This week I was asked to write a summary of my experiences as an Erasmus student. Automatically my mind went to the things that you do as an Erasmus student. Parties. Friends. Travel. Having the best year of your life.
And I felt like the past seven months have been wasted time. Because I didn’t party a lot. I didn’t find a ton of friends. I didn’t even travel as much as I wanted to. Nor am I particularly happy with my French.
So I can’t help but ask myself why. Is it my fault? Is it the clichés’ fault?
The fact is, I am definitely an introvert. So it doesn’t come easy to me to leave my comfort zone. Yet, when I do, it has almost always been rewarding. And yes, I could have probably tried harder.
But even so, do I really have to see this year as a waste of time?
Once again, this mean little mechanism creeps into my thoughts. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. 9 positive things, 1 negative thing, and all you’ll do is worry about the 1 negative thing. Yeah that.
And of course, if I do think rationally about the past few months, there are so many positive things. I may not have gone to loads of parties, but I went to a few and had a great time I’ll remember. I may not have made a ton of friends, but I’ve made 2 or 3 really good ones I’ll most likely stay in touch with. I may not have traveled as much as I imagined, but I am basically away from home for a full ten months. That’s a whole lot of new culture, language, food. And I could make day trips to Paris and Côte d’Azur I couldn’t have made from Salzburg. I may not be fluent in French but I have gotten better: I am able to read newspaper articles without a problem.
And I have been becoming more myself. Realising what is important to me, what I stand for. And that’s probably what counts in the long run.
That’s why I am not going to give you any tips on how to make better use of your time or do things you wouldn’t normally do. (Because if it’s really worth it, you’ll probably realise it all by yourself anyway.)
But I’ll tell you to make sure to recognise when that one negative thing, that little devil, is ruining all your positive experiences. Because worrying about that one negative thing, now that’s really a waste of time.
Do you ever feel unaccomplished? How do you handle it?