eight months (a wee bit early)

(This blog is a few days early because tomorrow morning I head out for EuroTour.)

I was talking with one of my friends the other day about my exchange and how I sometimes wondered if I had made the right decision. I sometimes think that I should be at home taking a bunch of AP classes, taking the ACT, volunteering, beefing up my college applications. My friend mentioned that he thought maybe it would be better for me to just have been here for five months. He said that (based on my blog) I seemed happier then, and then I could go home and get a jump on things that I was worried about but couldn’t do anything about here.

I disagreed.

Near the end of our conversation my friend also mentioned the phrase Dream Big, Work Harder. We laughed because it’s such a cliche, but at the end of the day we both knew he was right.

I have dreamt fairly big for someone my age. And I have worked very hard. At the surface, exchange students tend to look like wealthy kids who wanted a vacation for a year. That may be true for some people, but that’s not me. I worked for this exchange, the same way I have made the effort to go on EuroTour (and look, I’m leaving tomorrow.)

I am very proud of myself and where I am based on the amount of work that I put into it. I understand that I am not entitled to any of this. This experience was most certainly not handed to me, and I’m happy that it wasn’t.

When I get back home there is going to be a lot of work to be done. I have goals and dreams to accomplish there, and I am not someone to be disappointed. I will have time then. I do not need to waste the time I have earned with foolish thoughts like, “Well will this school accept me without AP Psychology?”

For anyone trying to become an exchange student, understand that it could very easily be hard work. You may have to sacrifice graduating with your class, time spent with friends because you need to work, and millions of things in between, but genuinely every moment is worth it.

I’d like to thank everyone (again) who helped me get to where I am today. Hard work is easier with a good support team. I’d also like to thank Honza for giving me the opportunity to see my exchange from another perspective. (Good luck on Maturita.) 🙂

Gotta go pack now 😉

But one quick story…

In the Czech Republic students who are graduating are in what is called “Maturita.” Maturita refers to kind of the whole process of graduating which is a bit too complicated to explain. But, what is easy to explain is “poslední zvonění” or “last bell.” The Maturita students finish school before all the other students, and so they are officially done with normal lessons now. On their last day of school, they dress up in costumes (usually with a common theme) and then go out asking around for money (they buy their teachers presents). If you give them money, you get some kind of mark. I know a lot of people in Maturita, so this was my face for the whole day…

poslední zvoněníI got a lot of funny looks in the grocery store later that day… Good luck to all the Maturita kids on all of your big tests. Hope to see you all (at least) one more time before I go home. 😀

Now I really gotta go pack.