Growth, Goals, and other Great Follies

Samantha Loria
November 25, 2014

One of the main reasons why I decided to study abroad was that I hoped that it would evoke some sort of personal growth within me, and one of the main reasons that I chose to apply for the Oxford program was that I thought that it would target the areas that I needed growth in the most (among other, more light-hearted intentions). These areas included time management, independence, the depth with which I dive into my learning, and extracurricular opportunity taking. For all of my premeditation I could not have predicted everything new that I have been exposed to in the past three months; the growth that I had so anticipated has come in ways that I could not have predicted!

After spending a month in London, I was skeptical of whether or not anything had or would change at all, whether academically or socially. Oddly, it all feels weirdly familiar here. The culture has noticeable similarities to that of America, so that even my American roommate who came to visit from her program in Copenhagen was comforted by the familiar stores and brand names and other little things. Even the chance of developing some kind of thicker emotional skin is gone; despite any stereotype about the chilly nature of the Brit, I’ve encountered nothing but kind, generous people!

But I have a feeling that the growth will come in subtler ways. Although I believe it is possible to identify weaknesses within yourself, there is no way to prepare for those little moments of clarity that really make a change and sometimes no way of fully perceiving them until they have come and gone. I already know that I’ll miss the warm peacefulness of a night spent with friends at a pub, the cobblestone, and the organic, subtly slower way of life here. I already know that I will miss the amazing people that I have met and that I have inexcusable loads of contemporary media and art to familiarize and submerge myself with when I get home. I already know that I have gained plenty of valuable writing and critical thinking experience as an Oxford student. But there are so many other little things that I’m sure I can’t even perceive and that I won’t be able to perceive for a while. Point is, things like study abroad can’t be measured and checked off like goals on a to-do list. Its an experience that you have to take in as a whole and just appreciate for whatever it is, and whatever is thrown at you.

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Samantha Loria

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Samantha Loria is a junior Molecular Genetics/History double major at the University of Rochester in Western New York. She is an Irish Dancer, loves music and learning from all kinds of people and is going on the adventure of her life at Oxford University! She plans on soaking up all the culture, knowledge, and nature that she can handle and here, in this blog, she will seek to pass along all of the wisdom that she encounters, the emotions that she feels, and the incredible sights that she sees on this great journey. Come, explore, and learn!</span></p>

Home University:
University of Rochester
Biological Sciences
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