Thursday, July 19, 2012

The hardest things so far

I'm so close to finishing my application! Unfortunately I'm still stuck on the hardest part. The short essays. It's not that they're particularly difficult essays, but answering about myself is always difficult. When they ask questions like "Why are you applying for this program" and you have to answer in Japanese it makes it that much more difficult.

I'm at the point where I need to just sit down, breathe and work through it. Procrastinating won't make it any better and let's face it. The application is due next week, so it's time to buck up and sally forth. I don't really have any advice for everyone on writing your essays for this part, I've always had trouble writing anything about myself when it comes to things like applications. Who knows what to say? Anyways, my four short essay questions are:

  1. Why are you applying for this program? (Japanese)
  2. Write about your studies at your home college, subjects you wish to study at JWU and your interests (educational, cultural, social and other) in Japan. Please state about your career goal in the future (if possible). (English)
  3.  Simple self introduction (personality, what I like about Japan, major, etc.) (Japanese - for the Tutor assignment form)
  4.  Interests (hobbies, special skills, etc.) (Japanese - for the Tutor assignment form)

You'd think numbers 3 and 4 would be easy, but  they're coming up just as difficult. Especially the personality part. We learned in Japanese 203 that when you're talking about your personality you can't just come out and say "I'm a kind person." That's too direct and it sounds like you're bragging about yourself so instead you have to say things like "I like to help people" or "I like to volunteer" or "my friends say I am a nice person." It's a little difficult when you're used to just straight up saying what you think you are like.

Another one of the mental hurdles for me right now is the fact of writing them in Japanese. If I were to write them in English I would know the proper format for things immediately. Not that it's much different in Japanese, I just worry about saying the wrong thing or coming across as rude or too direct. Thankfully I have my awesome tomodachi Marie (you remember her?) who is going to help me edit them once I write the drafts. That helps, but it's still intensely nerve wracking.

The other thing I want to talk about is the fact that I'm roughly 6 months away from leaving on my trip. Six months? Yeah. I said it. And the worst part about that? The worries are starting to majorly set in. For some reason I am suddenly very worried about the program and all kinds of concerns are popping up. I've had a few "That's it! I'm not going to Japan!" moments, but I think that is normal for anyone about to leave for a foreign country. Especially one with a language so much different than your own when you don't have a safety net. It's pushing me outside my comfort zone, which is a good thing, but it doesn't help the butterflies.

What does help the butterflies is having a wonderful support group pushing you to remember why you made this seemingly crazy decision in the first place. Every time I start doubting myself my friends, family and fiance are there to shoo the butterflies and help set my head on straight again. After all, if I gave up this opportunity I would never forgive myself.

So if you're getting close to your own program it's good to keep in mind that being afraid of leaving is probably pretty sane. Everyone has the up and down roller coaster of emotions, especially if it's the first time you're really leaving home for the first time. I remember balling for days when I moved two hours away from my family, but this is a whole other ball park. Fear, anxiety and doubts are all part of the process, but don't let it stop you! Look to your friends and family for support and keep pushing ahead! You can do it!!

Here's a little shout out to my awesome support group. There's a few of you not in the picture, but you know who you are!


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