I am a big fan of making lists, especially to-do lists. I came to terms long ago that the only way to combat my absentmindedness is to write every thing down. Some time during the 2016 fall semester, I wrote in the to-do section of my planner the following:
- look into IWU Freeman Asia Internships.
When I crossed off that, I added things like:
- Ask for recommendation letter
- Write Freeman application essays
- Complete and send application
After I was notified that I was lucky enough be one of the Freeman Grant recipients placed with Mizuno Corp., my to-do lists became populated with a constant flow of bullet points in order to prepare:
- Apply for Passport
- Study Abroad Pre-Departure packet
- Internship credit paperwork
- Other paperwork
- Even more paperwork
- First Japanese crash course class
- Study for Japanese crash course class
- Discuss turning Japanese short crash course class into longer elementary Japanese class
- Skype into Japanese class
- Study Japanese
- Start blog
- Go shopping- need business attire
- Call and notify bank of travel
And many, many more. My to-do lists have kept me on task and excited for my trip. However, they were always just little tasks on a list. I had to physically complete them, sure, but somehow all the preparation has continued to feel like the trip is some far-off trip that someone else is taking. Even now, a day before I leave, it somehow doesn’t feel real. Granted, no matter how many bullets I can tick off, I don’t think anything can fully prepare me for the list of “firsts” I’ll be able to cross off in the next six weeks:
- First time flying internationally
- First flight over 4 hours (18 total hours in the air with a layover in Taiwan)
- First time going to Japan
- First time being a true outsider in a culture I don’t really understand
- First time getting to try struggling through speaking some Japanese
- First time experiencing what it is like to work for a large international corporation
- All of the other things I will get to experience for the first time that I don’t even know about yet.
I am both extremely nervous and extremely excited to get to cross these items off my new list and cannot wait to share my thoughts and feelings with you as I do so.
P.S. One more list that I have (I warned you earlier- big fan of lists) is the list most dear to my heart. It’s my list of people who have helped me. It is a long list, and I am sure it will continue to grow as I arrive in Japan and meet more people. I am very excited to get to cross off “write thank-you cards” from my to-do list.
P.P.S. If you don’t want to suffer through reading my writing, (I wouldn’t blame you) but still want to get an idea of what I’m up to, check out https://lifeoflarkin.wordpress.com/ Sean will be my counterpart and plans to upload weekly vlogs documenting his experiences.