Missing Milan

  • Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project

My STEP Signature Project was an education abroad program through the Fisher School of Business. I studied in Milan, Italy at Bocconi University where I took a mix of business and fashion classes.


  • What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

While studying abroad, one major thing I learned about myself is that I am very adaptive. I thought I would have a lot of culture shock when I first arrived to Italy, but I felt that I fell into a daily rhythm pretty quickly. I feel that since I was able to adapt to a foreign country quickly, I will be able to adapt to various situations and new environments that I will encounter throughout my life. This experience has helped me see the world in a new way too. Traveling through Italy and other countries has made me realize to slow down in life. A lot of people are constantly preoccupied with the next task or event we have to complete that we often fail to stay in the present moment. I know personally from college life that I have a tendency to go on autopilot and just go through my days to complete all of my tasks. Before I know it, life is going to pass me by and I have failed to stop to enjoy the little things in life.


  • What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

Realizing I am adaptive was my first mindset transformation and I feel that is attributed to a multitude of things. My first real challenge in Italy was getting accustomed to hearing a different language. The first few days I was afraid to order food because I did not know any Italian. Eventually I learned enough to get by, but it was intimidating to try speaking the language as well. It definitely pulled me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be okay with feeling a little out of place.

Another big obstacle to adapt to was how the university was organized. Most of my grades were dependent on a final or a final and a group project. This is completely different from OSU because you get multiple assignments and tests that go toward your grade. It took time to adjust to having no other assignments and to focus solely on a final at the end of the semester. All of my classes were pretty disorganized too. A lot of them strayed from the syllabus and guidelines for group projects were not explicitly laid out. The disorganization was a learning curve in itself, but I eventually found a good way to organize the school work for myself. ­

My other mindset transformation was to slow down and enjoy life more. A big part of this realization was from meeting a bunch of great people. The university I attended had about 900 exchange students so in the beginning I was meeting a bunch of people from all over the world. It felt as if I was in my freshman year of college again because of the new environment and the constant barrage of new people. I loved meeting the other students and learning about their backgrounds. I had a great time studying and traveling with my new friends and by the time the semester was over, I realized I had to say bye to them. There were some I would hopefully see again and there were others I knew I would never see again. I believe I am at this transient time in my life were new people are coming in and out of my life like a revolving door. This is not a sad thing, but it makes me realize to enjoy the people I meet, even if our paths are only meant to cross for a little while. Meeting new people from all over the world was pivotal to me realizing I need to slow down in life and live in the present moment.

Another thing that made me realize I need to live in the present moment was the constant traveling. Having the ability to travel every weekend is something I was fortunate enough to enjoy. This is why I did not take it for granted and tried to optimize my time in every new place. Whenever I visited a different country, I would just start to get the hang of being there and then I would have to return to Italy for school. It is easy to get into a routine of school and traveling that you forget to just be present in the moment and enjoy what is right in front of you. The beautiful sights and amazing food were fleeting moments of bliss. I tried to remind myself I may never visit this country again so enjoy it as much as I can. When I finally was leaving Italy, I told myself if I never come back again to not be sad, because I felt I embraced the country in every way possible.


  • Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

I know that the transformations I have gone through will play a significant role in my life. Being adaptive in new situations and environments will assist me in my long-term goal of starting my own business. Becoming an entrepreneur has no clear-cut path, so I need to be ready for whatever challenge comes my way. Learning to slow down in life and enjoy the present will help in my personal life immensely as well. I need to cherish the family, friends, and opportunities I have first before I jet off to the next thing in life. I believe that my mindset transformations will be vital for my personal and professional success throughout life.


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