Living Spontaneously in Spain
Jake Franklin '08 gave me lots of advice during COOT, as many orientation leaders do. One piece that I actually remember was him telling me not to get into a strict routine at Colby. What he meant by this was, don't eat at the same dining halls with the same people every day, don't take the same route to classes or the athletic center, and don't sit at the same study carrel every time you go to the library. Although there is a sort of comfort in having a daily routine, he advised switching things up, at least from time to time. He would go to dining halls alone, on purpose! He would try to get involved with new clubs every year, meet new people and so on. He would go into a completely unknown situation and just go with it. He was telling us to not miss out on all the opportunities that Colby had to offer, because we felt comfortable with our schedule.
One way to really change up the normal routine is studying abroad. I am currently studying abroad in Spain, which is a bit of a change from the normal routine of Colby life. As I am writing this, it is 9:20 p.m. and I have yet to eat dinner. My host mother eats right before 10 p.m., and that is normal.
This past Columbus Day weekend, I had one of those change it up/ do something different weekends. Two friends and I had this great trip to northern Spain and southern France all planned out, but then the whole thing fell through, due to car rental and online problems. Instead of bagging the trip altogether, as my friends wanted to do, I thought back to good old Jakey Franklin's advice. Even though we likely would not be able to do and see as much as we wanted, why not go while I had the opportunity, because when else am I going to be living in Spain for an extended period of time?
So we bought bus tickets to San Sebastian and decided that we would just go from there, neglecting lodging and holiday bus schedules. The trip ended up being fantastic, even though there were a few bumps along the way. We never found a town or city that had open hostels or hotels, and about half the time, the bus that was promised to us never showed up. We attempted to sleep on a bench along a road, a gym, a church, a bus station hallway and a sweet playground structure, but ended up sleeping in a garage of a bus station, a mountain side 'hut' as the local kids who offered it up to us called it and under a canopy of a playground. We were stranded in a town of no more than 500 people for 3 nights with nowhere to sleep. However, we took advantage of some local hospitality, met some great people and did almost all of what we wanted to do. I plan to travel the same way next weekend when I go to southern Spain.
Tying this back to college life, what other time in life are there so many opportunities laid out for you to take advantage of then at Colby? It's an incredible school with outstanding people, and if you don't put yourself out there, you are missing out. By going up north without plans and deciding not to spend another weekend in Madrid, we got to see a whole different side of Spain.
With probably well over 100 clubs and organizations at Colby and plenty of other opportunities to volunteer, do research with a professor, take a class in a different field or join the track team, there is definitely more to Colby than any of us think. Take Jake's advice, go out there and switch up your routine.