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Tests, presentations, words I do not understand, lack of sleep, pressure. Everyone understands this. And everyone lets it get to their head.

Yesterday, after a four hour morning French class, I rushed home to fall on my bed and sleep for three hours even though I had a good night’s sleep before. My brain was yelling at me “Stop listening to French! I cannot absorb all of this! Rachel, I need rest!” and of course, I gave in.

I woke up in the afternoon to my white walls and blinds caving me in to my own solitude. The pile of French grammar exercises were taunting me as if to say “Tu sais que tu devras me completer par demain…” And I yelled back, “No more French!” The stress, the feeling of being alone, the constant brain power which leads to constant exhaustion was all bearing down on me like a heavy weight that wanted to break me.

The loud ding-ding noise came from my phone to tell me I had a text message. It’s funny–people criticize technology as bringing you out of reality, but this time, my text message brought me back into the world.

“Hey what are you doing? Want to go grab a beer and watch the sunset? Bisous!” the screen cheerfully displayed. It was my friend Katherine from Australia.

I let out a sigh of relief–yes! The sunset! In Switzerland! I am in Europe! I completely forgot where I was!

I left my cold, white room and monotonous French exercises without remorse–they were stressing me out anyway.

I met Katherine outside and we grabbed a cold Heineken on our way up a hill to overlook the lake. The sky was turning pink as the sun hid behind the mountain to our right, but still peeked out enough to glitter on the waves of the lake in front of us.

In this perfect setting, we spoke about serious topics and then laughed about how outrageous some things in Lausanne are, and I couldn’t help but feel so happy. We all search for the meaning of life but what if the answer is right in front of us? Yes I came here to study-but I have to remind myself to enjoy life and just being alive. Goodbye stress, hello real life.

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