I am currently in my 5th year at the University of Calgary. I thought I had done it all, completed ELP & SLP, joined clubs, and be orientation leader. Despite all my annual extracurricular activities there was still one thing I had not done, travel. I’ve met many wonderful people during the course of my time at the U of C, yet there are some people who leave this lasting impression on me. These are people who invariably end up talking about travel. Their eyes light up and words spill out rapidly; it’s hard not to see how powerful the experience was for them. Over the years, I’ve perfected a rationalization, an excuse, a well-constructed argument to counter with whenever one of these travel people suggested I should go out and explore the world.
Most of my traveling has been limited to areas in and around mountains
Depending on my mood I’ll begin with explanations of how rooted I am to Calgary or begin to theorize why people who love to travel are actually just participating in a very expensive form of escapism. The reality is that I am pretty rooted here in Calgary. I have all my classes on Tuesday and Thursday, this affords me extra time for work and soccer. I currently manage/coach/play on my men’s soccer team and play on a coed team. While I might not take 5 classes every semester I manage to keep myself just as busy or busier if I would have. Soccer often holds me back from seriously considering things like travel, as it’s simply not an option to leave for a while. A men’s soccer team is more like a team of small children, but without the parents to drive them everywhere and force them to be on time. Now that I’m in my 5th year the pressure to graduate is starting to mount.
Sometimes it’s tempting just to throw it all away
Every time I have a social gathering with close friends or family, I usually hear some variation of the question: “When are you going to graduate?” Unfortunately, I am not as well prepared for this question as I am for others, like travel. My current pace is a result of 5 years of calibration: more courses = less grades and happiness. Fewer courses = higher grades, and happiness. It’s a highly scientific formula that I’ve perfected and yet this year has been different. I am taking a 4th class this semester for the first time in years. My desire to perform in my classes is strong and I’ve heard enough questions about graduation. It’s time for me to bring the passion I have for soccer and the gym to the classroom.
It’s time to sit down, shut up and learn something.
While sitting in my Canadian Studies lecture I was informed that a professor would be pitching a study abroad program. I leaned back in my chair and waited, I’ve heard my fair share of these programs. The program being featured is the Ireland, Myth Art & History. It sounded decent enough but I dismissed it in my mind, lamenting that the cost and the time commitment would be too prohibitive. The presenter, Dr. Glenn Wilkinson then proceeded to pass out pamphlets to interested students, of which I was determined not to be one. Yet before I knew it the stack of pamphlets was pressed into my hands and I grabbed one off the pile. I quickly browsed through the info, 3 half courses completed, reasonable cost and only 3 weeks, in May no less. If I ever had a slack month, it would be May; indoor soccer is finished and outdoor hasn’t started. I was intrigued, the trip sounded promising and everything else seemed to line up. The seed had been planted.
This has seeds. Get it? Pic related to previous selection of text.
During the next few hours and even days the idea of this trip became more palpable. The courses sounded awesome, they fit my major and they would accelerate my graduation. The timing was right and the experience sounded amazing. For the first time in my life, I accepted and even embraced the idea of travel. This was something I could do; this is something that could change my life.
Just like a well timed hair cut.