As I sit here I’m about to finish my first of only two semesters studying abroad at the University of Texas at Arlington. I have just three finals next week, now I’ve completed my take home exam, and after those are completed I will be heading to California to spend Christmas with my family before my parents join us on New Year’s Eve. I can’t believe quite how fast this semester has gone, and now I’m about half way done with my study abroad experience. With that being said, I thought I would write a blog summarizing the semester and my thoughts about what I’ve experienced and learnt.
Perhaps the most significant thing to me is the people I’ve met. Since arriving in Texas I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the nicest, most generous and kind-hearted people I have ever met in my life. When I need a ride to Walmart, they are there. When I need a place to stay because my dorms shut three days before my flight to California, they are there. Most importantly, when I’m feeling low and homesick and need somebody to talk to I have a reliable group of friends who I can count to try and pick me up. Without my friends here, my time would be a lot worse than it has been. I’m excited to get to spend another semester with them, and plan to make the most of every second before I have to leave them and return home.
I’ve also learnt that some things are just more important than studying. (Sorry lecturers and professors that might be reading this). So often in first and second year, I’d put studying ahead of almost anything even physical and mental health and keeping in touch with my family. However this year, as my mental health has significantly deteriorated and keeping in touch with my family has become more important I’ve had to let my studies sit on the backburner. Luckily, because the style of learning here comes more easily to me than the teaching style in Leicester I’ve been able to do that while still maintaining my grades. I’ve learnt to put my mental health first, and also take time to enjoy my time here and do things with my friends if I have to. The last thing I want is to return to England in May and just remember being hauled up in my room studying for a year.
Lastly, I’ve learnt to be able to spend time with myself. As an only child, I’ve always been better at being alone than a lot of people have. However this year, I’ve learnt that doing something alone shouldn’t stop me doing it. For example, none of my friends wanted to come to Homecoming with me so I had to go alone. I even went all the way to New York for a long weekend on my own, simply because I was so desperate to visit and knew nobody else would come with me. This semester I’ve become mature enough to know that doing things alone isn’t always a bad thing, and that’s great.
Overall studying abroad so far has been an immensely enriching experience, and as much as I really NEED to see my family and can’t wait to get a break from campus for a month, I’m excited to return and see what adventures next semester holds with my new friends and new job in tow.
Good luck for final projects and exams friends, speak soon!