I have returned from Italy, obviously earlier than I had originally planned. There are a few reasons but the main reason is that my emotional health was suffering. I don’t know how to explain it very well but I want to try. Despite the great circumstances (family, school, support, opportunities), I just did not feel right. I became rather anxious and sad most of the time. I tried multiple solutions but ultimately, I thought it best to return home. After making this decision, I am already feeling more calm and happier.
That being said, wow! My experience in Italy was a whirlwind. I don’t know which I’ve learned more about: the people, the culture, the language, or myself. I was and still am grateful for the opportunity and I do not regret it in the least, I am proud of my decision to go to Italy. I think some people will think that my decision to leave is embarrassing but I think it would be more embarrassing to passively stay, feel miserable, and simply go through the motions. I want to be my best self, wherever that may be. Some will look at my exchange as a failed one, I for one, won’t. Luca Marcolin, my counselor, told me about a psychologist who spoke of failure. He said that failure doesn’t exist. If you look at the situation with a different perspective, you can see that you learned something from the situation which in a way is actually success. I went to Italy for many reasons but one was to learn. And boy have I!
One thing I have learned is that I have the biggest support system EVER! From receiving a daily joke to being read Harry Potter on the phone, my friends and family were always there for me. The simple “how are you?” and the occasional “great picture!” really meant a lot to me. My parents and sister have especially been supportive of me. They love me unconditionally, encourage me to keep an open mind and motivate me to be my best self. From talking to me at the weirdest of hours to sending me pictures of my dog, they were always there.
I know that some people will disagree with my decision and some won’t understand it but all I need now is support.