A Walking Oxymoron…with Goals

So…I am actually going to Europe. This event that I have been talking about non-stop for months is truly happening. For so long, every time I told someone what we were doing or where we were going, it felt more like I was describing someone else’s future than my own, and only since I’ve begun packing has any of it truly hit me. Needless to say, the reality of the situation has finally decided to set in, and with that reality comes a plethora of oxymoronic emotions: anxious excitement, hesitant ecstasy, and fearful adventurousness. At this point, I don’t really know what to feel; all I really know is that, although there are concerns, the joy and anticipation far outweighs them, and I can truly say that I can’t wait until Andrea, Matt, and I touchdown in Berlin!

Having spent so much time anticipating, thinking, and dreaming about this trip, I am of course coming in with goals for myself, as well as the group. The first goal is simple enough, but highly important: to learn about Europe. Anyone can do this by reading a textbook and looking at pictures, but my goal for learning about these remarkable cultures extends beyond this. By learning their history and seeing their sites, I hope that I can understand what made Europe exactly what it is today. Even more importantly, however, by interacting with the people, I hope that I might be able to understand exactly what Europe is today, and what Europe hopes to be in its future. A continent is more that buildings and art and history, but it’s how that history has laid the foundation for those currently living it, and what foundation those currently living it want to lay for those to follow.

The second goal is highly personal: I want to learn to quickly gain comfort and intimacy with those I don’t know very well. From observing the other CR9ers in our meetings and around campus, I am well aware of how truly exceptional the people are with whom I am about to embark on this adventure. What I have yet to figure out, but anxiously await, is just how I’ll fit in to their equation. This of course leaves room for fear of fitting in and making friends, but I also see it as a great opportunity on how to learn the quickest ways to gain intimacy with people, as this is one of the most basic human drives. Furthermore, I see it as a wonderful adventure, as I’ll get to learn about amazing people as I’m in an amazing place, and hopefully I’ll give them the chance to learn about me as well.

My final goal is for all of CR9, and it is easily the most important. I hope that, after our 3.5 weeks together, not a single CR9er comes back to TCU the same person they were when they left. What’s so wonderful about the opportunity we’ve been given is the fact that it can absolutely change our lives for the better. I hope that, through our experiences, conversations, and interactions, each of us will be challenged to change, and accept that challenge. Some of us may become more knowledgeable, while others become more open-minded, more cultured, more ambitious, or just more happy. It is my sincerest hope, however, that every person finds some way in which they are changed for the better. If we can accomplish this, then the trip will most definitely have been a success.

Now I should probably keep packing, I guess. I just want to leave off with a huge thanks to my friends for supporting me and my goals; to Theatre TCU for challenging me every day to not only be a better performer, but more importantly a better, more empathetic, and more enlightened human; and to my amazing parents, who have supported me in everything I’ve ever done, and shown me that being anything less than all-in is truly a waste of your time. Without any of these people, I wouldn’t be going on this adventure, so to you all I am immensely grateful.

Europe… get ready for me!