Closing a Chapter?

As I prepare for my final exams here in my second semester in Braunschweig, my days are being split up in chapters. Today I finished summarizing 2 chapters of Computer Networks, or the Lecturer saying “Today we’re starting the new chapter on recursion”. Really my whole life as a student has been divided into chapters.

I have currently 15 days left in Germany, specifically Braunschweig(BS). Then this chapter of my life is closed. But I have to ask myself- When I close a chapter during studying, is it because I’m done with that material? Can I then forget that chapter and move on?

I certainly have been approaching this transition back home this way.

The goal and purpose of studying, of learning how the world works, is to apply that knowledge in my life later, and ultimately be prepared for whatever may lie ahead. This “chapter” of my life in BS has certainly contained a significant amount of content. As I look at the “Chapter Review” there are so many things that I will immediately be “tested” on upon returning stateside.

A few things:

  1. I’ve learned how to study. (Ich habe gelernt, wie ich lernen soll)
    German university classes have almost no homework, which means that students have to be committed to studying and preparing for exams. No, you don’t have to go to lecture, No alot of time you don’t even have to do the homework. You just have to pass the exam.
  2. I’ve learned “I am not my resumé”
    Before I came to Braunschweig, I had multiple jobs and was crazy busy. When people asked about hobbies, I would say “well, I don’t really have any”– I defined myself by what I did.
    Upon coming to BS, my jobs were gone; I had no one to answer to, and no one to be responsible for; I was really lost in the first few days. In the interest of this very public blog, I’ll just write that I now know that no matter what circumstances lay ahead, I will still be me; Greg;
  3. I’ve learned the importance of online privacy
    Germans are crazy about “Datenschutz”… Large companies like google knowing everything about you. My attitude when I first came was simply: If you don’t want people online to know about you, don’t put it up!
    I can’t say I’ve completely gone away from this opinion, but I have definitely had a few moments where I think… How does google know about this event coming up in my life; I haven’t sent any emails about it; haven’t done web searches;  haven’t put it in my calendar;  Huh?
  4. Lastly… I’ve learned that a more global perspective is possible
    One of my German friends said: “We’re not allowed to fight wars anymore here in Europe, so we play Football! (Soccer)” I have really appreciated that my outlook on the world has changed. That watching the news (from good sources) is normal, and that a more open mind is possible.

So as I “Close” this chapter in my life, I can’t wait to experience the events for which this chapter has prepared me for. The people I’ve met here; the things that I’ve done here. This may be the end of a chapter, but it is certainly not the end of a book. The climax of the plot is yet to come.



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