Arriving in London and Finding Balance

Chloe McKinney London, England


June 3, 2023

If you would have told me last year that I would be spending my summer in London, I would have never believed you. And, if you told me I would have bonded with my peers as quickly and as well as I have, I would have been in utter shock. Yet, here I am, writing this from my room in Highgate after spending the week with a group that was strangers to me before this program started. The memories and experiences I have had already are amazing, but as an introvert, the packed social calendar can become overwhelming. My day has been starting at 8 in the morning and ending way after midnight. For some people, this may be a normal schedule, but back home I am the type of person who gets ready for bed at 10 pm. Not only that, but I am also used to having at least a couple hours a day of time to myself, which is not common with the type of schedule I have been keeping up with. 

The last couple of days I could feel myself growing more tired and craving some time alone, but I was too scared to miss out on anything or to say “no” to plans. Today, I listened to my body and my mind and had a day that focused on self-care. And although I knew I was missing out on exploring with others, it did not cause harm to my study abroad experience. We are told there is no right or wrong way to study abroad, and that we should focus on what we want to get out of the experience. Today I caught up on my favorite show, tidied up my room, did my laundry, and went for a jog through the neighborhood while taking in my surroundings. Although none of these things were extremely exciting or were checking anything off my bucket list, I still had an amazing day. 

As I am sitting here, I feel refreshed and I’m ready to go out with my friends again. I feel like this is important to talk about because FOMO is a real thing. No one wants to miss out on a fun day or not be a part of the stories, but sometimes we must listen to what we need exactly. If we don’t, we could eventually burn out and have a negative experience because of it. I am still abroad in London, I am still immersing myself in my surroundings, and am learning more about myself through this process. This day was not any less meaningful than the others, and I plan on scheduling a day for this each week from now on. I included photos from my run today, where I was able to take a step back and appreciate the little things, and realize how lucky I am to be where I am. And with that, remember to be kind to me as I transition into my time abroad and learn how to find balance.