By Rashed Alolayani
English Language Program
One a cold cloudy day, I woke up at 7:00 am. I typically begin my day by making a cup of coffee so I can stay focused throughout the day. As I I was eating breakfast that day, I thought of my early days in the United States. I was browsing my photo album on my phone and saw pictures that I took in the first semester. I recalled how cold it was in the winter and how much snow was on the trees and the ground. That morning, I reflected on how much fun I had and how many obstacles I overcame. After getting dressed, I went for my usual morning walks. I was enthusiastic and happy that day.
However, when the day was over, I got anxious, and I got the feeling that every foreign person in a foreign country felt. Long story short, I got homesick and had been missing my family and friends. I enjoy communicating with them on the phone, but what I missed is hanging out with them and being around them. I remember that night I went on my computer and searched for my home on Google Earth so I can feel that I’m there. The feeling of separation from people and places that we know is a common feeling among international students. I usually deal with those emotions by talking to friends, writing a journal, or making art so I can flip the switch on anxiety.
Still, I felt different that night. I felt anxious and stressed. “Am I wasting my own time?” “Am I good enough?” “What should I do in the future?” “Am I going to make the right decision or not?” Those were the thoughts running through my head. I was overthinking over many tough decisions that needed to be dealt with. It was a critical choice that would shape my self-development and experiences and could change my whole identity in the future. Therefore, I had to choose, and I had to choose wisely. Life is short, and it is characterized by struggles, unfairness, and daily battles. Nevertheless, we need to try to concentrate on what makes us happy, what makes us grateful, and what motivates us. Making decisions will always be challenging because assessing options requires time and effort. Second-guessing myself and feeling uncertain are the usual phases of this process. In many ways, it is a good thing to be considering my options rather than simply going with the flow.
I was thinking about continuing my academic journey and pursuing a master’s degree in my field. It is going to be a long journey that requires a portion of work, self-discipline, and more hard work. I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine that night, and I talked about everything I had in my mind. My friend said, “Don’t worry about a thing ’cause every little thing is going to be all right.” It was a quote from a song that we used to listen to back in the day. After I hung up, I felt a big relief with a smile on my face. Later that week, I applied for a Master of Arts in psychology. I decided that it was the right choice to make. If I get accepted, I will learn new knowledge and get the best grades I could. If not, I would go on a nice vacation and a new journey.
In the present time and as a full-time student here in the United States, I feel that I have the opportunity to explore new cultures, new places, and new ideas. Furthermore, I feel that my perspective has changed in the way I see things. I’ve become more rational, patient, and independent. Moreover, I’ve developed and learned new skills in English like speaking and listening to people, and reading and writing, and those skills will assist me in my future job or simple communication. After my experience in Chatham, I only have gratitude for everyone there. I have wonderful teachers who have helped me gain a better understanding of both American culture and the English language. They have provided significant knowledge about spoken and written communication to assist me in being a booming postgraduate student. I appreciate the college staff who welcomed me with open arms, and the classmates from around the world who are kind and cool.
To conclude, making decisions will always be difficult because trying to weigh options takes time. However, life is fleeting, and individuals should focus on what makes them happy, grateful, and motivated. Therefore, when the time comes for making a choice, we will have the mindset to make the right decision.