Summer school is in session

Another school year has come to an end, and another summer has begun. Every single summer I’ve spent in Hinsdale has felt like a variation of the same thing over and over again — a cup of coffee and reading on the porch in the mornings, long walks around town in the summer heat, working at night, hanging out with friends and the occasional vacation. Every single summer has been wonderful in its own way. But this summer, I’m looking for something different.

Luckily, different is exactly what I’m getting.

For the month of June, I’ll be studying travel writing in Prague through the UGA journalism school. In fact, by the time this article appears, I’ll already be there.

Traveling to Europe has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m still a little shocked that it’s my current reality.

There are the obvious things I’m excited for, like trying new foods, learning about Prague’s history and admiring the beautiful architecture, all while making new friends and memories. Also, I’m ridiculously excited for the coffee. However, there’s more to my anticipation.

Recently, I’ve been craving a unique experience that’s completely my own. I want to see the world — a world I’ve never seen before, and I want to be on my own in a way that’s different from my life at college. In all honesty, I want to see how I do — if I can challenge myself to live in a foreign country and embrace a culture and a world that is different from my own — if only for a few weeks.

But there’s a person I’m chasing, too — a version of myself that I haven’t yet met. There’s a girl with a new favorite dish and a new favorite coffee shop. A girl who has a newfound excitement for travel journalism and a love for a city to which she has only just become exposed. A girl who is excited, curious, enthusiastic and ready — ready for whatever the next three weeks have in store.

It can be easy to get trapped in the routine of life, to become too comfortable with the familiarity and safety of it all. However, for one summer, I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone, be more open-minded and live a little more.

Come July, I’ll be back to my normal summer routine, and I’ll be perfectly content with that. But for June, I’m looking for more. I’m looking for an adventure. And I’m hopeful I’ll find just that.

— Katie Hughes of Hinsdale, who just finished her junior year at the University of Georgia, is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].