Returning to "Real School"

February 10, 2014

I must admit that I've kind of been dreading getting back into a real semester after a eight months of summer, a semester abroad and January term. 

School in Ecuador didn't feel real while I was there. La Universidad de San Francisco looked like vacation land - green lawns, lakes with fountains, classic European-style buildings, statues...And to be honest, I spent much of my time chatting with friends and meeting new people. The bulk of work while there didn't come until the last couple of weeks. No wonder it didn't feel like real school...

20-page essays, 100-page-long readings and 45-minute presentations flooded my mind as I thought back to a stressful spring semester...So you can see why returning to a full course load at Luther seemed daunting. 

But you'll be happy to know that so far, it's been a smooth transition. Sure, I miss sprawling out on the lawn, catching up with my Ecuadorian friends and jamming to Reggeaton. But it's wonderful to be pushed academically again. (I'm challenged in a different way: Where as before I had to stay extremely attentive in class as to not miss any of the Spanish words, and now I have more demanding days, with more places to be, and more assignments to complete.) Luckily, I thrive most when I'm busy - always having something to do gives my life purpose. 

I'm also happy to say that this is not a particularly demanding semester, as I am taking all courses in my fields of study (3 Social Work courses and 1 Spanish seminar) and none of them have really taken off yet. 

What my time in Ecuador has done is to always leave time to try new things. While there, that meant taking trips, learning to dance salsa, trying different food, going to markets. Here at Luther, that translates to attending lectures, shows, and keeping up with what's going on in Decorah. I realize now that going to class and studying are only the bare minimum - the base to my education. Going above and beyond to do more are what's going to enrich and diversify my time here. Interesting how I never thought I'd have time for those things, and now that I attend them, I still find time to do everything else!

This weekend, for instance, I watched the "Africa Choir" sing and reflect on their Jterm trip to South Africa, along with Symphony, who played lots of adorable Russian pieces. It made my weekend so much more interesting, and it took so little effort!

If you pay just an inch of attention to what's going on on campus, you will realize just how much there is to do on campus, and never get bored! Most importantly, it will make your time at Luther so much more memorable.

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