Cherry Creek High School: home of the Bruins, two past Cultural Routes travelers, and now a future one.
It is still so surreal to me that in less than 100 days I will be in Berlin, Germany on CR9. For me the question “why Cultural Routes” goes hand in hand with “why TCU?” I have had the opportunity and privilege of watching two incredible women choose TCU, thrive on campus, and travel to Europe on Cultural Routes. I have known Brooke Arnold for a very long time. Brooke, a member of CR7, has been one of my older sister’s best friends for the past six years. During this time, I have grown extremely fond of Brooke and, I admit, her constant raving and praise of TCU is what sold me on committing to TCU my senior year of high school. The thing that caught my attention the most whenever she talked about her freshman year was some amazing, unexplainable, life-changing trip she went on called Cultural Routes. TCU quickly rose to the top of my list of prospective colleges and I have had my eye on Cultural Routes ever since. Meanwhile, another Cherry Creek alumni was preparing to move to Fort Worth and start her journey at TCU. Just ten months later Jane Lynch was in Europe on CR8 having the time of her life. Brooke and Jane played a huge role in bringing me to TCU and helping me apply to Cultural Routes. After hearing how extraordinary, genuine, and impactful CR was in both of their lives I knew that there was nothing more I wanted than to experience Cultural Routes for myself. And now here I am. The day I found out that I would be a part of Cultural Routes 9, Brooke and Jane came to my house to surprise me and they told me about the incredible journey I am about to begin. I am beyond grateful and honored to be a part of this amazing group and I plan of making the absolute most of every second that I am in Europe.
I am most excited to explore Rome. Besides the fact that I LOVE gelato and all forms or pasta, Italy has always been interesting to me. To be completely honest, after watching “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” as a kid I desperately desired to go to Rome, stand in the Coliseum, and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. I thought I would get the chance to finally see what dreams are made of when my family traveled to Europe when I was in middle school, but, tragically, I did not take advantage of the time we spent there. Rome was our last stop during the trip, much like Cultural Routes, and I practically slept through all of Rome on the second floor of those big, red, double decker tour busses. Even though I did get to stand in the Coliseum and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, I did not truly experience Rome. I cannot wait to take in every aspect of the intricate architecture and artwork, learn about the rich Roman history, and walk until I can’t feel my feet anymore. I will not make the same mistakes this time around.
I am in a constant state of feeling like I am about to go over the edge on a rollercoaster whenever I think about Cultural Routes; it’s a feeling of excitement and nervousness and anxiousness. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to go on this trip. I frequently find myself day dreaming about our group in Europe with a smile on my face, but then a couple minutes later my stomach dropped and I am overcome with nerves. Physically, CR is going to test me. Hearing that we will walk approximately 250 miles in Europe alone definitely makes me nervous. But mostly, I am nervous that I will be completely unaffected by this experience. Past CR students always say how life changing this trip can be and how it has affected many aspects of who they are and how they live. I am afraid that my introverted tendencies will take over and keep me from being vulnerable with the group and from having that life changing experience for myself. Along with this, I heavily rely on alone time to rejuvenate and maintain my outgoing, bubbly personality. Tight quarters and long days together will definitely limit if not completely eliminate my much needed alone time. I hope that this trip allows me to grow in this aspect through helping me to rely more on the people around me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Despite all the nerves and uncertainties associated with Cultural Routes, I am BEYOND EXCITED to travel to Europe with some of my best friends, current and future. I am excited to see where this trip takes me. I don’t know how and I don’t know in what way, but I do know that Cultural Routes is designed to foster growth and develop deep, genuine relationships. I am so eager to see how this experience will shape me and mold me. I am excited to get lost in Europe, hear people’s stories, form friendships that will last a lifetime, travel through some of the most beautiful and interesting countries in the world, eat more pasta than I could ever dream of, develop a trusting and genuine relationship with one of the most well respected professors on campus, stand on top of Europe, hang glide over Interlaken, walk until my feet fall off, see if the night train lives up to the hype, and eat lots and lots of gelato. I am at the point where I no longer want to hear stories about CR from the alumni because it makes me sad that I’m not already there. I fully expect to be pushed and challenged like never before on Cultural Routes. I plan to seize every moment, opportunity, and late night adventure that comes my way and conquer the challenges that are thrown at me. I am proud and honored to follow in Brooke and Jane’s footsteps and cannot wait to embark on this journey, embrace the full immensity of the trip, and leave my own legacy on Cultural Routes. HERE I COME EUROPE!!!!!!!!!!