It’s insane to think that I have less than a month left in my study abroad experience. I have made many new friends, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. Through all of this, I have also faced a couple of hardships. Recently I have started to feel homesick, which is a new feeling for me. I have not felt homesickness while studying in Pittsburgh since my hometown of Philadelphia is so close. Being stuck across the ocean and not seeing my family in three months has really taken a toll, especially when my roommates’ families are visiting. My mom has been my rock throughout the entire experience, always making time to talk to me (despite her being five hours behind!) and giving the best advice on how to push past the hardships.
As much as I wish my homesickness was the biggest challenge I have faced since coming to London, I have had to face something that I consider to be worse, all on my own. I see my biggest challenge since moving to London as being the workload. Between classes and my internship, there have been a lot of times that I have felt that I have no time for myself. This feeling was at its peak the week after spring break. After having a week off, it was really stressful for me to have all of my assignments due at once. I remember spending hours of my time sitting at my kitchen table, typing away on my laptop. I put myself under a lot of stress and couldn’t seem to find a way out.
A walk by the River Thames is always relaxing.
I finally decided to address the situation when I fell asleep at the table while working on my homework. My first order of business to get myself back on track was to make a schedule. This allowed me to organize my time so that I could plan time for myself. Next, I decided to try to find another place to do my work. When I’m on Pitt’s campus, I do most of my work at my desk in my bedroom, where it’s quiet. Since I don’t have a desk in London and live with five other people, it’s hard for me to find quiet time to do homework. I started heading over to the CAPA building a lot more before classes and find time to go over to friends’ places to study with them. The third thing that I did that really improved upon my stress levels was switching to a healthier diet and making sure that I got more sleep. Not only was I not falling asleep at the table any longer, but I was more focused on my work and could complete it more quickly.
If I were to give advice for future study abroad students, it would definitely be to study with friends! Not only will you meet people from across the US, but they can help calm your worries when you begin to stress out!