Wow, time goes fast.
It’s been almost two weeks since we’ve arrived in London. I feel like we’ve seen and experienced only about a million things, but we’ve only just hit the beginning. This past week we joined international students and UK eighteen-year-olds in celebration of ‘Fresher’s Week’, five days of getting to know you events and parties. During the day we went out exploring on our own, checking out Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and clocking in shopping time at Harrod’s and Oxford Street. It’s difficult for me to remember that just a month ago, I was sitting at home, finished with my seasonal job at summer camp but not yet flying out abroad. Those three weeks were rough on me, as I’m sure my parents could attest to. I wasn’t working, or attending classes, or…much of anything, really. I saw my friends when they were off work and that was that. I was so sure that once I’d arrive in London, things would pick up and I’d be just as busy as I’ve been before.
For the first three or four days that was true, and then I had to face reality: I had nothing to do. That seems absolutely impossible. I’m in London! There’s everything! But I hadn’t started classes yet (actually, still haven’t- my first is a Wednesday evening this week), I didn’t have a newspaper or publication cranking out deadlines for me like I’m used to during the year. As easy as it is to get to free museums and attractions, public transportation does cost, and I have to start learning to budget as I go. And I still haven’t found ‘my spot’ on campus- the spot every college kid finds to relax, be it the library, coffee shop, or newspaper lab (okay, no one in the lab is there to relax but you get my point). It’s the social hangout that feels like home to you. Even though it’s been two weeks, we are still new enough that we don’t know everyone in our department or the places that people go to catch up with each other. I don’t even have my first department class until Thursday!
I guess what I’ve learned most from this month is that ‘settling in’, whether you’re a Simpson freshman or an international student, takes time. Even though I have two years of college experience, I had forgotten what it took to establish myself on campus and find those ‘spots’, be it in a department, friend group, or professional setting. Now it’s a challenge to slow down and stop expecting my place to be there. I have to create it all over again. But when I think about it, that’s a pretty exciting place to find myself in!
Looking for more London? Catch up with me on Twitter: @xkatehayden