Posted on Tuesday, August 26th, 2003 at 11:14pm by Brett.
(Wednesday, August 27th, 2003 at 12:14pm Japanese Standard Time)
Brave. This is a word many people have used to describe someone who is willing to leave his country and study in a foreign country for a year. A few people have called what I am doing "brave." I don't feel brave doing this...right now I feel nervous, anxious, and maybe a little foolish...but not at all brave.
In just under a week, I will be in Japan. I have dreamed about being able to go to Japan as long as I can remember. I've wanted, as long as I know, to become fluent in Japanese. The culture completely amazes me. Everything about Japan is cause for awe to me. But right now, I'm not brave...I'm paniced and nervous and worried.
I just realized how very long a year is. (11 months, some people will be quick to correct me.) This is a long time to be...away. Not that I'm prone to get homesick, it's just...a long time for anything. Things change...people change. There's lots of changing going on. I was talking with Quinn-sensee a couple weeks ago. He told me that if I see every new situation in Japan as a challenge and a chance to expand in both knowledge and character, and if meet that challenge with an open and creative mind, I will come back a changed man. This is a kind of huge thing to tell a 21 year old guy.
I realized last night a lot of the nervousness and worry is because I'm afraid to fail. I have this giant placement test I have to take on the 8th for the language part of my classes. They say if you do poorly, they'll just put you in the lowest class. Well, I don't want to be in the lowest class. I want to be in a class that will teach me Japanese, and not cater to a score on a test. I'm worried I won't learn enough over there. I'm worried that I will waste this experience.
For what it's worth...looking at my notes I made during the OSU OIE orientation for study abroad stuff, I found, in between "You will do something stupid" and "MAKE MISTAKES!!!":
"You will feel like you are failing. You will feel lost. You will, at least once, hate it."
Not that I'm anticipating hating it...I'm just worried that I will do poorly on tests and fail.