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The Inspiration Found Abroad

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My motivation was dwindling. The spark and aspiration I entered college with had become a dying flame, hardly reminiscent of its former self. I knew I wanted to work with video production ever since I was a freshman in high school. Hearing peers and classmates say they loved my work meant everything to me, and it made me realize that I wanted to chase that feeling of fulfillment. It didn’t take long for me to realize: 4 years is a long time for fulfillment to last. 

My college career was constantly full of ups and downs, causing me to question this passion I once had. The recurring worry was always, “Am I making the right choice pursuing a degree in film?” How can this really be my passion if I don’t always feel good at it? Luckily, I had another interest to take up my thoughts for the next couple of months.  

The opportunity to study abroad had revealed itself, and with my last year of university approaching fast, I knew it was now or never. I had always wanted to travel to Australia, so I knew that’s where I wanted to complete my final collegiate semester. Little did I know, that’s where I’d learn the answer to this great question pressing my mind.  

In Melbourne Australia I’ve had amazing experiences such as witnessing historic landmarks, incredible music at festivals, volunteering to build for Habitat for Humanity, and making new adventurous friends. I’ve gotten to witness a new culture as well, one in significant contrast to the one I’ve been raised in. Here in Australia, they are known for their friendly, easygoing attitude. The phrase “no-worries” is one you’re bound to hear everyday, and you can be sure that they mean it. I realized that in America, I had been overly subjected to the “grind-mentality.” In my mind, in order to prove myself I needed to work, work, and work as to demonstrate the desire for my passion. What I didn’t realize was that this was only leading me to a state of exhaustion. With no rest or way to refresh, this passion I was working so hard to achieve was only being spent and drained. 

It took me some time to adjust to the lifestyle, but I realized that in my specific situation, this is what I needed. Art isn’t something that can be forced. Instead of sitting at my computer, kicking myself for being unable to write, edit, or conceptualize, I’d simply get out of my room, hang with friends, go to the beach, or explore the city. Doing these activities and not trying to develop new ideas would, funny enough, bring new ideas and encourage my passion. You can’t work yourself dry and expect a proper final product. Life is about balance. With too much relaxation, work won’t happen; and with too much work, efficient work or relaxation won’t happen. That balance is perfectly established here in the Australian culture and is something I plan to bring back with me on my return flight to the United States. 

I find it funny that it took me 4 years and traveling to the complete opposite side of the world to learn this lesson, but sometimes life works that way. The last semester here has shown me a new approach to problems, work, and one’s attitude; something I was unable to comprehend for three and a half years at my home university. In the grand-scheme, I believe these discoveries will last me a lifetime, as well as influence my future relationships, outlook, and career. For the first time in a long time, I can say that I am confident in my soon-to-be future outside of college. 

Good luck to everyone studying, wanting to study, or currently studying abroad! Remember: life’s too long to wait and too short to worry. 

Mat Fronk is a student at Boise State University and studied abroad with IFSA through the University of Melbourne Partnership. He is an International Correspondent for IFSA through the Work-To-Study Program.