Global Unrest: When Everything Seems Hopeless

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Lately, it has gotten to the point where I often want to stop checking social media, because it seems that each time I do, I am learning of some new atrocity that has occurred in the world. I do not know if I am simply more aware of international events now or if this is true, but to me, it feels as if all of the tragedies are increasing in number and severity as time passes. How much more conflict and terror can the world take till it breaks? Will things ever let up, or is this how things are going to be for the rest of time?

The idealistic part of me believes that at its roots, humanity is good, and we will eventually beat the hatred that seems to have poisoned the globe. The realistic part doubts that we can pull together.

It has struck me watching the 2016 presidential race unfolding that politicians commonly play off of voters’ fear to secure support. If they can make people afraid and then insist that they can fix what is scaring them, the politicians gain support. This practice disgusts me – there is a lot for people to be afraid of in the world today, and making things worse for your own benefit makes you the lowest of people in my mind.

I realize that with all of the world’s problems, there can be no quick fix, and that there may be nothing I, as an individual, can do to make very much of a difference. But I am determined to be the opposite of a fear-mongering politician. I want to be as informed as possible, and to share that information with others, because to me, it seems to be the key to stopping fear. I want to fight hatred by being respectful and loving of all I come in contact with. I want to make sure that nothing I am doing is making the situation any worse.

There is certainly a lot of terror in the world, but there is also a lot of hope for those who choose to see it. It is true that much of the news I read is negative, but for all the bad, there is a great deal of good occurring as well. Humanity has proved time and time again that it is resilient, and I do sincerely hope that we can come back from our present troubles. The key, to me at least, is putting aside our fears, respecting our differences, and doing our best to love as much as possible.

Fall OU Cousins

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This semester, I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know another OU cousin! I always enjoy participating in OU Cousins because it is an amazing way to broaden my horizons and meet people from all across the world right here in Norman.

The matching party at the beginning of the semester was fairly hectic, as always, but I enjoyed it more than I ever have before. I had many great conversations with potential cousins from across the world! It was amazing to hear stories from all over the globe, and get to share some of my own. I can’t think of another organization on campus that brings so many diverse people together, and I think it is so valuable.

At the end of the night, I matched with a wonderful girl from Germany! Throughout the semester, it was great getting to know her better, comparing each other’s cultures to see what we share and what is radically different, and seeing her thrive as she settled into Norman and explored it and other cities with fellow international students. And, I think we carve a pretty mean bat pumpkin, if I do say so myself.

This semester proved to me yet again that OU Cousins is a fantastic organization, and I feel so blessed to be able to participate. It’s bizarre to think that next semester, I will be the foreigner hoping that native students will welcome me in!

A Semester in Spain: Daunting and Exhillerating

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It is the Wednesday of finals week, the last week I will spend at OU for quite some time. Next semester, I am off to Alcalá de Henares, Spain, to live with a host family, take classes for my Spanish minor, and soak in everything about my new surroundings that I can.

Studying abroad in Spain has been a dream of mine for YEARS, and I almost can’t believe it’s actually here. A large part of me is incredibly excited for the great adventure I’m about to embark on. Another large part of me is terrified!

It will be a complete departure from the normal – speaking in Spanish (a language in which I am definitely proficient, if a little rusty), living with a family I have never met, and completely starting over. My jitters remind me of how I felt before I came to OU; I worried myself sick only to absolutely love every minute of my college experience. Just as before, I know that my worrying will be for naught; next semester is going to be one that I remember for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I will ever be able to live in Europe (or anywhere abroad, for that matter) again, so this is my shot.

I have always been so fascinated with foreign people and cultures, specifically the Spanish culture, and can scarcely believe that I get to live among them for an entire semester. A city that I have never been to will feel like home in a few months. People that I have never met will be difficult to leave. It’s all so crazy! I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself, but I think the best thing for me to do at this point is to enjoy my last few weeks with family and friends here, pack my bags, and leap into the unknown with both feet.

I can’t wait to see what happens.