Day 124: It’s Easy to Shut Yourself from the World… / by Sarah Kakusho

The greatest obstacle, devilish function, challenge has fallen upon me this week. I want to start by saying that the system here in Argentina isn’t something to really gloat about. Before this week, I didn’t realize how I was doing in any of my classes, save my lit class which had its midterm way in October. I received both my grades for both of my other parciales for my other 2 classes.

2s. The system here works on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the highest. In other words, I’m failing two classes. My heart sank. I lost all will to stand, suddenly felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt alienated. Two tests I thought I had done well on and these were the end results. I had studied tirelessly for one, and even studied with a group for other.

Fucking 2s. It was like getting hit by a truck twice, only because I found out my grades on two separate days.

Is this what my study abroad here has come down to? Failing grades? To add salt to the wound, for one of my classes, my friends [also exchange students] passed. I didn’t want to see them. I didn’t have the courage to face them…rather…anybody. I was ashamed. So I left.

You know the moments in movies when some poor guy gets dumped or something and he goes into this trance while stumbling along the street side, humming some unrecognizable song in the rain. That’s what it felt like. I finally understood what it’s like to feel so low.

Usually, I find myself drowning myself in music with English or Japanese lyrics whenever I’m stressed about anything. But, recently I lent my friend my USB cable to charge my iPod, so I drained it well before I got these grades back.

It’s so easy to shut yourself out from the world. You just put ear buds in your ears and let pieces of home heal your heart.

When I needed this the most, I didn’t have it. The world completely crashed on me and there was nowhere for me to escape. I was so stuck in a world I didn’t want to be in, I began to shut the world out completely. I didn’t care what happened to me. My legs just took me where they wanted me to and the breath in lungs slowly escaped my throat, creating a song that even I didn’t know. The Castellano around me never reached me. It was as in an instant my ability to speak and understand Castellano disappeared. I wanted to stand in the middle of traffic and just let it all go. Because I felt that I had nothing to cling to.

Normally, I wouldn’t freak about bad grades, but just in the context of how I’m able to study abroad in the Butler program because I fought to get in, made me feel horrible. “It’ll be too difficult for you…” “You’re not proficient enough…” Those words just kept repeating and repeating in my head over the course of those days. I fell deeper and deeper into those words. I could just imagine the “I told you so” the moment I stepped back on campus. What was my purpose for being here? Why did I come? Every reason I had come here for completely left my mind.

I really didn’t know how I would get myself out of this episode.

But I think one thing for sure [and I truly realize this now] is that I’m so protected. Both of these days I was able to confide in friends who’ve helped me get out of this. And my dad called me out of the blue, which, just hearing his voice made me feel much better. I talked to my mom about it also, and I’m just so appreciative to have parents that support me with this situation.

I’m still in that trance and I think I still have some block in my mind, although I’m slowly getting out of it. I’m able to at least retake these exams this coming week so I need to prep up for that and then prepare for the finals that come after. There’s no time for me to waste. It’s either I fail not trying, or I try to pass with my all.

Within my last 31 days here, I have two re-takes, one 4-page essay, one book report, one 10-page essay, a presentation on feminism, a short film, and 3 oral presentations to write and prepare. My heart wants to go home, so bad. But, I’m almost there. Just a few bumps to get over.

All I can do now is chant, renew my determinations, work and study all that I can. These obstacles are coming to me now for a reason, and surely if I overcome them, some good will come. I’m setting aside any setbacks for now, but surely some repercussions will come later. But, right now, I just need to focus on the “now”. The causes I’m making today for my tomorrows…

Thanks for the support.