Ciao! Three weeks have flown by, and I'm thrilled to report that I'm finally starting to find my groove in the lovely city of Rome. It's taken me a full three weeks to reach this point, and let me tell you, I'm absolutely okay with that. Having had the experience of living abroad in the past, I can vouch for the fact that adjusting and adapting are continuous processes that evolve every single day.
During the first week of orientation, life felt like a whirlwind. There was an incessant hustle and bustle, and an unspoken pressure to keep up with everyone else's plans just to make friends. It was a bit overwhelming, to say the least. There's also this pervasive notion that you're only here for a short time, so you need to make every moment count, creating a certain level of anxiety. I often find myself pondering this idea, and I believe it's crucial to dissect it and redefine it according to how you want to mold your unique study abroad experience.
A typical day for me involves heading to class, hopping on the metro, and embarking on a lengthy commute to my internship, which eats up about an hour of my day. Meanwhile, my roommates, who aren't interning, are relaxing in the comfort of our apartment or indulging in various activities around town. Keeping up with their schedules while juggling my responsibilities leaves me feeling perpetually exhausted. Still, I persistently push myself to partake in everything they're doing because, let's face it, who wants to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure?
However, this past weekend, as everyone else dove headfirst into the chaos of Oktoberfest, I made the deliberate choice to stay in Rome and, well, "get my life together." I kicked off the day with the sun, tidied up our apartment, conquered the laundry mountain, and then sauntered over to my beloved coffee spot. There, I whipped out my laptop and tackled all my work with a side of espresso. For the first time since arriving in Rome, I felt like I was steering the ship of my life.
Now, let's chat about the crucial nugget of wisdom I've conquered from this experience. Yes, this is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of us, and the fear of missing out (FOMO) is real. But here's a secret: It's equally important to return to the roots of who you are. Embrace those little habits that make you uniquely you. Whether that translates to taking a breather, savoring an evening in your cozy apartment, strolling through the charming streets of your host city, or, much like me, diving headfirst into work at your favorite café—do it. Wholeheartedly embrace your authentic self. Trust me; it's the key to savoring the entire kaleidoscope of this adventure while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground and maintaining your sanity.
In the grand scheme of things, it's about embracing every facet of this journey while staying true to who you are. So, go out there and seize those moments, but remember, taking a step back to nurture yourself is just as vital.
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Hello! I'm Emilie, a junior at Villanova, passionate about beauty, fashion, adventures, and meeting new people. Fun fact: I studied abroad and lived in London for high school. Can't wait to explore Rome and indulge in the finest gelato!