I have recently discovered that there are approximately three phases that you go through when preparing to study abroad, which are surprisingly similar to how Alice Knightly feels in the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland.
Phase one: Alice finds herself in Wonderland and is convinced she is dreaming.
This is how I have felt ever since I first got that email from Jaci saying that I was accepted into the program. It’s how I felt while making plans and applying to programs. IT is a very nice feeling but it lasts up until you receive your acceptance.
Phase two: Alice is still convinced she is dreaming but cannot help but get involved and care about the people she is meeting.
This is how you feel for a while after you get accepted. You still can’t quite believe that it’s true but you also can’t help but get excited. You think about all of the good things that are going to happen and, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to plan or think of anything else.
Phase three: Alice finally remembers that Wonderland is real and she has been there before. She is asked to slay the Jabberwocky. She kind of freaks out.
This feeling starts to set in soon after your first pre departure meeting. You are still excited, but now you are nervous as well. You have a strange pit in your stomach as you begin to realize everything you have to do and pay for before the experience starts. You also hear about every little thing that can go wrong. What if I get lost? What if I miss my plane? What if I can’t handle being away from home? What if I can handle it and I’m having so much fun that I fail my classes?
Literally every bad thought is going through your head at the same time. It is completely overwhelming and the easiest thing to do is not think about it. But you have to think about it because it’s coming up faster than you ever thought possible.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how long this phase will last. Hopefully it will fade back to excitement soon. I liked that so much better.