The Final Countdown: How to Overcome Adversity in the Form of Buzzkills

My cooking has come to a slow trot these days, but I’d like to think I’m filling my final days in America with some much needed R&R: Rest & Reflection. I’ve gone home to see the family and old friends, absorbed the view of the Flatirons from Boulder, thrown myself a going away party filled with some of my favorite people, and pondered packing (I’ve admittedly been putting it off).

But now my to-do list has grown immensely: buy power converters to fit European outlets, pick up a prescription, take care of some last minute DU business, see my parents, read this book, buy pepper spray…. It seems my period of R&R was overextended and I have now been plunged into stress mode. This became most apparent to me when I woke up to find my four-drawer dresser with a box television on top of it pulled two feet away from the wall. Evidently, I did this in my sleep. I have a tendency to perform minor sleepwalking acts when I’m asleep, especially when I’m stressed about something, but this is the most extreme thing I have done. On top of that, I’ve been dealing with some odd stomach aches, dizziness, and nausea for the last week–probably also stress-induced.

but why, cheyenne? why so seriously stressed?

I’ll tell you why. I have 3 days to go until I depart for Rome. 3. Three. Tre. The mixture of sheer panic, excitement, and nerves are indescribable. My friend and co-worker asked me how I was feeling on my last work shift as a campus tour guide on Wednesday and my best response was “I feel all emotions.” The fear has mostly come from my recent panic attack after a stranger told me he was “sorry” I was going to Rome because I will “hate it.” Surprisingly, this is not the first time this has happened to me since I found out I would be studying abroad in Rome. I’ve probably had a total of four or five people listen to me tell them I’m going, absorb the twinkle in my eye and kick in my step, then proceed to bash my excitement into the ground with every reason in the book that Rome is a bad place. It had not really bothered me before this particular soulless man reiterated this–probably because he did so exactly ten days before I would leave while I was working my last shift at my second summer job at a frozen yogurt shop. Why on earth would someone say something like that to another person? Please, folks, take it from Thumper:
Found on

Thankfully, with help from my friends and family, I’ve been able to overcome this mishap for the most part. I’ve chalked it up to close-mindedness. I’d like to think I, unlike them, am going into this with a completely open mind. Sure, I have some vague idea of what to expect, but I’m going to roll with the punches and take on whatever comes my way exactly how I’ve learned to approach any other hardship: with a sense of humor and a trust that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

The butterflies of excitement partying in my stomach right now are mostly due to reading the blog of my friend and fellow study abroad student, Julie, who has already arrived in Rome with her mother for some pre-program exploration. She keeps up a fantastic blog that cheers me up every time I start feeling any form of doubt. Read it if you want to feel your heart explode with happiness.

moral of the story:
Take into account the opinions of others, but don’t let them define your own opinions before you get there. Let it open your mind to the fact that, hey, maybe everything won’t be chalked up to what you think it will. Maybe the transportation will be unreliable. Maybe there will be some unfriendly people. Maybe there will be some food you dislike. (Who are we kidding? All the food will be amazing.) But the bottom line is, I’m about to experience the world. That should be a point of excitement and joy, not of fear and feng shui-inducing stress.

– Ciao for now –
Cheyenne Michaels, DUSA Blogger


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