Going abroad would entail that your freshman year of college would undoubtedly be one of the most transformative years of your life. You will be forced to examine what you are, stripped away of the support systems of home. You will miss the comfort of home. You will see that it is a daunting world outside of your nest, and it will be scary before it gets comfortable. Adjusting takes longer than you think it would, and even realizing that will take a while.
I started off my journey abroad with a real frenzy – desperate for new sights and new people, amused by new environments and the smell of freedom in the air; no parents, no restrictions, everything shiny and new. I shifted priorities and reveled in the opportunity to spend as much time as I wanted with my friends. Admitting that I was confused about my major, I took a Philosophy course and took full advantage of the freedom I had.
But as the second semester started, the allure of freedom subsided, and the hard questions stared at me in the face. Why am I here, and what sort of impact do I want to make in the world? What am I truly passionate about? I used to think I knew the answers in high school, but I was wrong. Going away from everything you thought you knew is what truly forces you to discover your true motivations in life. Coming abroad has forced me to be honest with myself. Starting anew, away from the pressure – or comfort – of peers, teachers, and family who held certain ideals unique to the environment you grew up in is the true test. You’ll be surprised to discover what aspects of your personality or your passions can stand by themselves in a completely new environment. Change is hard, change is uncomfortable, but it’s also inevitable. Welcome it as a part of journeying into your self. You’re sure to come out of it more sure of yourself.
Sometimes I wonder why no one had warned me about how difficult and painful self-discovery would be - how alone, you must wallow in confusion before you can find the answers within yourself. Then I realize that this is something that has to be experienced; the words “self-discovery” and “finding yourself” don’t cut it, it’s only when you’re alone, far away from home, that you can see for yourself the rockiness of this journey. It will be hard and painful. There will be times where the confusion will devour you from within. However, the harder you struggle, the truer the answers that you’ll eventually attain – and you will see that nothing has ever been so self-reassuring.
Moonie Sohn graduated from International School Manila in 2013. She now attends New York University Abu Dhabi as a member of the class of 2017.