I’ve had an idea of what I was going to write in my last pre-CR blog for about a week. I had planned to write this dramatic, angsty post about how I had expected freshman year to be full of solutions to my problems, but instead it left me with even more questions about who I am, questions that I wanted CR to answer. And while all of that is still relevant, today something hit me. I was at Albertson’s buying gummy worms and root beer (getting in shape for the summer!) when the song “New Soul” by Yael Naim—one of my all time favorites—came on over the intercom. And as it played, the words “making every possible mistake”, repeated in every chorus, really stuck out to me.
I think that both freshman year and CR can be summed up by that one line: “making every possible mistake”. I expected my nine months in Milton to be a magical adventure filled with easy self-growth, incredible happiness, and a sitcom ending, but they weren’t. This year was over-the-top amazing, but it was equally hard. And the reason it was so hard is that I made a lot of mistakes. I was a bad friend, I acted without thinking, I worried about silly things, and got angry at some of my problems instead of solving them. But at the same time, I watched someone get handcuffed at the Lincoln Memorial, went to WinStar Casino during dead days, and got stranded at a date night with one friend, two random frat boys, and way too much homework I should have been doing. All of those things were mistakes too. But I wouldn’t trade any of the mistakes I made this year, the entertaining or the hard ones, because I think both the laughs and the tears of freshman year helped me grow from a sarcastic, clueless 18 year old into a still sarcastic, but much more authentic 19 year old.
And now, bringing it back to CR: my goal for all of us is that in less than 48 hours from now when we get on planes and head to Tegel Airport we are prepared to make every possible mistake. In the next three and a half weeks, we are all going to be bad friends at times, or worry about silly things. But we’re also going to get lost in incredible cities and find adventures that we never could have if we hadn’t made the mistake of going left instead of right or stopped to talk to a street vendor with a story to tell. What gives this trip the potential to be great is human error: the ways we’ll fail each other and grow from it, and the unique qualities and ideas that each one of us brings to this group. On that note, one of the most important things I think we should try to remember is that this trip is about all of us. Earlier this semester, a CR7 member told me that even if I have a bad day on the trip and I’m not feeling it, I need to still attack the day with as much passion and positivity as I can because that day might be really important for someone else, and it would be selfish of me to take away from that. We’re all going to be tired and cranky at times, but I think if we took that advice to heart, it would be a cool way to stay reminded of how to best embrace this incredible opportunity and make every day of CR the best it can be. After all, we only get 25 of them.
I’m scared for this trip. I’m not sure what it will be like to travel with so many incredible and strong personalities, and I don’t want my experience to be any different from the other 15 students’ just because Dr. Pitcock is my father. I want to get to know him as a professor and for him to get to know me as a student, and for me to be able to really be myself around the rest of you. I’m not too worried about that because my personality is pretty in-your-face, but I also don’t want my relationship with Dr. P on this trip to be any different than the one he has with anyone else. Of course, he’s still my dad, but Dr. P is the one who’s made Cultural Routes the phenomenal experience it is today, and Dr. P is the one I want to get to know better, right alongside everyone else.
And so, as I sit here in my bed watching Big Little Lies and enjoying the last stages of denial before I have to start packing, I’d like to ask all of CR9 one final question: Are we ready to start making mistakes?
Until Berlin…peace out.