I leave for London tomorrow night and I don't know if I'm as excited as I'm supposed to be. Mostly it is because I've been going about my normal life for the past two weeks. I packed two weeks ago and have been living, working, and hanging out with friends like I always do in Boston. I had my technical "going away" party tonight but it was more like just spending time with my friends like I always do. I think I may be putting off the inevitable for myself in some ways because I don't want to say bye to James (my boyfriend of almost 2 and a half years now) and my life in Boston, because I'm happy here and part of me is wondering why I'm giving that up. I love my job, apartment and friends so why leave?!?! Everyone is telling me that this will be an experience that I will never forget, but I think in some ways it could be an experience I might regret. What if I miss out on something really important here in the States? I am going to miss out on some things that are important to me, like my senior Homecoming. I have never missed a homecoming before, and now I'm going to miss out on my last one at Northeastern. Maybe the fact that I am a senior is part of it. I am comfortable in Boston and I know the direction that my life is going in already. I'm not looking to find myself, because I've already decided on my path. I have wanted to do this study abroad program since my freshman year however, so I do not want to go into it thinking that I shouldn't be there. I'm just honestly unsure if this is the right time in my life to do this. I guess I'll find out in three months if this was the right thing to do.
I do have some goals, aspirations and hopes about the Hansard Programme. I have a goal to produce a useful dissertation; one that I can possibly submit for publication or at least use for applications for law school or as a sample piece of writing for employment. Eight to ten thousand words amounts to a paper like I've never written before. I think the most I have ever written is twenty to twenty-five pages and this paper promises to be at least thirty, so it will be quite a challenge to finish a paper of this size. I also hope to finish this paper early and snap my normal habit of procrastinating until the last minute. James flies into London the day my dissertation is due and I seriously doubt that I will be able to concentrate on writing a paper when I know that he will be coming in mere hours. Plus, I want to be able to enjoy my last days with everyone in the program in London, not in our flat or the library stressing over papers. This ties into a second, and somewhat different, academic goal that I have for this semester. I want to explore and enjoy London and for once in my life not be so anal about getting A's that I miss out on the true experience that is part of study abroad: getting to know the area and people where I am studying. I don't know when I'll ever get back to Europe, especially if I pursue my current path of going to law school and becoming a lawyer, so I want to make sure I make the most of the time I am in London and Europe. Finally, I hope to gain some new work experience from my internship in another country. I am hoping that my internship will have something to do with the Northern Ireland conflict, since that is where my dissertation will focus, but I know that the Programme makes no guarantees about placements. I just hope that I will learns something new about working in a different environment and country from a law firm in the U.S., since my last two co-ops were at law firms. Most of all I hope for myself that I'm not that girl in her room crying that she misses her boyfriend and really just missing out on the experience I could be having in London. I hope I am strong enough to do that for myself.
So I have a few last minute errands to take care of today and tomorrow and then I'm off to the United Kingdom. I hope this blog acts as a way for me to keep my friends and family updated as well as help me reflect upon my experiences, since I am not always the best with sending people emails and things to keep them updated on what I'm doing. Bon Voyage!