by LAURA SANCHEZ, Opinions Editor 

Valencia, Spain

As I’m sitting down to write my last column of this school year, I can’t help but think of the crazy ride of a year this has been. Aside from that, I also can’t stop thinking about my soon trip to study abroad in Spain. I can’t stop Googling images of Valencia and researching flight fares and sighing at the exorbitant fares to get there. My mind is stuck in two directions; it’s being nostalgic about this past year but it’s also whirring with excitement and thrill about the next four months.

I started last fall semester with high expectations and goals for myself for junior year, and I think I can be honest with myself and say that I exceeded everything. But at the same time, I don’t think that I could have planned this out as well as it occurred. Even my planning-minded persona has shifted into a more accommodating, slightly more spontaneous self. I’ve learned to let it all (mostly) flow, and take things how they come, and accept it all.

During this past year, I’ve worked diligently here at The Michigan Journal and tried to push out articles week after week. I’ve taken on an internship. I’ve been involved with a couple of other student organizations. I’ve gained so many new friendships. I’ve been on Alternative Spring Break. It’s been a crazy year, and I’m so happy that I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone to let this all happen. I’ve also tried to develop more of a voice for myself in order to exalt my passions into the world. But best of all, I think that I’ve finally discovered what I want to do with my life. I’ve always known that I want to help people in the best way possible, but now I know that I love the community approach of building bridges to go places. I’m now 90 percent sure that I want to go into the social work field of community organizing – but now the future all hinges on the scary aspects of deciding whether I want to get into a graduate program right after I graduate, or wait a bit before making an ultimate, life-changing career decision.

I’ve been so busy these past few months and hadn’t really considered my future on a short-term scale. I was thinking about everything that had to get done before the semester ended, and I was also busy focusing on my long-term goals that I forgot that I still had summer to plan. So, super last-minute, I decided to study abroad in Spain. I’ve decided to go to Mexico for a bit to visit my family. I’ve decided to attend a conference in Maryland about women leaders on college campuses. This all seemed so abstract when I started to make these decisions, but now as the semester is ending and everything is getting closer, it’s all becoming much more real in my head. Now come the boring parts of booking flights and figuring out logistics, but the fun parts of going shopping with my mom for all these events.

The future is still so scary and uncertain, but I’m glad that I have the next four months to hold on to before I’m unleashed on the unsettling waters of senior year. I have a couple of trips to look forward to. I have the knowledge that I can take a deep breath of fresh air on the Mediterranean to take my worries and fears away for a little bit. I’m going to use this summer to gain some culture and language skills and eat delicious paella and sunbathe. I think I need this breather before the ultimate test of senior year. My planning-oriented mind is still uneasy about my spontaneity regarding my summer plans, but is also happy at the prospect of taking it easy for a little bit. Sooner or later, it’ll be another fall semester, and it’ll start gearing up and whirring again, ready for the next battle: preparing for graduation and beyond.