It is the seventh hour of being stuck in the Atlanta airport (and the ninth for my companion, Indigo) and I am utterly fed up with being in the airport. Our flight was delayed by four hours due to acrimonious weather, meaning we would miss our connecting flights to Berlin. We were forced to re-book to a flight that will take us all the way to Istanbul, Turkey and then back to Berlin. Needless to say, the emotions are running high; and Indigo and I are about to be on our way to Berlin (9 hours late nonetheless). Despite our misfortune, the prospect of arriving in Europe in less than a day’s time for 3.5 weeks leaves me full of excitement; and I am experiencing a vast range of other emotions from fear to nervousness to anticipation for all that is to come.
While finishing up school–from finals to papers to projects–I have had little time to dwell on, or even realize, just how quickly CR was approaching. Only after boarding my delayed flight has the realization hit me of the adventure that awaits; the only thing holding me back from that is an 11.5-hour flight and then another 2-hour flight (if I haven’t made it clear that I am anxiously waiting to be on the ground in Berlin and exploring the city, then I want to make that clear now). But the time is nearly upon me and my fellow CR members, and I could not be more excited!
In the long car ride back home from Fort Worth, and in the few days after finals, I had plenty of time to reflect on what I want this experience to be. Some of my goals include: not comparing CR10 to any other CR experience (CR9, CR8, etc.); being present in every moment; and overcoming the inevitably hard moments I will face.
Too often, I compare myself to others. This trait can only be debilitating to my personal CR10 experience and learning from it what I need to learn as an individual. As C.S. Lewis says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I fully intend to heed Dr. P’s, C.S. Lewis’s, and the many CR alumni’s advice to not compare! Not only will it rob me of the joy I should be feeling while travelling across Europe, but rob my team member’s experiences as well.
A prominent fear of mine that has developed as the semester has worn on is that of the future. I am one that often becomes preoccupied with the next stage of life or what I’ll be doing tomorrow. Living presently in a moment that has yet to arrive is one skill that I certainly hope to take away from this experience. In fact, just a few days ago, I was thinking back on my freshman year of college and just how fast it flew by, and I began to worry about how fast CR itself would speed by. How preposterous is that?? Worrying about what lies ahead only takes away the focus on the present and from being present in this experience I am sharing with fifteen other students. From here on out, I desire to make the most of the little moments I have, because those moments can end up being the most significant parts of CR and, generally, of life. Whether it be losing a few minutes of sleep to enjoy deep and thought-provoking conversations with team members or fighting through weary legs and bodies to pay attention and take time to reflect on the many things we will witness, I will be fully engaged and fully present in all that we do.
One thing I really hope CR can teach me is perseverance through hard moments. As much as I hate to say this, I often shy away from doing hard things in my life. It is uncomfortable to do hard things, and my dislike of failure can cause me to disengage and be discouraged to push through challenging tasks and times. I know that CR is mentally exhausting, yet stimulating; physically laborious, yet completely manageable. CR will challenge me in a variety of ways and, with the desire for personal growth to push through that which challenges me, I know that this experience can be a landmark for how I face challenging classes and situations at TCU and beyond.
In thinking about all that I want my CR experience to be, several fears and hesitancies surfaced, which I believe is normal for anyone embarking on an unknown adventure. I fear I may at first feel awkward arriving onto the scene almost half a day late, and that I may miss out on the blossoming of relationships. I fear the idea that I may not be doing things the right way. And I fear that CR will not be all that I hope to be. Although all of these are clearly irrational fears, they are nonetheless fears. I will have more than enough time to catch up on relationship building. There is no right way to do CR as each experience is unique in its own way. And from hearing how CR has been a standout moment for many peoples’ entire college experience, I know that I shouldn’t worry too much about CR matching my expectations.
I have already overcome another one of my fears, which is missing my flights to Europe. Now that I have that one out of the way, every other fear begins to feel so trivial. We are well on our way and as JK Rowling said, “All is well.”
See you soon, Berlin.
– Marat Rosencrants
P.S. This was meant to be posted in America, but due to the flights fiasco, it was delayed and so now I am posting it in Istanbul.