Introduction

Hello, everybody. My name is Macs Smith and in two days I will be leaving for Paris for my summer research. I admit that when I was planning this research trip, I assumed that a week between the end of my finals and my departure would be more than enough time. One week of sitting at home, torturing myself with all the things I could be doing in France, telling my family stories about my spring semester to make it seem more interesting than it was… All of that would make one week feel like five, and five weeks seemed like a reasonable amount of time to leave myself to prepare. My current state of panicked anxiety suggests that maybe I was not entirely correct in my assumptions. I am reminded in retrospect of the first time I left for Paris: August of 2008, to spend my sophomore year abroad at Columbia’s program at the Sorbonne. After the longest summer of my life, working double shifts six days a week at a restaurant in DC to fund my Paris trip and counting the days down to my departure starting at 100, I finally got to the last week of waiting and felt my stomach fall into my feet. I was terrified and thought maybe I shouldn’t go.

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