Hello ALL! Or shall I say Ahoj, Bonjour, Hallo, Guten Tag, or Ciao? Why you might wonder?! Because a week from today I will be departing the States to spend three wonderful months in Europe! I will land in the beautiful city of Prague, which is a part of the Czech Republic, and where I will be living and studying International Social Work & Human Rights for a month. While I am staying in Prague I plan to travel to Paris, Berlin, Nuremberg and Amsterdam on the weekends. Following my studies in Prague, I will be au pairing with a lovely American military family that is stationed in the white wine country of Germany! The woman that I will be living with is an absolute doll and I can already tell that we have SO much in common, not only is she a yoga teacher but a Gemini like myself as well! She has two adorable little girls who are two and four that I will be helping her take care of during the week. That leaves the weekends for me to continue my travels to where ever my heart wanders! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect plan and journey that lies ahead.
These past few months have been a whirlwind and quite a transition period as well as I have graduated from college, celebrated my twenty-first birthday and struggled to keep my feet on the ground with all of the activities that have continued to fall into place. So I apologize for my lack of writing as of late. I can remember being a senior in high-school anxiously awaiting graduation and touring my college for the first time. I told my dad “I want to study abroad” and he said, “Okay.” Then I found myself freshman year overwhelmed with school and phoning my mom to tell her I wanted to “take a break from school and become an au pair.” Yeah, that conversation went over well. Anyways, by sophomore year I told everyone that I was “graduating early and backpacking around Europe.” At the time all of these desires were just dreams, dreams that I had no plan of accomplishing really. Instead, I just put it out there and prayed that maybe someday it would all just miraculously fall into place.
Well, sophomore year turned into junior year and I found myself on track to graduating early. I remember walking to class one morning as fall fell on campus, I walked passed a study abroad brochure and was temped to pick it up but shrugged it off instead thinking that it was last years edition. Then it grabbed my attention again and something seemed to urge me to pick it up, so I reluctantly did hoping to prove myself right. WRONG, it was the new edition and I opened the page to “Prague”. Now, I’ve never seen nor heard of Prague really but when I saw those six letters something inside of me just knew that I was supposed to go there. So I continued to read about the new program in Prague that planned to launch in July of 2013. We would be studying Human Rights & Social Work experientially, and visit addiction clinics and prisons. I though to myself, “This is right up my alley” as I was planning to apply to graduate school in Mental Health Counseling the following year. Additionally, my senior philosophy seminar was on Human Rights and I uncovered a passion that I hadn’t known existed. Prague would be the perfect experience for me to continue to explore my newfound passion for Human Rights and Social Justice.
I didn’t know at the time that I was following what now feels like a path that was planned for me. A few months later, after applying and being accepted into the program in Prague, I attended a Psychology Graduate School Fair. I arrived late right before my other class, so I only had a few minutes to visit only one table before they closed down. So I said a quick prayer to myself and simply asked God to guide me to whichever table that I was supposed to talk to. I sat down at the Social Work table. At the time I had no idea about Social Work and had my heart set on Mental Health Counseling at a college that was closer to home, so I sort of shrugged the interaction off. It wasn’t until I came home for winter break following my fall semester and talked to my friends father, who attended the Mental Health program that I was planning to pursue, that I began to take the idea of Social Work seriously. He told my that while he enjoyed the masters program in Mental Health Counseling, his only regret was that he hadn’t received his masters in Social Work instead. Now, if these weren’t coincidences than I didn’t know what was.
So I began to open myself to the idea of a Masters in Social Work, and before I knew it I came to realize that the school I was currently attending for my undergraduate degree offered a Masters degree in Social Work! Not only that, but they offered a distance learning degree at the college that I was planning to attend for Mental Health Counseling that was closer to home! As I researched Social Work, I soon to be realize that this was the perfect profession for me, as it would offer me to be both a therapist and an advocate. The two careers that I have been conflicted between were therapy and law. My senior philosophy seminar on Human Rights made me realize that I wanted to be a Human Rights Advocate, and therapy is something I have always felt drawn to. Becoming a social worker would allow me to be both! SCORE!
As if the synchronistic events ceased there, soon I came to find that the Social Work courses offered in Prague were offered at the undergraduate and graduate level without a cost difference. If I took the two courses at the graduate level then they could transfer over toward my Masters degree and I could save myself I semester of graduate school. The process for an undergraduate to take graduate level courses is tedious and required me to travel all over kingdom kong and get three different signatures in order to get approved. By the time I was able to go through the motions to do so I was running out of time, and my window to transfer courses was due to transpire within twenty-four hours. So I continued to collect signatures only to come to a few dead ends, as my instructor wasn’t even on campus and my advisors hours were ending early that day. Miraculously enough however, I was able to attain the advisor’s permission at the graduate school. From there she continued to tell me that she could just transfer me into the classes herself and avoid the hassle of running all over campus. However, when she went to transfer me there was a hold on my account from the funds that wouldn’t transfer until I was in Prague. So she waited patiently while the financial aid office transferred me to international programs who then had to temporarily lift the hold on my account so that this kind women could finally place me into graduate level courses. I felt like fate was finally falling into place.
The moral of this story is simple, don’t be afraid to dream big dreams because if you’re falling your hearts desires there will always be a way. Even if you can’t see how all of the puzzle pieces are going to fall into place, take chances on the moments in life where something grabs your attention and just “feels right.” Logically these feelings won’t make much sense to you in the moment, but down the road the puzzle pieces all seem to fall into place in the end and you’ll be glad you take advantage of every opportunity along the way. At the time I applied to study abroad, I had no idea how I was going to afford it. My family’s finances were tight at the time and I was still living on a student’s budget. Honestly, there were times that I didn’t think it would happen and I would tell my dad that I didn’t have to go. I hate to put pressure on my family when they already do so much for me. Thankfully, the finances all fell into place at last minute and I’m now a week away from my departure. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to have such an experience. I’m doing everything that I said I would do over the past three years, I’m studying abroad, backpacking Europe and being an au pair! I guess this all goes to show that when you have a dream and you hold on to that vision, anything can happen despite all of the odds in your favor.