By Lisa Marcy ’18
Photo courtesy of Mark Sobnosky ’18.
I like to poke fun at the place I live and where I grew up. Not because it’s a bad place, but simply because it is such a stereotypical small town. I’m not exaggerating when I say we drove our tractors to school (only one day a year, don’t worry), and you had best believe that the Great Geauga County Fair was one of the most important weeks of the entire year.
I arrived at Hiram College as a small-town girl who had grown up in a world with the same faces and names every single day. I thought campus was a wakeup call. So many different walks of life were in front of me every time I left my dorm. I thought to myself “this is what the real world is like.” Still I couldn’t help but feel like there was more.
When I heard about the trip to England it didn’t seem tangible. It felt like a far-off day dream that would be pushed to the back of my mind, tucked in a mental file cabinet titled “should’ve could’ve would’ve.” Somehow though, I talked myself into jumping at it and through a string of leaps and bounds, suddenly I was across the world from The Great Geauga County Fair and Tractor Day. Still, it wasn’t until I found myself standing in a battlefield where William Shakespeare placed one of his plays that I truly realized now I was in the “real world”. That’s ironic to think about because nothing about our trip felt real at all. Until I set foot back in Hopkins three weeks after leaving I felt like I was living some kind of extended day dream. No words that I use will accurately articulate what this trip meant to me and how it changed my life, so I’ll have to make do.
I left Cleveland on April 19th terrified of just about everything that wasn’t home. My mind always spins these worst-case scenarios until I’ve convinced myself that absolutely nothing but familiarity is safe. After three weeks abroad, I crave newness. That’s how I know I’ve been changed. Studying abroad expanded me, not just because of what I saw, but in my heart as well. I learned to roll with the punches (like being stranded in New York City for twenty-four hours the first night of the trip), and I learned to stop fearing new things to the point where I hide from them. The people on this trip were inspiring. We shared so many stories, emotions, and memories with each other I think it’s safe to say we are all bonded in some way, forever. It is because of these lessons and these people that for the first time in my life I truly feel prepared to become an adult. I’m not saying I don’t feel fear anymore, but instead of crippling me it has begun to drive me.
I’m still a small-town girl, and I always will be proud of that, but because of this trip and because of Hiram I am a small-town girl who has seen the world. That is irreplaceable.