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How I made the ‘Biggest Decision of my life’..

Everyone makes this big deal out of deciding your college major. Saying things like this decision will dictate the rest of your life. Acting like its a choice which will choose your future path. Really though, it itsn’t that big of a deal. While giving you information, in the long run all you are getting is some skills that could be put towards a specific field.

I choose biochemistry as my major for a couple of reasons. For one, I loved biology and general chemistry. But those are the most popular science majors and if you want to set yourself apart you have to choose something different. This led me to looking at the molecular biosciences track. The benefit of this path, is that it covers everything below it. What that means is the more specialized you are the more options you have. I took advantage of this with my decision in biochemistry. To study this dicipline, you have to take classes in biology, chemisty, organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Which benifits me because I can find a job in any of those highly specialized fields.

But that isn’t all. Just because you choose to do something like hard sciences does not mean you can’t find a job in a different field. What people don’t tell you is that a bachelors degree is almost a standard degree. All it tells employers, is that you have the base set of skills required to perform a job. What you do with that information is up to you. Every student is required to take standard general education requirements. A way to build off of that information, is to find an internship or a job where you focus on those skills.  There is also the option of getting a certificate in a field of your choosing. This opens the door to using your degree and the certificate to study what you would like before going into a new field of your choosing.

The downside to all of this is that while getting your degree you at the mercy of the schedule of classes. For me, I couldn’t study abroad until senior year, and I had to take another year of classes. I also had to pay for the broad range of employment options with a difficult class load. This isn’t that big of a deal, but it was annoying to have my life dictated for the last 4 years. In parting, it wasn’t that big of a decision, the choice is whether you will chase that path of your degree or reach for something else. Life is never decided by one choice.

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I decided to work in a lab to fullfil my degree options, but I also volunteer with the elderly and low income. I got a job where I had the opportunity to build a grant aid program and help students of color and low income stay in college. This has led to my goal of helping others and eventually will get me a job serving people in my community. While no where near my field of study, it is an area I am passionate about and am working towards thriving in. It shows you build your future and nothing is ever set in stone.

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Stress please, thank you.

A few days ago I recieved my acceptance letter for my study abroad. Of course, this happened in the middle of my finals and after that my desire to study was non existant. Being the trooper I am, I pushed to finish and hopefully passed. Along with this going on, I now have a list of everything I need to get done before leaving. Did anyone know you have to have insurance that works overseas in order to get a residence visa? Because now I do, regretably. I am trying to keep everything organized by writing it down but there are way to many things on way to much paper!

To even think about moving, I need copies of all of my identifying paperwork. This is everything from my drivers licence and passport to insurance cards and acceptance letters. For some reason, it isn’t just the one copy, but about 4. One to leave home, one for my carry on, one for my luggage, and lastly one for my university. Then I have to figure out all the electronics and how the heck I will power everything. I have to have my laptop, phone, camera, and kindle availible at all times, but my converter only has one port. So I still gotta figure that one out still.. Maybe they have converter extension cords? I still need luggage too. As someone who is fine throwing everything into a large duffle bag, the annoying process of finding and buying expensive (~$200) luggage is annoying. Whats more annoying is carrying a giant bag around though.

I wish I could pack more than I am. One carry on, plus one checked bag is not a lot of room. I get to save some space as I dont need to pack essencials like laundry soap. The lack of room really gets to me when I realize that I will be there from winter until summer and will only have the two bags. So, I think I will pack for spring and hopefully I can layer to make it warmer? Probably a terrible plan as Germany isn’t exactly known for their calm winters. Thankfully you can squeeze a whole lot of leggings into a very small space!

So I also have to convert all of my money to euros.. Not a big deal, except my college is in the middle of nowhere and figuring out bank exchange rates is actually quite annoying. Everyone charges different fees and something like Travelex, while convienent, had charges so high that I was going to lose a large amount of my money. Looking into it, general advice seems to point toward applying for a Chase bank credit card as they do not have foreign transaction fees. Next step, I just have to see if I get approved. Which is, as always, stressful.

Thats my small list of stress for the week! Tune in next time to hear me rant about some other small thing like the lines at christmas time… But oh my god these next few weeks need to slow down!

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It all starts here.

Welcome. 

      To my friends, family, and future friends,

As I prepare to leave the country next month, I wanted to document my headspace starting this journey. Having never left the country, this experience is panic inducing. But, I feel nothing but excitement as I count down the days. I have said so many times that I want to leave the States and have never gotten the chance to go. Whether it be ex-boyfriends, an expensive doggo, or work, there has always been something making me push off my goals. I will never regret my decisions, yet, I can say that there were other options that would have been better for me. Now, being at a point in my life where I have everything I could want, I am finally making my dreams happen. I now have a great partner who supports me. He is willing to watch my dog while I am abroad and hold the fort down at the apartment. He has been my rock through the uncertainty, and having someone I can trust is worth everything. I was also able to get scholarships, to fund my trip making it possible. Plus, I have an amazing job that fulfills me and makes me ready to take on such unknowns. The cards fell perfectly, and it is time for me to go. 

 

Starting January 21st, I will be flying into the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris before heading straight to the banks of the Seine river. The Seine flows through the heart of the city, and has many attractions on its shores that I will make part of my itinerary. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Le Marais, Champs Élysées, and Pont Alexander III have all been planned into my journey and are within a 15 minute walk of my hostel. I plan on going to see as much as I can and everything I have always dreamed of while there. After that week, I will be taking the train to Bremen Germany where I will begin my semester abroad studies at one of the top S.T.E.M. schools in the world. While there, I will attend my classes just like at my university. I will also meet people in my field making valuable contacts for my future career. Exploring Paris, attending school, traveling, I can not believe how lucky I am, and that is not all. Graduating college, traveling Europe, and starting my career are all on the horizon leading to a bright new year.

Seine river, Paris

With the trip and finals going on my schedule is packed. I am trying to get my lease taken over, my bags packed, and my visa prepared. So much is happening in such a short time and it is nothing but thrilling. As we make our way into the holidays, then eventually a new year, I see a world of possibilities.