I made a point in coming to Spain with a less rigid schedule and the vow to not plan out every last detail, to be more of a go with the flow type of person. So far it is going rather well. (Insert audible gasp by my mother here.)
As a more detailed explanation as to how my flexibility has changed I have created two before and after scenario.
"Andrea, Switzerland is not going to work and we have to find another option:"
Three months ago: My jaw drops and I say, "You have got to be kidding me." I then would have become extremely frazzled, distraught and frustrated. I would have entered an extreme planning mode, whipped out my planner, calculated which weekends work best with upcoming exams, trips, cost, hostel arrangements etc.
Now, three months later: "No problem, lets see what we can find." (Insert an audible gasp by my friends who have thought this day would never come.)
Since I've adopted the more carefree, less pressure mentality it's been quite easy and pain free to change plans, make spontaneous decisions and at times just follow the crowd.
In three weeks time I am heading to Barcelona to recoup after our midterm exams and the weekend before I believe another student in the program and I are taking a day trip to El Escorial, The Valley of the Fallen and or Avila, a beautiful town Northwest of Madrid and coincidentally where my señora grew up. We haven't made any concrete decisions yet, but we have plenty of time.
Day trip and we haven't made any concrete decisions:
Three months ago: This is not enough time to plan, what are we going to do? How are we going to get there? What time of the day should we leave? Get back? Oh my gosh this is all happening so fast! Are we sure we want to go to El Escorial and The Valley of the Fallen all in one day? Jeepers, this is stressful.
Now: Okie doke, lets worry about it after exams and look it up a few days before we go.
I personally laugh at this personal growth. All my life people have told me to take a chill pill and calm down. I thought that was absurd because who else was going to get things done? Well, the answer is still me but in a calmer, more convenient manner that benefits everyone involved. Who knew all it would take was half a contingent, the Atlantic Ocean and four months abroad to calm my worrywart side of me down.
In summary, studying abroad gives you more experiences than you could ever imagine and it simultaneously allows you to develop as a person as long as you let it. At first I didn't want to let the experience change me because I was afraid of what it would change, but now I'm glad I did. And so is my warnout planner.