To Pre-London Kaitlin:

If only you knew what would kind of adventures you’d have your next three months. Even though it might not have been seen as a big deal to apply to study abroad in a place like London, it was still such a huge step I am glad you took to get yourself out of your comfort zone and into a place far away from the familiar. 

I wish I knew how hard studying abroad could be. Being here has brought back a lot of feelings I felt my freshman year at Pitt. The feeling of isolation and anxiety taking over. Feeling like no one around you feels the same and you’re on your own, in a completely new environment, with no hands to catch you as you fall. But, as time goes on, everything will get better. The anxious build up will become less and less the more you explore the city and meet new people. Hard decisions will be made, but in the end, you realize you did what was best for you and have a better experience because of it. Know that your friends and family are there for you, supporting and cheering you on back home (special thanks to them- I don’t know what I would do without you guys). Although I didn’t know many people when I got here, I have met so many people, whether they go to a different school, or they go to Pitt as well! I am very grateful and lucky I have been able to befriend such amazing people, who I know I will keep in contact with later on in life (and possibly hit up Hem’s in my final year at Pitt).

Me at Wembley Stadium for a Football Match!

A piece of advice from me, to you, would be to do what makes you feel comfortable while studying abroad, but also, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Do something you have always dreamed of doing- whether that be booking a spontaneous trip to Rome, or simply spending the day with yourself, exploring the city one mile at a time (actually did that today and really decided to treat myself in Covent Garden). I would like to think of myself as someone who is independent, but sometimes, it is hard for me to actually do things by myself, especially in a new area. Knowing that you can have fun with just yourself is the ultimate positive energy booster. There is no better opportunity to really see what you’re capable of than studying abroad.

Surfing in Wales!

I’m surprised just how fast time flies by. When I first got here, I didn’t really believe it when people said that these next three months would go by fast. Although I didn’t have an internship this semester as intended, I can’t believe how much I have grown from my short time here. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, with feeling overwhelmed and anxious, to exploring a completely different and vibrant city I know my way around pretty well.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf : )

Kaitlin (and to anyone reading this)- you got this. Take it day by day, and know that tomorrow is a new day, filled with new opportunities and experiences just waiting to happen. 

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all”- from your favorite move, The Princess Diaries.

Believe you can and you’re halfway there : )