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3 Important Things I Learned From a Semester Abroad
Let’s face it, you’ve endured two quarters and don’t know if you have the stamina to survive a third. Spring break went by in an instant and you’ve been forced to transition from legendary margarita marauder back to disheveled college student. You can practically taste freedom, yet the shackles of classes have yet to be lifted. Your teacher seems set on dismantling your sanity, does this qualify as cruel and unusual punishment? However, summer is like that girl you wish you could have dated in high school, from a distance she seems amazing, but the closer she nears, the less of an idea you have as to what you’re going to say and do.
So you’re a sophomore/junior gearing up for a summer internship, or better yet, a senior preparing to start their first job. Spring quarter represents your final “Hoorah!” before entering the real world where you have something know as “responsibility” (I’m not sure what that word means either). While you no longer will have to subsist off of ramen and pasta, you will be leaving some of your closest friends and the best experiences of your life behind. This change is undoubtedly challenging, so you must attempt to soak in the next 10 weeks before you subjected to life as an adult.
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With most resorts closing in mid-March/early April, you ski season is dwindling away. Weekend trips to the mountains will be sorely missed as the snow slowly devolves into crystallized slush. While the weather is sunny and 70 most days, you can’t help but reminisce about skiing everything from Vail’s back bowls to local hot spot, Ruby Hill. Tailgates are sweet and spring skiing is always a blast, but you inevitably miss the fresh powder (and the possibility of a snow day).
Spring quarter is often characterized as one of the busiest quarters and this is all too true as there are too many events to count. On top of school, you are constantly busy trying to plan out each preceding week, all of which seem chalked full of events you want to attend. Fraternities are hosting their philanthropic events with live performances ranging from Illenium to Waka Flocka Flame in the past, intramurals are in full swing, and the DU seems to have a tailgate every weekend. On top of this, some of the nation’s best festivals and musical acts are right around the corner, whether you plan on raging at Westworld music festival or vibing out at the array upcoming indie concerts. Simply focusing on your schoolwork seems like a monumental task as the number of tempting events seemingly rises by the day.
If you’re a freshman, you’re still probably in disbelief that we had a 6-week winter break. You got to lounge in your room until 3 AM each night watching Netflix while all your friends were busy struggling away at school due to their measly 3 week breaks. However, as Spring Break approaches you realize that all of your friends will finish school weeks before you do as DU doesn’t finish until June 3rd. When you reach week 8, your suffering is only worsened by the continuous stream of reunion snaps from your friend’s back home. You suddenly find yourself wishing that time travel existed and spend the duration of spring break trying to build a DeLorean time machine.
Registration day for Spring Quarter was hectic and you had to scramble to snag even a single class that matched your registration plan. Seniors were attempting to complete their last few credits, freshmen were signing up for classes that only juniors can take, and DUWIFI stopped working altogether, all markings of a classic registration day. As the quarter nears, you decide to glance at your schedule and nearly have a heart attack. You signed up for two 8 AMs and have class on Friday until 4 PM, could anything make this worse?? You slowly realize that this schedule will significantly hinder your social life. This quandary brings about the age old question, which 2 of the 3 S’s will you chose to uphold, School, Sleep, or Social Life??
The weather is ideal, comprised of cloudless, sunny skies and temperate 70 degree days. However, the most vital piece of your wardrobe will have to be stowed away for another year, the awe-inspiring groutfit. While you can wear grey shorts, a grey shirt, etc, and recreate a spring groutfit, it will not have the same effect as the full-fledged, sweatpants/sweatshirt groutfit (the “true” groutfit). Strutting through campus in your groufit during the winter quarter made you feel like a regular celebrity as students and teachers alike could not seem to peel their eyes away from your supreme swagger. Retiring this beautiful uniform will make spring quarter all that much harder as your swagger has been snatched away.
Whether you’re from sunny California or the frozen tundra of Minnesota, you have realized by now that Denver winters can be quite brutal. Temperatures can seemingly plummet to below freezing after a week of 50-degree weather, the wind is a force to be reckoned with, and the snowstorms can be literally blinding. Many times throughout the quarter, you employed the excuse “it’s too cold outside to do (___Fill in the Blank__),” and it worked like a charm as you could seemingly shake any responsibility with this phrase. As spring quarter rolls around, you realize that this excuse will fail to hold water in the face of an unrelentingly sunny spring. You are forced to enter the outside world from your room’s dark lair filled with hot Cheetos and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” reruns.
Spring time, a time that is characterized by revitalization, sunny days, and melting snow. You love spring, but slowly the realization dawns on you…the possibility of a snow day has disappeared! On snowy nights, you would spend your time praying, en lieu of homework, that school would be cancelled so that you didn’t have to trek to your 8 AM across campus in Boettcher Hall. You can no longer bank on your teachers missing class during a snowstorm because they simply can’t reach DU, in short, you feel exposed. Spring quarter will undoubtedly force you to perform rain dance after rain dance in hopes of flooding the campus so that you can skip your 8 AM.
While you may be dreading classes, homework, and the hectic nature of spring quarter, you may dread leaving the most! You have meet so many people, skied harder than you have in your life, attended concert after concert and have had an amazing all-around year at DU. The idea of returning home to your job/internship and sacrificing your freedom to the tyrannical rule of your parents seems rather unappealing. The quarter system has flown by faster than you thought possible and now you near spring quarter, staring summer in the face with no money and no idea what you’re going to do for the upcoming 2-3 months. Whether you spend your summer working at that new upscale gluten-free, sugar-free, calorie-free restaurant or managing a group 20 rowdy 6 year olds at your hometown park program, you will ultimately wish the year never ended.