I’m writing to you while I sit on floor of an airport, Gimpo airport to be exact. It’s a sunny day at the end of July, and I’m about to board a flight with the love of my life to Korea’s “honeymoon island,” or as it’s also known, “Korea’s Hawaii.” Reflecting back on my life a few years back, I never would have thought I’d find myself in the blessed position I’m in, nor would I have thought life could be THIS good. Yet, here I am and it is.

Just last year, I was traveling through the Philippines, and now I’m island hopping. Boy, did it feel good to take a risk. So, naturally, I decided to write about it. I couldn’t help but think about how similar the journey of individual travel is to the college experience. Some travelers flourish, others want nothing more than to go home. Some embrace the diverse experiences they collect, and others eagerly flee from them. Some want to soak in all of the information they can, others are perfectly satisfied with what they already know. Here are what my most recent two trips taught me that I’d like to share with you.

1. College is a lot like travel. You will leave your comfort zone.
Whether you voluntarily choose to do so or not, travel will challenge your world views and how you communicate with others. Similarly, college does the same. Both places expose you to people who might have drastically different views than you, some of which you wouldn’t associate yourself with normally. You know what, though? That’s a great thing, because you will learn so much more about what you’re capable of, and the things you learn in both situations will likely aid you in your future endeavors.

2. Reward can accompany risk.
Getting a college education can be a big risk, after all, there is no guarantee of job placement or success. Traveling or working abroad, too, can be a big risk. It is not uncommon to find people who genuinely loved going to school and others who abhorred the entire process. It is also not uncommon to find people who traveled to feel either very pro or con a certain country based on their experiences there. What matters is putting yourself out there. Whether you’re joining a new club, taking up writing for your school newspaper for the first time, or studying abroad, the potential is there for you to have the best experience of your entire life.

3. Life is a ticking clock.
The moments we tend to remember are those that have strongly impacted us. Typically, those memories are either very traumatic and keep us up at night, or are our happiest, proudest, and most honorable moments that give us an inner warmth. Traveling, like college, is usually very temporary. That’s exactly why you should take on any opportunity you can and not be afraid of failure or rejection. Build positive experiences and memories now.

In college you will explore yourself. Your travel itinerary will be your thoughts, values, feelings, and ambitions. Your souvenir will be your degree. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep exploring.