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The 411

by Becca Kaplan | Apr 07, 2017

There comes a time in every person’s life when something (or someone) comes into their world and changes it forever. It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly this is supposed to happen – some say it occurs when a person enters high school, others say when they graduate college – or how often this momentous event is supposed to take place. Personally, I think it could happen at any point in life, and it can occur multiple times. I’d like to believe that people can change; they might need a push or a supernatural sign of some sort to do it, but it happens. For me, I think my first major life-changing event would be moving to Florida at 10 years old. I know that I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t moved 1,000 miles away from my extended family in northern Indiana to the Sunshine State. Don’t get me wrong, Indiana will forever have a special place in my heart, but Middleburg, Florida will always be home to me. It’s where I really grew up, where I made most of my childhood memories, where I found my first real friends; it’s where I first got a sense of the kind of person I wanted to be in life.

After I had graduated high school in the spring of 2015 and moving to the North Manchester area to start classes at Manchester University that summer, I was lost. I had always been pretty independent, but this was different – I was living (at least financially) on my own, I had a car all to myself, and I had complete freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it. After about a month of boredom, I decided to get my first college job. I ended up getting hired at the North Manchester Pizza Hut, where I worked up until December 2016, and where I will possibly return in the fall. During this first year and a half in the Hoosier State, I thought I was figuring out my life. I thought that I had my head on my shoulders, and that I knew what I wanted out of life. That’s the thing though – all it takes is one little event to turn a person’s life upside down. For me, this “little” event wasn’t so little.

I went to Spain, where I am currently only one month away from coming home to the United States from my semester abroad. Ever since I was little, I have wanted to see Europe; it’s this magical place where people are nicer, healthier, and dress impeccably. So, here I am. I’ve come a long way in such a short amount of time. I’m more confident, I’ve learned to accept the things that I cannot change, and I no longer live in the past. Don’t get me wrong, memories are cool – after all, I am a photographer – but looking back at who I was last semester… I was focusing so much on the past that I couldn’t be happy. Maybe it’s the distance thing, or the fact that I haven’t had to think about it since I got here, but studying abroad has easily been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It woke me up. I’ve met some amazing people since my arrival in January, and honestly, they’re some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Friends that travel together, stay together. That’s my opinion, anyway.

I love who I am now, and I love that I’m not afraid of standing up for myself anymore. I always thought that Manchester’s slogan was kind of dorky, but I really get it now. From almost 5,000 miles away, I’m starting to understand just what it means to “be my best self.” To MU, thank you for supporting me and helping me in any way that you could. Without your help (financially and otherwise), I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be the same person. To my friends and family, your support means the world to me. I’m so thankful for all that you’ve done for me.

One final note: I will be traveling around Italy for the next 10 days, so stay tuned to see what other sorts of adventures I’ll get myself into! Until next time. - B

Becca Kaplan ’19, is a Spanish Secondary Education major with minors in TESOL and Business. As a commuter student, she spends most of her time on campus either studying, watching Netflix, or writing her next blog post. When classes are not in session, Becca usually travels, either visiting her parents in Florida, or her extended family in St. Louis.

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