In only a handful of days, it will officially be a month since I stepped off of the plane and found myself in London. A month seems simultaneously too long and too short to be true. In just four weeks I have already accomplished so many adventures and explorations, yet the time seems to move so unbelievably quickly. So much has already changed in the last month. I would have never imagined how much London would rub off on me, but being here has made me fall in love with the city far quicker and more deeply than I expected.
One month also means I have already found myself nearly one third of the way through my semester abroad. This newfound knowledge brings conflicting feelings. It feels like study abroad is already something slipping through my fingers, something I am attempting to maintain my hold on so desperately as not to let it disappear. Simultaneously, I am simply trying to enjoy every day without letting that fear overtake me. There is still so much time ahead of me to accomplish all I want to and have experiences I can’t even imagine yet.
The feeling of time moving too fast, though, is common for a lot of people studying abroad. There's a panic that it’ll be over before we know it, the richness of an experience like this gone in a flash. Not only do they (and me) want to get to know every part of their host country, there is also so much of Europe to experience as well. It feels like there can’t possibly be enough time to see every place they’ve dreamed about, which has some truth. This is something I’ve had to come to terms with as I find a balance between traveling and staying.
There is simply just not enough time to do everything, but that’s ok. It should be more about quality than quantity, anyway. Instead of trying to pack a million things into my time left I am walking a fine line, trying to plan enough to leave myself suitably busy and satisfied while also leaving enough time to properly enjoy the things I experience. Pushing too many things into not enough time leads to anxiety and stress more than true satisfaction.
Stepping back and taking a breath has been my mantra. Study abroad may feel like it’s flying by, but it’s important to live in the moment and not let fear or stress cloud your experiences. It's also important to remember that, though the program ends, the opportunity to travel doesn't. I have a whole life after study abroad to still see the world around me, and I’ll take all the amazing opportunities and knowledge I’ve gained from my travels while here to help me in the future.
Not to mention, with how much I have grown to love the city of London, there’s simply no way I won't come back.
So my advice of the week is to revel in your experiences, breathe when it all feels like too much, and realize how much of a privilege it is to have a problem like this. Us study abroaders are the lucky ones, the ones who get to see so much of the world around them in these three or so months. When it all seems like too much, take a step back and acknowledge how truly lucky you are.
That’s what I’ve been doing, anyway. So far, it’s been working pretty well.
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<p>Annie Lindenberg spends the majority of her year in Boston, MA where she is studying Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College. Along with her creative writing pursuits, she also writes film and television reviews as a staff writer for Emertainment Monthly. When not writing or exploring, you can find her eating copious amounts of guacamole and starting books she has almost no time to finish.</p>