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viewpoint

Time slips away

| Wednesday, February 10, 2016

London Spring, Toledo Fall, Dublin Fall. Combinations of foreign cities and seasons that may confuse the typical college student but hold a lot of meaning for Notre Dame sophomores.

At a school where a good portion of students study abroad, sophomores are thrown into the process early to compete for a spot in one of these coveted programs. This year, my friends and I found out our study abroad decisions at the most inopportune time — 12 a.m. on a Friday night.

Well, for me it wasn’t exactly 12 a.m. I couldn’t muster up the courage to actually open my email until about two hours later, when finally, I saw it: Toledo Fall.

The next five minutes was a hodgepodge of conflicting emotions. Initially, I was hit with a wave of relief and excitement. I got it, I thought, thank God. I’m going to Spain. Then, I experienced panic and disbelief at how little time I suddenly felt I had knowing I would be in a completely different country in a matter of months.

My heart flipped realizing this would be my last semester at Notre Dame until 2017. It killed me when I realized I would not see my friend, who was currently studying abroad and would be going abroad again next spring, until our senior year. Lastly, I grew anxious realizing I would not be able to experience the inexplicable combination of fatigue and bliss after a successful football Saturday next fall.

By knowing mine and everyone else’s study abroad plans, I could envision the future more clearly, and I did not particularly like it. I suddenly had plans of reuniting with friends and football games senior year, when before, senior year felt like a myth or an urban legend — something you hear about from afar but have no tangible evidence that makes it personally concrete.

I felt as though time was escaping me, and I was desperately trying to dig my heels further into the ground in an effort to slow it down. I just sat for a while, head spinning and heart racing, allowing the bouts of panic, nervousness and excitement whoosh through me.

To be completely honest, I’m still at this stage right now. I think the reality of it will probably hit me in stages, but as of now, the word “Spain” still feels foreign on my tongue. Don’t get me wrong; I am beyond excited and ready to embark on this new experience and feel incredibly fortunate for the chance to study a language and culture I love. However, is it weird that in the midst of this excitement for where I’m going, I’m already a little homesick for where I am right now? Maybe so, but at the end of the day I guess there are worse things than trading touchdown pushups and burgers for country-hopping and churros con chocolate.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Selena Ponio

Selena Ponio is from Dallas, Texas and is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is the Associate News Editor for The Observer. Selena lives in Breen-Phillips hall and is majoring in International Economics with a concentration in Spanish and is minoring in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Contact Selena