University of Haifa International School Student Blog
As some of you may have read in my first blog, I mentioned the relief I felt after having been here for a few months. Generally speaking this is true but if any of you understand how anxiety works, it can find it’s way into your mentality even in some of the most relaxing of situations. I don’t mean to discourage any potential study abroad students reading this, but the combination of finals, homesickness and weight of responsibilities of living in a foreign country can be overwhelming.
Last week things were beginning to creep up on me. Everything was running through my mind from class to booking flights to budgeting for the year. It’s hard to put everything on pause when you know there’s so much on your plate but unfortunately breakdowns can become an option. I knew that I could deal with it one of two ways: let everything drown me, bail on the weekend hike, attempt to get my life/grades/mind together, OR grab the bull by the horns and pull myself out of the sanctuary that I always build for myself anytime I feel things are becoming too hard to carry. I don’t like when I have to let things crumble when I know that I can pick things up and recuperate and go on just as I was before things began to get overwhelming. The free weekend that was coming up was the perfect opportunity to do this but a weekend long hike that a friend convinced me to sign up for would not have allowed me to have that time alone. I had to pull myself together quickly. I usually know that everything falls into place in the end, but it just takes time to come to terms with that realization. This hike was just around the corner so I had no time to do that! I was really jumping into the unknown by putting myself in a situation that my mind and emotions were no ready for but I had faith.
I felt like a robot that just had to get through the next 36 hours without mental breakdown or injury. I forced myself awake at 5 am, slept as much as I could on the way and when the hike began, I took it one step at a time. I even avoided talking much because stability was all I was focused on. Minutes and hours passed. I was able to start making conversation. I started to take in the view of the waterfall. I started regretting that I didn’t bring my sketchbook with me. My apathetic attitude was being chipped away as I began to really appreciate where I was. I went from wishing for the bed in my dorm room to being extremely thankful for the sleeping bag I was zipped into somewhere in the desert of the Middle East. I even thought about my room back home and how my high school years kept me trapped in this small space. There was peace in my room and somehow I was finding peace in a cold tent in Israel. The next day I felt much more optimistic. The hiking was tougher but more enjoyable. The people were the same but the conversations were much more meaningful. I laughed so much and that’s not regular for me! I learned to not rely on my comfort zones, as uncomfortable as that is. It’s scary but satisfying to jump into the abyss.