Dear Me in August,
So, I know you’re stressed right now. You’re leaving for Cambodia in a month and you’re panicking about packing, whether or not you’ll like the food, and how are you going to survive without your brother’s dog?? You’re worried about doing real science coming from an almost entirely Humanities background and if you’ll get along with the other people in the program. I know you’re pretty stressed about the 20 hours of transit, but it will fly by — just watch the movies and don’t think about having to pee in the window seat!
I’m writing you from the future to quell your fears and stresses! You are about to learn so much about yourself, this beautiful country, and yes — even science! Remember that no one else in the program knows each other yet, so your awkwardness will be mirrored. The people who are in this program share your interests and values, so you really don’t need to worry about not liking them. Remember that this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime type experience where you will learn invaluable life lessons from the people here. You’ll hear stories and listen to perspectives that you wouldn’t have otherwise known, which is not something you can get from watching Netflix in your room. You’ll learn to love all of the ups and downs of travel, especially days when vans break down, but then you get to boat down the Mekong River while watching the sun set and the stars come out. Trust your gut and don’t worry about the little things. Also relax, there is a dog, Safi, to pet and a cat, Misty, to terrorize by holding so you’ll get your fix of petting animals!
I know you’re nervous, as you are me from the past, but remember you are capable and you have an amazing support system when you get here!
Best wishes from Cambodia,