I traveled from New Hampshire to Auburn, Alabama for college and it was the best decision of my life. Getting out of my small, northern town and moving to the south has changed me as a person and I full heartedly could not be happier being an Auburn student. Since I so easily transitioned from high school to college, I really thought traveling might be my type of thing, and that I should continue to seek out travel opportunities. Therefore, I signed up for the JSB program quite quickly after just learning about it. I did not do much research on the actual program, just looked at the papers and the social media and thought I have to sign up since it involves traveling. For the past two years I have told everyone I am studying abroad in Italy and the way it amazed people made me feel good. I think the idea of studying abroad in Italy turned out to be better than the actual experience itself.
I have quickly learned that traveling may not actually be my thing. I realized that maybe I just was a southern girl at heart that was born in the north and that does not mean I can easily adjust to moving across the world. The first three weeks of this semester, I cried every day. I was constantly picking up on the bad parts of each day and complaining to my parents back home. Auburn is my happy place and I would be lying to say that most of the time I don’t wish I was there instead.
The third day of our week stay in Sicily was my social media takeover. For the days leading up to it, I joked around about my introduction video and goofy posts to make on the account, but I really was just planning on doing the normal takeover like everyone else. The morning of my takeover, I logged into the account and I thought to myself, ‘Who cares?’. I decided to let loose, not care what people think, and really just have fun with it. So, I filmed a goofy video, and throughout the day had fun laughing with friends, thinking of funny posts, and really never stopped smiling all day.
That night I realized that that was by far the best day yet this semester, despite not doing anything wildly exciting, it was all due to my attitude. I learned a big lesson that day about how simply just smiling will make the day better, because attitude and perspective can change a whole experience. I did not cry a drop that week in Sicily and want to continue having a good attitude even if things are not going my way, I’m not interested in class topics, or if I am homesick. Therefore, as Annie once said, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” and I want to live by that quote for the rest of my time here as a favor to myself to try to be happy no matter the circumstances!
Here’s to my old & many new friends along this journey with me that make it easy to find reasons to smile.