Step Up and Step Out

When I signed up to study abroad with the JSB program two summers ago I had no idea how much the experience would affect me. Whenever I thought of the program I would mainly think of traveling around Europe, potentially making new friends, and how it would be the best summer of my life. However, something that I never anticipated is how the program contributes to one’s personal growth and acceptance of themselves, while also learning how to function and interact with a diverse group of people. 

Throughout the past nine weeks I have been living alongside 21 girls, all from different backgrounds with different personalities, and together we have seen eachother’s highs and lows and how each person handles a stressful situation differently. We have been one another’s confidants and biggest cheerleaders and I have never felt more encouraged and supported than I have throughout the JSB program.

Now that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, we are humans. There are tiffs here and there, but by the end of the day we all realize that we see one another in an environment and in situations that not even our own mothers have witnessed us in. Therefore we have become one another’s support systems to make our remaining time here enjoyable and memorable.

This past summer has been one focused on growth and finding confidence within myself and my actions. It may sound cliché, but when I return home in a few short weeks I will be returning as a new person. Now I don’t mean someone with a completely different personality, but someone who is more confident in herself and her actions and won’t shy away from the challenges that she will face for the rest of her life. From this point on I’ll take these stressful situations and think back on this summer and remember how I traveled the world, made new friends, and had the best summer of my life. Through it all, I faced triumphs and failures to take the person I was and create a better version of who I am today.

Love, Janie

A picture of me taken in Mykonos as I was laughing at the funny and positive comments the girls were saying to make me feel comfortable in front of the camera.