What seemed like only yesterday has flown by so fast; I can still clearly remember the couple of days leading up to Cultural Routes and the hectic flying day to Berlin, our very first city. In those few days leading up to my experience, I was feeling a range of emotions from excitement to anxiousness: excitement for what was to come and anxiousness for having to start over in getting to know an unfamiliar group of people. Although it is easy to say I’d like to go back and relive it, CR wouldn’t be the same twice and it’s never good to live in the past. I learned a lot and have even been able to see those lessons playing out well after CR concluded. As many others before me have said, I can’t even begin to describe my Cultural Routes experience.
One of the most important lessons I learned about while on CR is the need for rest. Often times, the most challenging part of CR was relaxing. Although a crucial cog of CR is being All-In 24/7, how can I be all in if I’m struggling to make it through each day?? You can’t. Part of being All-in 24/7 requires you to be making the most of the little time you are given to rest, so that you can be energized for all that the day holds. It was so tempting to stay up and chat every night in a guise of being of “All-in 24/7,” but then I would be short tempered and cranky, which would not be good for the team. The need for rest has translated to my college life as well. This semester, especially, has revealed a great desire in me to rest. Constant busyness has been the theme of my life this semester, along with any other sophomore I’m sure, and I don’t say that as a badge of honor towards my involvement. But rather, constant busyness with no rest has left me drained and made it harder for me to really be All-In towards the things I choose to involve myself in. With consistent rest in my life, I know that I would me more dedicated to being All-In towards all that I do. This seemingly insignificant lesson has been the one that has stuck with me the most; I hope to be able to find rest in the midst of busyness.
Another important lesson impressed upon me was the proper articulation of my thoughts. I can’t count the number of times I may have said something out of line, thinking my words were completely innocent, yet they were actually blunt and conveyed a message I didn’t mean to come across. Needless to say, it led to some tense moments that could have been avoided if I had been more tactful in my word choice. Nowadays, the thought of whether or not I might be saying something to someone that could come off as rude fills my mind each time I am interacting with another person. There have definitely been some moments that I may have struggled with that this year, yet it is something I have been painfully aware of. The proper use of rhetoric can define and shape how a conversation goes as well how someone views you.
Gone are the days when our group could be seen moseying around each city, laughing and enjoying each other’s presence like we’d known each other forever. Gone are the days where every moment spent together was filled with deep, meaningful conversations that could go on for hours without a strict agenda limiting our time. Although CR10 has been over for a while, the lessons learned will be permanently etched into my brain. So, thanks Dr. P and Lindsey, and all the others a part of the CR10 familia for making my time in Europe such a wonderful and unforgettable experience.