices: why, if we’re pretty much always in a process of picking up and restarting (whether with friends, hometowns, jobs, etc.) aren’t we prepared as adequately as we should be?

Simple enough little query, isn’t it? At some point in our younger and more vulnerable years, someone tall and most likely, with a staunch, trustworthy mustache, leaned over our frail quivering bodies and told us that, as much as we like cake now, sooner or later, the days of pie will come and we will have to learn to gird ourselves for the imminent a-pie-calypse (I’m sorry—that’s admittedly terrible). And now that the day is here, what do we have to protect ourselves? A couple post-it notes on my refrigerator for me that read, among other things: get better at deutsch, learn good manners, prepare yourself for the unexpected.

Alas, my forebodings only say so much, and rather than doom-say with promises of ignorant perfidy, or try to shove blame at someone, I’d prefer to end things on a happy note. To whatever happy note might you be referring, my dear narrator? you might be asking, and your dear narrator would be of course GLAD that you asked, because it’s nothing that boils down to take pride in ignorance, or count down the days until you’re back in your cozy rabbit hole, I assure you.

We, not only my fellow compatriots in venture, but all others in the great beyond, are all bright and brimming tabula rasa in the great book of US. We are the pure pages used to chart the future chapters of exploration and discovery. We are all of us blessedly endowed with a foreign ignorance from which each and every one of us will derive a story, something unique and grand and severed free from the constraints of a collective citizenry, and that because of its freedom, will be embraced instead as a piece of personal history, whose true content might forever lie veiled, but whose influence will reside forever within the confines of our US Book.

In a sense, ignorance, my most esteemed friends, will be your greatest ally. Take heart when its clutches threaten to sink you. There’s no real threat here—only the prelude to a greater knowledge.

Cheers to you, and to all your undying days!

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