The Culture Clash: The end of the year
BY CARIN BENGSSTON —
Sometimes I try to wrap my head around my life, what I have done so far — if I have done anything at all — and at what point I am now. I am in awe of how rapidly life goes by and especially this semester. All of my semesters have rushed before me, but none of them have been as hectic as this one; it has been more like a holiday than anything else. At least it is easy to say that at the end of it, because the good memories are the ones that will stay with me. Late nights with homework and pulling my hair out because of confusing grammar will not exist in my memory as much from now on.
Not only is my exchange semester over, but also my time as a college student. I am graduating and taking a big leap into real life, but it seems like a blur to me. I mentioned in my first column I am unsure of what to do with my degree. Well, that status is still intact if I am not to focus on writing. Not surprisingly, this uncertainty adds a bit of frustration and anxiety to me.
I cannot tell you what graduation in Sweden will be like, but what I do know is that while Americans can buy their own cap and gown, Swedes get to borrow a shawl; it cannot get more low-key than that. My graduation back home is not until June 5. My flight back home is scheduled on that same date. Has anyone else ever graduated from 30,000 feet? Well, now you may understand how concerned I am to show up. You know, to me, it is not necessary to say a last goodbye to the ones in my classes that I am intentionally never going to see again. Neither am I too keen about gathering friends and families for a celebration when I still do not know what to do with this degree. I would rather hold the celebration until after I get that figured out.
My parents and brother are flying out to America, however, and to me, that is the most valuable graduation gift I could ever imagine. I still expect, though, a present from my other brother who is not joining us.
Until they show up, I am putting in my last effort with studies for the notorious final week. Because I am used to only having one class at a time for about 5 weeks, it is now a challenge to pass finals week with four classes. Studying so much will definitely be a test of my self-discipline. Not to brag, but I have never failed an exam and it would therefore be such a failure to do so now. However, a reason why I have never failed one before may be that I had very few of them back in Sweden.
While trying to keep my head in the books this week, I am also trying to hang out with all the beautiful people I have gotten to know during my stay here in America. Even though Northern Arizona University (NAU) was my sixth choice to study abroad, I am so thankful this is where I ended up. I have met the most diverse group people with all kinds of quirky personalities. It is hard to sum up four months of happenings but it has been more awesome than I could imagine. Travels, delicious lunches at the Hot Spot, nights out, thrift shopping, laughter, blaming everything on the altitude, writing for The Lumberjack; everything will stay with me forever. It will be heartbreaking to leave all this, but I am already planning for a reunion in the future.
For all of you that are going abroad or on an exchange in the future, I am very jealous and I wish you all the best. You will not be disappointed, even if you do not get your first choice. For the ones who decide not to go, rethink that decision. As for me, I am jumping into the fog to see wherever that will take me.
Dearest Flagstaff, you are going to miss me.