A Call to Action!

Or, more specifically, a call for all of you to get off your butts.

I say it with love. And a teensy bit of regret, facing as I am the dwindling days of my college career. In seven months I’ll be out in the real world, all the wiser for my time here, and all the more panicked for the prospect of getting a career and stuff. A scary prospect, that. But I’ll be fine – or at least self-deluded enough to sit here and preach to you, ladies and gentleman, about what you should be doing with your time while you’re still here.

In a word: travel. In a couple more: study abroad, and in the most serious set of italics you’ll ever read on this blog: do it.

Seriously, though. In three-ish years here, I’ve left the country three times, and each experience has been one of the absolute best times of my life. One? Honors at Oxford, a summer studying and eating street-side kebabs in an esteemed academic town. Two? Mexico, for two sleepless weeks with my brother, a surprising bonding experience and the first time I could say in twenty years that we were friends. Three? Italy and Eastern Europe, again with family and friends, and again a mind-expanding experience in so many ways.I...don't remember where this is from. Wow.

I’ve just violated the cardinal rule of blogging, here, by talking only about me, me, me, but there’s a reason for it: no matter how long I waxed poetic about each of these trips, no matter how vividly I painted a picture of each incredible experience, it still probably wouldn’t be enough to convince you to do the same. But that’s okay. It’s a natural response to doze off whenever someone breaks out their vacation photos, and I suspect not many people would stick around if all I did was rant about how I spent two hours wiggling and sliding through a pitch-black cave underneath Budapest (it was awesome).

What I can do, however, is encourage you to travel. More specifically, to study abroad, to take advantage of the amazing wealth of programs – and scholarships – OU has to offer for aspiring students. Did you know there are at least 40 English-speaking programs currently open for semester or year-long programs? You might associate study abroad with a glorified opportunity for a language student to brush up his or her skills, but the reality of it is that every student on this campus could capitalize on the experience.

There are plenty of reasons that hold students back from making the plunge, however, each deserving of a separate blog post for discussion. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll tackle those reasons one by one, in a series of wonderfully informative articles that will no doubt establish me as official fanboy of OU’s Education Abroad office for life.

Liverpool - an amazing city known for an amazing band. So much fun to walk through.I don’t mind the title. But until next week, when I can start to earn it, here’s something a little different: a quote from Michael Crichton. I don’t usually throw these things around, but this one is remarkably honest:

“Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am… Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That’s not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating.”

You won’t be going quite so bare-bones through a study abroad program, mind, but dear Michael nails the pains and benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone wonderfully. And while that last line might stick in your head above the rest, hopefully these next few articles will help you take a step back and realize that leaving Oklahoma is one of the most important things you can do with your time at OU.

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