Posted on behalf of Nikhil Punnoose, who was unable to post from his mobile.
Walking through beautiful St. Mark's Square in Venice, taking one last look at the magnificent sculptures and buildings, reflecting on the end of my wonderful month-long trip through Europe, and simultaneously looking through my mail and staggering at the incredible number of things I am supposed to finish even before orientation, one thought keeps running through my head: what have I gotten myself into for the next two years?
Alright, I exaggerated. For one thing, nobody can do all that at the same time. For another, this place (I am really writing this while waiting in a hour long line for St Mark's Basilica) is so chock full of tourists that if you don't pay attention you're bound to stumble into somebody (or get your pocket picked). Most of all, I feel confident that UCLA would not have admitted me if they didn't think I could handle it (you can't kick me out now, right? Right?).
On to more supposedly relaxing things: I'm in the final week of my month long solo trip through Europe, and it has been an unbelievable experience so far, and I got to do and see things and meet people that I never planned.
However, because I went into it thinking "hey, since there's no one to slow me down, let me make sure I don't get bored by going to 9 countries in 31 days", it has also been unbelievably hectic. I have turned sightseeing into something of a competitive sport, which might not be the best way to spend your vacation, even if I did get to see so many amazing things. On the other hand, it hasn't all been running around. I got to reconnect with some old friends after 3 years, trade worries with a future Anderson classmate on the banks of the Seine, and meet an internet friend in person after half a decade of talking online. I also got to hang out with an incredible variety of people that I met on my travels: a film director from Amsterdam, a Canadian energy consultant with BCG in Oslo (so I AM getting started on networking already), a Filipino accountant from Dubai, and of course any number of high school kids on their gap year revelling in the joys of European liquor laws.
One more week, and this short adventure will end for me. But that's OK, because in 3 more weeks I will be in LA, and I'm looking forward to a whole series of new adventures to come.