Here I am, in the giant British Airways airplane, on my way home, the place I haven’t seen for 100 days, the longest ever in my life. One hundred days might not seem such a big deal (it’s like a summer holiday!), but these hundred days were the most fulfilling, exciting, and impactful days in my life so far.
It’s hard to describe how America can change you in 100 days, but from the moment you step out of the plane, being an European in the US is definitely a funny, and unique story. Especially when you’re going for university there, who has time to feel like a tourist? You are surrounded by American people, educational system, laws, food, parties, interactions, views, and trust me… ALL of them are so much different than where I was raised. The thing is, whether you want it or not, they change you. What is important is that you have to make sure it’s a good change.
The main thing the US changed in myself is my self-confidence, probably thanks to the amount of freedom this country gives you. There, you don’t feel that you’re constrained, limited, or judged. That was a big boost for my confidence, which made me remember who I am and what my potential is. Most of this vibe comes from the way people are, so much different from any country I’ve visited so far. They are smiling a lot, complimenting each other, being super nice and polite, and making you feel good, overall. At first, it was a shock for me. Then, I understood that this is part of their culture, and I even started learning something from their social skills (such as complimenting strangers, thing which in Romania might be just a little bit weird).
To be honest, seeing that I was going to start living in such an open and friendly community made me feel genuinely happy, as these are the kind of people I want to have around in my life. I have always been the “always-smiling-girl” who might get way too excited over small things, start talking to people on the street, or compliment the employees at the shop counters. However, sometimes I felt like this kind of behavior might be seen as “too much” in my country, or as “fake”, but, the truth is, there is nothing wrong with being kind to people, and expressing your thoughts. America made me feel better in my own skin, with my own attitude, not being afraid that I might get called “fake” just by being myself.
Another lesson I learnt from spending time with people from America is to stop overthinking. This is probably one of the biggest issues of our generation, thing I used to do involuntarily back home A LOT, by myself as well as when talking to friends. I don’t know if it’s a culture thing or just the university environment (which keeps you constantly busy), but from the moment I started college, I even forgot what “overthinking” was. Instead, I payed more attention to that “carpe diem”, which seems to be what Americans do. Thus, I began to live more in the moment, and focus on the idea of simply enjoying life with whatever it brings. Even if it was by sitting on the floor and eating Chinese noodles with my roommate at 12AM, going for a late evening walk by the Schuylkill River with my new best friend, or gathering all the dorm floor and watching Game of Thrones together to forget about studying for a while, these little activities made me “seize the day”, and stop worrying about useless stuff. I had no time to overthink, and no need to. I discovered that if you are mindful, becoming aware of the little moments and dwelling in the present, life will simply flow in the right direction.
As well, there is no wonder why America is called the land of opportunities. The amount of things you can do or get involved in is endless, not to mention the fact that any idea you come up with is taken into consideration. I’m thankful for experiencing their educational system, because it made me much more open to sharing my ideas, opinions, and letting my imagination work. When you see that your teacher is open to have a coffee with you and discuss about the last chapter you did not really get, how can you not feel encouraged to grow? Also, being surrounded by a lot of exceptional students, the competition makes the journey even more fun. All of them are super determined to focus on themselves and their goals, so that’s a really good motivation out there!
All this being said, going to the US for college reminded me of a motto I had for a long time when I was little, which comes from an actress I admire a lot, Audrey Hepburn: Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible!”. America gives me the feeling that everything is achievable, you just have to believe. Who thought I was going to become the Freshman Class President or raise all the money I needed for an entrepreneurial program in Costa Rica during spring break? My mind didn’t go so far, but I just said to myself “I can do it! This is possible!”, and here I am.
The last three months changed my perspective of the world, making me see life differently, taking everything as it is, and understanding that it is not just about the destination, but about the journey as well. What will be next? I’m curious, too! There’s something exciting about uncertainty. What I know for sure is that if you trust the Universe, it will guide you to the right places, with the right people, at the right moments.
P.S.: Vlog coming soon with the visual sum-up of my first 100 days in America! Hopefully I will be productive with the editing part, it’s a lot of footage! Thank you for reading my post. I would really appreciate if you could like, share, and comment, as I love reading your opinions. I am just at the beginning, but this personal blog is here for the long-run. 🙂