Hello and welcome to my very first blog of my semester in Christchurch, NZ! One thing you should know about me is that I tend to procrastinate.... a lot. And naturally, I procrastinated writing this post. Not because it's something I don't want to do, but because every time I sat down to write it I was faced with a massive mental block. As the deadline approached, I decided to throw away all hopes of a game plan, or even any type of theme, and that I should just sit down and write what I felt, so prepare yourself for a feelings dump over the next few paragraphs.
My program doesn't start until early February, so to be honest, I don't think I've fully realized yet that I actually will be spending half a year in a country I've never been to, surrounded by people I don't know. Growing up, I've always been the type of person with big dreams as far as travel and where I want to live after school. While applying to colleges, I only wanted to go to schools as far away from my hometown as possible, but ironically I ended up staying right in the city of Rochester, where I've spent nearly my whole life. As I type this post, I'm snuggled up with my two pugs on the sofa watching Law & Order–– and I'll be honest I can definitely get used to this.
That being said, in this moment one of the emotions I'm feeling the least of is wanderlust. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly excited and grateful for the adventure and knowledge that will be coming my way shortly, but I can't seem to pull my mind away from one emotion–– nervousness. And honestly, I would need much more than 1000 words to go over each and every thing that has me biting my nails, so I'll spare you the details. However, I am tired of living within my comfort zone and while my lowkey profile at home is great at times, I am more than ready for an experience that my friends won't be able to shut me up about for years to come. Something I have found alliveates my nerves a bit is compling a list of my things I hope to do or improve on in myself while abroad. Essentially these are 'resolutions' for the new year, but I want to give myself a pressure-free list to live by this semester so I'll call them my abroad ~intentions~. So, here goes nothing!
Say yes more
Ok, ok let's not get crazy. Obviously, I will use judgment in what I say yes to, but overall I think I could benefit from taking more chances and grabbing more opportunities before they slip away. The more I say yes, the more I can create, learn and experience– as well as forming a habit of being optimistic. Here's to a semester of yes-ing.
Don't be a picky eater
If I could eat chicken tenders and fries for every meal, I would. Friends who have visited Christchurch have told me about the amazing food, one item of which being lamb. LAMB!!!! Apparently, this is a must-try so I am trying to train my stomach to enjoy cuisine other than fried food.
Travel, travel, travel
I may never have the chance to travel to New Zealand and its surrounding areas ever again in my life. Because of that, I don't want to be restrictive in my spendings as far as travel. A plane ticket from Christchurch to Sydney, Australia is well worth the $300 USD that might sting to spend in the moment. All I'm saying is I won't be ruling out Fiji as a possible spring break destination.
Prioritize my fitness
A huge part of my mental health ties into physical activity, and I definitely saw it wavering this past semester when I couldn't spend as much time in the gym as I wanted to due to my hefty academic schedule. While I will still have academics to worry about, moving every day will be just as important.
Learn to love learning
My experiences with learning in college have been rocky to say the least. I've dealt with classes that seem impossible, a few disappointing grades, and my fair share of imposter syndrome. This semester, I will be taking ecology, marine biology, and a class on Antarctica at UC in Christchurch. This is one of the only semesters I have been 100% over the moon about my classes, and I am going to try to keep that mindset throughout the semester. I will be studying material I am passionate about, in one of the best places in the world for the subject, so a focus of mine will be to reignite my love for knowledge.
Overall, I want to come back from abroad with tons of new experiences under my belt, but I also want to improve upon myself in a place where I have the opportunity to reinvent myself and be who I truly am. I am excited for the growth that I am sure to experience, and honestly typing out this post has calmed my nerves for the moment and has left me optimistic and ready for whatever NZ will throw my way! The next time you'll hear from me, I'll be over 9,000 miles away from where I sit now, adjusting to my new life among the Kiwis. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you'll keep up with my journey over the next several months. :)
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<p>Hi! My name is Caroline Wilcox and I am a junior majoring in Biology at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York! A little bit about me– I have three dogs that have my entire heart, and I work at a bakery when I'm not busy with school. I have spent basically my entire life in Rochester and am more than ready to see what life is like outside of my small town!</p>