Cole Taylor is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing their story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism and media writing major at Lasell College, they are studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In their first post as a CAPA blogger, Cole tells us the story of how they realized their dream to study abroad in Ireland!
There were countless tables piled with pamphlets, books and free pens. The excitement of the potential trip of a lifetime hovered over me. I was an undergrad at the University of Southern Maine at the time.
I walked back to my dorm room with a free bag full of study abroad information; mostly for Ireland, my dream destination. I flipped through the information booklets for weeks getting myself amped up. The only obstacle between me and Ireland was my GPA. I struggled to maintain a 3.0. My priorities were not in order and I lost focus.
I was lost and felt as though I had no direction, resulting in semester leave. The struggle to find a balance was my enemy; to maintain my responsibilities and still have attainable dreams. I took a year and a half to try and figure it out. In that year and a half, I was a full time employee designing kitchens at an independent lumber company in southern Maine. I never saw myself stepping away from school after a short amount of time. I never saw myself designing kitchens, but the door opened so I took a chance.
Between my first year of college and the time I was away, I learned more about life and who I am than during any education I have ever received. I made mistakes. I suffered the repercussions. I failed. Above all though, I got back up. I brushed myself off and I strived for bigger things.
I researched, I planned, I made phone calls and completed applications. On December 23, 2013 I opened a very important piece of mail; my acceptance letter to Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. Excitement, anxiety, and relief flooded through my veins. I proved several people wrong when I took it upon myself to go back to school and work toward a degree in what I love to do: write.
My first year at Lasell was incredible to say the least. I was placed with an awesome roommate; I got hired halfway through the year as a RA; I was accepted as a Peer Health Educator, and for the first time in my life I made Dean’s List.
I remember it was a Tuesday. I was assigned to write a paper about study abroad so I attended the Study Abroad Fair to interview students, Global Ambassadors, and professionals who could contribute to my project. I had no intentions of leaving with a single pamphlet. I left with several.
Study abroad was back on my radar. It was a dream of mine that I could not just forget or ignore. My grades were finally in place and my priorities were in line. I knew it would be difficult to arrange my schedule in order to graduate on time and study abroad, but I made an appointment with my advisor and we spent hours figuring it out. She wanted me to study abroad. She did not want to see me brush this kind of goal under the rug.
I cannot begin to explain the amount of time and effort it took to make it all possible, but we were diligent. I was diligent.
Here I am over a year later and only one week out from embarking on the unforgettable journey from Maine to Ireland. I made it. Not only did I make it, but I made it possible by changing my attitude, prioritizing, staying conscientious of my finances, going the extra mile with academics, and pushing myself as an individual.
I chose to study abroad because I have a passion for travelling and immersing myself in different cultures. I want to see the world. I am a dream chaser.
At first I only chose Ireland because of the movies P.S. I Love You and Made of Honor, but my reasons developed over time. While I was still completely intrigued by the scenery, I grew interested in the history, the people, and the way of life. I have been reading about Ireland since I was 16-years-old and it has only gotten more enticing.
Now that my dream is a reality, I have several thoughts racing in my mind. In under a week, I will be landing in Ireland. I am not quite sure what to expect other than pure excitement and maybe an ounce of fear that I need to navigate myself and adapt to a whole new culture. Being said, I see that as an adventure in itself and I am going to embrace it with an open mind.
My clothes are scattered in our guest room waiting to be packed in my suitcase using the strategy of Tetris. The important documents I need to travel with are tucked neatly into a manila folder. My new boots are broken in. The physical things are in order, but my mind is floating around wondering what this is going to be like. Who will I be when I return?
I will miss my home, family and friends, but I am ready to see the world.
Dublin, Ireland, I am coming for you.
Food for thought: Any dream is attainable.
Cole's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.