Read This When Things Don’t Go As You Planned


By Kara Cuzzone ’19

In typical Holy Cross student fashion, I am a planner. But I haven’t always been this way. In fact, when I first arrived on The Hill, I hadn’t given much thought to what my four years here were going to look like. At all. Chalk it up to denial about having to leave home, or anxiety about the future, but I didn’t allot much time to daydreaming about my college days before I found myself right in the middle of them.

Then, I had my first anxiety attack. It turns out that thinking of the next four years as some sort of uncertain void isn’t exactly a great strategy. So I became a planner. My first big plan was that I would go abroad during my junior year. Italy, I decided, for no particularly strong reason. I’m part Italian, and I was already enrolled in Italian 101, so it seemed like a rational choice. Plus, the pictures I had seen of the Amalfi Coast looked pretty incredible.

With my plan in place, I began taking the necessary steps to make it happen. I kept taking Italian courses, and when the time came, I applied to spend my junior year abroad at the University of Bologna. Then, during the fall of my sophomore year, an intriguing email appeared in my inbox. It was advertising an information session for the College’s New York City Semester Program. “I could see you there,” my friend Mattie mused as she read over my shoulder. “Really?” I asked. The thought had genuinely never crossed my mind, but suddenly the wheels began turning.

“I’ll just check out the info session,” I thought, “what’s the harm?” After learning more, I was hooked. The idea of living in New York City and getting a peek into the world of journalism got my heart racing (in the good way). I decided to apply, figuring that if I got into the program, then I would have a decision to make. Much to my excitement––with a tinge of dread––I got in.

Because the Study Abroad office typically doesn’t let students go to Bologna for only a semester, I had to make a difficult choice. Should I stick with my original plan and satisfy my wanderlust by spending my junior year in Italy? Or should I spend a semester in New York City and find an internship in women’s media? I agonized over the decision. I consulted anyone who would listen––my therapist, professors, even acquaintances who didn’t know the full story. And naturally, I got opinions that were pretty split down the middle.

Ultimately, I realized that it came down to either sticking with the plan that I had worked towards and accepted as fact for almost two years, or choosing something new and unexpected that lit me up. Spoiler alert: I went with the latter. I sent an email to Study Abroad explaining that after some careful thought, I would not be spending my junior year in Bologna, and excitedly accepted a spot in the New York Semester Program.

The experience (and agonizing decision process) taught me something important. You can only make a plan that’s best for you at that very moment based on the options in front of you. And that might change in a day, or a month, or in my case, almost two years. That’s okay. Plans are great, but they aren’t everything. And you certainly shouldn’t do something just because it’s “the plan” if it doesn’t feel right. Now, almost two years later, I’ve never once regretted my choice to let go of what I thought I wanted in favor of what I felt called to.

Kara Cuzzone ’19 is a senior Anthropology major. Read more of her work at

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