An atypical college experience


Anita Wetsch

Although going to college in Europe will be a challenge, there is nothing that I would rather spend the next four years of my life doing.

Molly Wetsch, Editor-in-Chief

If you scroll for even a few minutes on social media, you’ll come across a certain brand of post: the kind where teens fantasize about fleeing their homes in America and moving to Europe to frolic in Italian vineyards and English castles. I, too, have felt these same urges to completely abandon my friends and family to start a new life. Five months ago, I made the absolutely insane decision to act on those thoughts and enroll at a university in Dublin, Ireland, 3,914 miles and an ocean away from my hometown.

I thought this process would be the best thing that would ever happen to me and that I wouldn’t experience any regret for making such a huge decision. I wasn’t exactly wrong, but I also didn’t think about the seemingly endless list of tasks that confronted me. Everything from visas to bank accounts to health insurance to flights home have plagued me with a sort of dread that I didn’t necessarily expect upon my commitment. The list of “must-dos” gets longer and longer every day, and I almost feel like I’ll never get caught up.

Anita Wetsch

Usually, college students are fairly accessible to their parents. FaceTime is easy and you’re usually never more than a flight or drive away from your family. This provides a sense of security and comfort should any major events or life changes occur while you’re away. I knew that things would be different, but I didn’t know that they would be difficult. 

If my parents want to catch up with me over their lunch break, I may already be winding down for the night and finishing up homework. If I want to chat quickly with them before a morning class, they’ll be sound asleep in bed, not beginning their day for several hours. We haven’t spoken much about my visits back home, but I think I’ll be lucky if I’m back in South Dakota once a year. 

I’m not scared, but I am anxious. I think about how my brother and I will probably speak even less than we do now, and that my grandparents aren’t fit to travel such long distances. I think a lot about how my high school friends will be able to see each other semi-regularly and I’ll feel infinitely far away from everything that I’ve known for the past 18 years.

Despite all of this, though, I can’t express enough how excited I am to experience something out of the ordinary. You never really know what you’re missing out on until you experience it, and there is so much world out there to explore.

Anita Wetsch