9 days left in London: Reflecting on Abroad

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Hi everyone, it’s been awhile. Exams and final assignments have been occupying most of my time in this past month, but I’ve finally finished all my work and can sit back and relax to enjoy my last moments in London. I head to Portugal (Lisbon and Porto) on Saturday with my friend Anushya and I am beyond excited to be there and soak up the warm weather and beauty. But, that leaves me only 3 days-ish to go back to my favorite places in London and explore what I haven’t yet. I depart on the 10th to go back to dc and see some friends and my boyfriend graduate. I feel ready to be home but also know I will miss London from the bottom of my heart. This city makes me so happy and has taught me a lot about myself these past few months.

These past few days I’ve been doing some sightseeing. I went to the Saatchi Gallery, abbey road crossing, Greenwich market and more. I’m planning on seeing Hamstead Heath before I leave and hitting up a few historic pubs.

Now that abroad is drawing to a close, I thought I’d reflect on a few things I’ve learned while I’ve been here.

1. It isn’t always going to be easy. I know social media makes it look like everyone is thriving and life is perfect, but in reality abroad is a time of amazing moments, but also dark moments. It’s normal to feel homesick and down sometimes. To miss people from home and to feel lonely. All you can do is hang on for the ride and know that the good will outweigh the bad if you just make sure to spend time with people who make you happy and do things to take care of yourself and your wellbeing.

2. You’re not always gonna feel the way you feel right now. This goes for both the good and the bad moments while you’re in a different country. It may seem like you are stuck or you are always going to feel what’re you’re feeling in the moment, but know that life goes by fast. So when you’re happy and full of excitement, hang on to the feeling as long as you can. And when you are overwhelmed or hopeless or lonely know that even though it may not feel like it, this will pass.

3. Worrying and indecision can be paralyzing. I spent a lot of my time here feeling stressed about money, time, work and my future. It’s easy to worry like that when you’re someone that has anxiety, but, though it’s easier said than done, this constant stress wastes your time and energy. You don’t want to look back and regret not doing things you wanted because you couldn’t make a choice. Seize the opportunities you have because it may be one of the only times in your life that you will be so free from responsibilities and have this time to travel and find yourself.

4. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with. Being abroad and in a direct enrollment program meant I didn’t get the security of having a bunch of students from my school that I could cling to and a program where I didn’t have to immerse myself with regular British students. This came with both positives and negatives. At first, I was anxious and worried I wouldn’t find my people. It’s hard, but what I’ve found is having a few good ones who value you and make your life better are all you need to stay sane and happy (shoutout Maddie, Anushya, Monica, Bambi, Tianni, Zoe and Emma).

5. You’re stronger than you know. Abroad will change you as cliche and silly as that sounds. Even if you don’t feel confident now, going back will show you everything you have taken away and the newfound sense of independence you have cultivated.

I am so looking forward to seeing my family, my friends, and my boyfriend so so soon. Abroad has really given me an appreciation for all the support and love I have in my life. Thank you to everyone who visited me (Albert, Alice, Maddie, mom, dad, Katie, Uncle Mike, and Mac). It helped me so much to feel at home being with people I’ve known for so long. Shoutout sweet Allison, Gabrielle, Karissa, Mia, and Carol for being some great London friends from outside my program who I’m happy to have gotten to spend time with while I’ve been here.

This summer is gonna be lovely being in dc during June, July and August. I will be working and living with my sweet friend Amanda. I have a good feeling about senior year and am so excited to see what new adventures it brings! Xo, Maggie

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