Well, it’s Friday. It’s our third weekend at Roehampton. Classes have started (more to come on that next week), there is homework to be done, and as always there is some exploring to do. It’s exciting to finally have some rhythm back in my schedule.
I say that with a sigh of relief, because if you know me you know I love planning. Order is just, well, kind of my thing. And one of the things I’m finding here, especially as a senior, is that I don’t have the kind of order I would if I were back at Simpson. I’m also finding that independence is a very important trait.
On Wednesday, I spent some time gawking at the splendor that is Buckingham Palace. It was fantastic to see inside such a historic piece of London. I enjoyed my morning there, and I wish I could have taken more time to view all of the amazing intricacies that lie within the Palace. However, I had to get back for a lecture. I had booked my tickets prior to a change in my schedule, and I had to be back at 2 p.m. Thankfully I got to see everything, but I had to depart from the group and travel back alone. After all, I didn’t want to miss my first lecture.
So I did something I’ve never done before (well at least not in a city that was new to me). I set to the streets to get back to the train station. Alone. I had to catch the District line to Putney Bridge and then I had to take the 265 bus back to Roehampton. And actually, it was easy. The most unnerving part was finding the station all alone (as it is a little bit of a walk from Buckingham Palace). I even had to ask some random people on the street if I was walking the right direction toward the station. But I did it, and I lived to tell the story. That’s what study abroad is all about though. In testament to my previous post, it truly makes you step outside your comfort zone and embrace the uncertainty of your new surroundings.
If I were at Simpson, I would pretty much have my weeks planned out well in advance. And if I had a question about my studies or if I needed help with something, I knew right where to go. I was in a very comfortable place. In London, though, everything is new. I don’t know right where to go. My weekly plan isn’t set in stone. Things are different.
Now don’t get me wrong, being here is fantastic. There is just a lot of transitioning that is taking place. I’ve gone from something I’ve known all my life, to something completely new. I’m definitely outside my comfort zone, and it’s challenging me to try new things. Things I never would have tried if I were in Iowa. It’s forcing me to think about why the transition is challenging for me. And it’s really giving me some good insight into what makes me tick.
A semester in London isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but it is a chance to learn some great lessons about yourself and the world around you. I really hope you’ll consider studying abroad. Especially those of you who, like me, are extremely comfortable in your surroundings at Simpson.