(Read Part One here)
So there I was at Franciscan University of Steubenville in August of 1997. 13 hours from home, and all alone. I was missing my high school friends, and most of all my boyfriend whom I had just begun dating 4 months earlier. They were all still in Massachusetts. What was I doing in Ohio? My roommate was just okay, and my classes were a bit of a repeat from high school. I was a biology major because like most of my older siblings, I was going to be a doctor or at least something in the medical field.
My very first biology class was Botany, and the super-hard professor called on me the first class asking me to identify a plant. I had NO idea, I'm still not good with anything that grows green, and I felt really embarrassed. That class was my hardest class, and I eventually dropped it because it made me rethink the whole biology major. If I had someone to turn to for advice, I may not have made that decision, but in the end I am glad I switched. The next semester, I decided to become a double major - Theology and Journalism. Mostly because I had to pick something, and I liked to write and we had the greatest theology professors right on campus (Scott Hahn and Mark Miravalle, just to name a couple).
That major lasted for only one semester (Theology requires deep thinking, and I'm more of a worker bee) and by the beginning of my sophomore year, I switched again, this time to Accounting. I must admit, I picked this without really knowing what it entailed, but I LOVE math and the computerized tests I had taken in high school said I should become an accountant. And who's to argue with a computerized test that picks your career?? ;)
Luckily, accounting and all the business classes came easy to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I think growing up in a family business really helped! I was still missing my old friends, and still dating the boy from back home, who now was going to college in Maine. But, I was also making lots of new friends, most of them from other countries (they used to joke that I was the minority when we all hung out) and joined a volleyball team. I was enjoying the whole college experience, yet still felt I was missing something. I began thinking about when I would go to Austria in our study-abroad program. Part of me didn't want to go and be away from home and my boyfriend for a whole semester, but a bigger part of me knew this was an opportunity I couldn't miss. I worked extra hard that school year, making money by scrubbing toilets in the dorm, working as a secretary on my Christmas break, and taking extra business classes during the summer.
By the time January 2000 came along, I was ready to start the second half of my Junior year in Gaming, Austria. After a teary-eyed departure from the Boston airport, I waved goodbye to my parents and boyfriend and began an adventure that would change my life...