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Opinion

Mind races without any reason

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February 7, 2008

First day of school, no problem. I have done that well over 15 times in my life. What does one bring to school? Notebook, check. Pen, check. Backpack, check. Colored pencils, check. Textbooks, oh, I guess I forgot all about those. Add that to the list of things to do.

Shoes, coffee, keys and I am out the door.

Walking to school I realize that it has been about nearly eight months since the last time I attended a class, much less been inside a classroom. Realizing that I am walking towards campus with no academic building in destination, I stop in at the library to find out on eSIS as well as brace myself for a semester of class work.

During my fall semester in Europe there were no classes to attend or homework due at the end of the week. Few deadlines and one extensive paper on the topic of my choice was all the work that the semester entailed.

With travel time and exciting new adventures around each and every corner, I have trouble understanding why every student doesn’t do college this way.

Now the Semester Abroad: Europe 2007 group has returned home to River Falls from their glorious lives across the sea. Culture shock reversed hits hard in addition to the monotonous, “How was Europe?” question that floods my ears.

The difficult part about traveling throughout Europe, hands down, no contest, not even a runner-up, has been the return home. The rush, the adrenaline, the drive to see the world and learn even more than expected through the amazing act of travel comes to a halt once one is tossed back into a routine of work and school.

My mind continues to race without any trains to catch or hostels to book, and the thrill of linguistics becomes dull. Meeting a person in the U.S. who does not speak fluent Midwestern English is a delight.

“Brace yourself,” I say to my distant mind. Now is the time to embrace the opportunity that I so impulsively took advantage of. Take in the wonderful things that small town America River Falls has to offer. Quaint Main Street, a beautiful Wisconsin river, an awesomely active and involved community and friends that you will not find anywhere else in the any corner of the world, have been ever prominent during my recuperating J-term.

Returning home from a four-month adventure has taught me that as long as I retain these experiences, memories, languages and achievements in my exceedingly nostalgic mind then my very life will be the essential reminder of how phenomenal it is to just be alive.

So life continues with or without me there. I might as well attend since it’s been fun so far. Classes? I might as well attend those as well since I am paying for them.

Shouldn’t we all live by the idea that we would not be doing something that we do not wish to do? Apparently I came back to River Falls to attend more classes for some reason.

Maybe there’s a reason for the colored pencils as well.
 
-Teresa is a journalism major and a geography minor in her senior year.  She enjoys kangaroo burgers and creating pretty maps.

Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.