I’m No Longer Studying In Italy This Summer, But That’s Okay

Last semester, I walked out of my intro to journalism class and straight to the Global Opportunities Office. We had just listened to this speaker – Fred Cook, author of Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO. He’s traveled to countless places in his career, and contributes a lot of his exciting life to travel.

In the short few months that I’ve been a college student, I’ve grown to love writing more and more every day. And every day since his talk I had this urge to really travel. Cook told us that as writers, we can only write as much as the experiences we’re given. If we’re cooped up on our computers all day every day, where will we get inspiration?

His words were what initially led me to apply to study abroad with a small group in Florence this summer. It was a six-week program, so I didn’t have to give up any semesters at my beloved OU, and didn’t have to give up a whole summer of working. And as a plus, I’d get my required foreign language credits. Also a plus, I’d be getting them while literally being in Italy.

On February 9, I received an e-mail saying I was accepted. (And then put down a $500 deposit, bought plane tickets, and enrolled in a half a semester prep class).

On March 17, I received an e-mail saying the program was cancelled.

The professor had had a serious family emergency, and no matter what the family emergency is, my heart goes out to her. I know she was more heartbroken than the participants about having to call the program quits. My condolences go out to her family.

As for my trip, I can’t say that I’m angry that it happened. Because of course, I made efforts to hop into another Italian program this summer, but the time framing and credits offered just didn’t work out in the slightest.

But all these things happened beforehand that I almost feel like were “signs” that this summer in Florence just wasn’t in the cards for me:
-Days after my interview to be considered for the program, there were these issues with paperwork. Basically, if I didn’t sign a paper almost immediately, I couldn’t be considered for the program. I rushed to get that taken care of.
-As mentioned, the program got cancelled because of an urgent emergency that couldn’t have been foreseen in any way.
-In a group meeting to discuss alternatives, the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building and hold the meeting elsewhere.
-Hours before planning to apply to an alternate program, the foreign language class I needed to take filled up.

I’m not going to attribute these misfortunes to being “just my luck.” My life isn’t a continuous downward hill. It’s a roller coaster. Every time one thing knocks me down, some amazing news comes along and sweeps me off my feet. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my 19 years of living, it’s that.

But I absolutely feel like there’s some reason—some buried, far away reason that I haven’t realized yet—that I’m not going to Italy this summer.

Maybe I would have been kidnapped like something out of the movie “Taken”. Maybe while I’m home this summer, I’ll meet someone that will have some connection to my dream job. Or maybe, should I decide to go to next summer’s program, I’ll be in just the right place at the right time for something extraordinary to happen.

The cards may not have fallen the way I wanted them to, but I can’t complain. My home life of babysitting in the morning and hostessing in the evenings certainly isn’t anything like the extravagant summer I would have had sipping wine in Venice, but I’ll live.

Until next time, Florence – arrivederci.

(At least for now.)

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