26 Days Later: Student reflects on studying abroad in Scranton

Published: February 25, 2016

AQUINAS PHOTO / EMMA SILVA / ROBERT SOUTHWELL, S.J., famously said these words that adorn the outside of the Denaples Center.

AQUINAS PHOTO / EMMA SILVA / ROBERT SOUTHWELL, S.J., famously said these words that adorn the outside of the Denaples Center.

Commentary by
JIMENA PACHELI

While one day seems to go by in a delirious slow motion, weeks seem to pass with the swiftness of water that slinks away through the invisible grasp of my hands.

I am a pebble merging in the welcoming stream of The University. As the days go by, I feel like I have become more acquainted and involved with this community.

However, whereas I have no problem making my way around socially, I still wonder what things, such as social norms or topics, are open for discussion, or are easily misinterpreted and could potentially offend someone.

Upon being asked by the professor the significance of a series of numbers in the story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, I raised my hand and said “The series of numbers spoken by Arnold Friend in the story, point to a passage in the Bible. Also, if summed up they give a result of 69.”

Although hopefully meaningless, I certainly felt my cheeks burning when the professor said that he was not going to say anything about that since The University is a Catholic university. Do these kinds of things depend on the professor, or is it a general consensus that such subjects must not be spoken about within the classroom? But I didn´t say anything wrong, did I?
We were analyzing the story and everything was within the context of the story. Still, the thought of knowing I may have actually been mistaken with my wording makes me feel rather embarrassed. All this thinking leads me back to my original inquiries. How do I know if what I am saying could potentially offend someone or have a scandalous or awkward result?
So far, I´ve only gotten one answer and that is: “Jimena, when in doubt, just keep your mouth shut.”

The life of an exchange student can go way beyond just studying. There are social adventures going on and I constantly meet new people.

Everyone here is nice and friendly. However, there is that one person whom I seem to be bonding with in a rather special way. Am I crushing on someone? I´d say yes! However, where things might go, only time will tell.

26 days later, I´m peacefully swimming in this river of new people, new experiences and a great journey towards self- discovery and personal growth.

Contact the writer: jimena.pachecoelizondo@scranton.edu

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