College students: Let’s embrace wanderlust while we’re young

Julianna Koballa 

@UFPulseKoballa

As I sit in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis Missouri for the NCAA division 1 wrestling tournament, I reminisce on all the traveling I have done in my life. If it weren’t for my parents dragging me to wrestling tournaments, or playing all over the Midwest for softball tournaments, I don’t know what kind of person I would be today.

The importance of travel is essential. It is through traveling that we witness other cultures and ways of life. It is through traveling that we realize a lot about ourselves.

I have done most of my traveling by car simply because I am afraid of airplanes. Go ahead, tell me that driving by car is more dangerous than flying—I know. But there’s something about being in a plastic tube 30,000 feet up in the air that scares the crap out of me. With that being said, I’ve taken a lot of trips and stopped at sketchy rest stops but it is by driving through “fly over states” that I have genuinely appreciated America’s farm land and highway system. Think about it. Miles and miles and miles of roadway are all over our country. Acres and acres cover our country’s floor. Pictures can’t possibly do it justice. It is something we have to directly experience to appreciate.

Whether it is traveling abroad for school, or just taking weekend trips to other universities, or even just taking a ride back home, traveling pulls out traits and thoughts in ourselves that we never thought we had.

A writer for the Huffington Post had similar ideas. Traveling while in our student years is extremely important and gratifying. Traveling is something I get excited about. When given the opportunity, I make arrangements to make it possible.

“What is the one thing that people regret about their college years? Many alumni will say they wish they had taken the opportunity to travel or study abroad. So many students graduate without taking the leap and traveling, then regret it later. Now, more than ever, it is becoming increasingly important for college students to go abroad. Our world is growing in its demand for globally-minded people, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through travel and exploration,” said Kay Rodriguez of the Huffington Post.

I think we all can agree that the main reason college-aged students opt out of wanderlust is because of the damage it might do to our pockets. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to damage our bank accounts. There are tons of outside resources that can make traveling, or more specifically, studying abroad more affordable. When studying abroad, you are still a student and scholarships are available. Jump on this opportunity before you aren’t a student anymore and not eligible for that kind of money.

We constantly preach the idea that there are values and attributes that can’t be taught inside the classroom. These values almost always come from real-world experiences.

Rodriguez again says, “Investing in travel is like investing in an education—the results are intangible but extremely valuable. You will learn so much more than you do from a textbook, or from a class lecture, or from taking test after test with minimal sleep. Through travel, you have the opportunity to see first-hand the things you’ve learned, to put into practice the skills you’ve acquired. You gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart. Travel teaches tolerance, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness as well, three key skills that you can use for the rest of your life. Without travel, you will only see the world on a screen or in a book, but you will never get to experience it for yourself. Do you really want to let this opportunity pass you by?”

Take time to plan a trip. Go home for a couple weekends in a row. Experience life and people outside of Findlay, Ohio.

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