Before and After: Doing What The Romans Do

Looking back at the past year and a half or so, it is interesting not only to see in which ways you have changed, but also in which ways you haven’t. Personally, I have changed by becoming more self-reliant yet my penchant for trying new things has stayed the same.

My first semester in the Writing minor was during my first semester of my junior year. I lived in a house with twelve other girls. One day I found myself alone, a rare occasion. The quiet made me anxious and I was looking for something to do. Out of a combination of boredom, curiosity and spontaneity, I decided to paint my room. It seemed easy enough: I had painted before, but never a room. How hard could it be? There were no patterns and I was just using one color. After emptying the walls, I opened the can of paint and started in the middle of the wall.

I was wrong: it was not easy at all.

The paint dripped, the colors were uneven and I ended up not even having enough paint. My room started to look like a bad pattern of polka dots.  After a lot of determination and learning by experience, I finally finished the room.  Although it didn’t look professional, I was happy because I had challenged myself to do try something new.

The color only stayed for a semester because I spent my second semester studying abroad in Rome. I had not realized how much I had changed until I was in the Charlotte airport in mid-May. It was my first time in the United States in four months. After experiencing travelling for an extended period of time in a new environment, I felt more confident in my own ability to be independent and try new things. At the same time, I was still surprised by what I saw: I was in culture shock because of my own culture.


I got off the plane that had taken off from Rome and I immediately out of place. My clothes stood out, I was not used to people greeting me in English, seeing restaurants with a variety of food from all around the world and using the Internet wherever I was. When I discovered my plane back home was delayed four hours, I decided to get rid of my culture shock as best as possible and embrace my surroundings. Just like trying to paint my room for the first time, I had tried something new and was happy with my experience. Unlike earlier that year, I travelled around with more confidence and curiosity than ever before.

2 thoughts to “Before and After: Doing What The Romans Do”

  1. I can totally relate to your experience with being more independent and willing to try things outside of your normal routine. I found that both of our blog posts have similar themes/realizations about how we have changed throughout college. I also like the story you included about painting your room 🙂

  2. I find the first story very funny and I can picture it so well in my head haha. You mentioned how you learned from experience and I couldn’t help but wonder how you learned. For example, did you watch Youtube videos or ask someone?

    I also loved the second story because I can directly relate. I studied abroad in Germany for two months and it was pretty scary at first. I think it made me a little more independent as I was so far from home. 🙂

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