Photo: Lindsay Smith
When I signed up to study in London during the summer, I hardly thought of how I would feel upon returning home. Never once did it cross my mind that I would actually miss the place I visited, as traveling has always seemed like a fleeting thing that never lasts longer than a few weeks.
Though I was hit with the homesickness that creeps up on you while you try to sleep, by the end of my trip, London was a very homey place to be. The first week away, I was dying to come home and sent many desperate texts to my parents, just on the off chance they could transport me back to Texas.
Once I learned the subway system and made some friends, however, London became an exciting entity for me to explore. The second and third weeks were absolute blurs; rushing back to places we had already been for one final glance, last-minute shopping, five-second eye contact with well-dressed English chaps on the street.
By the end of the third week I felt that I had been living there as any other citizen and was packing to come home at the end of a semester.
Though the trip was filled with monumental sights and plenty of Shakespeare references, what I find myself missing the most is the intimacy of what the city has to offer. The streets are beyond crowded, but each person has an entirely private world they live in.
The beauty of a city like London is the kinship one can feel with a stranger upon looking at sculptures in museums, as well as the solitude of riding the escalator out of the Underground. Now that I am back in the states, my study abroad experience feels like an almost-forgotten fever dream that stays with me throughout each day. Time has not stopped for my longing to eventually return to London.
Between class scheduling issues and getting ready to move into a new apartment, I’m up to my neck in double checking and opening myself up to the idea of living alone for the first time.
While I’m not going to use my newfound situation to make music with my pots and pans into the night, I will be met with a sense of new freedom in having a place all to myself. Though I am not quite a senior, I feel that this semester is the dawn of my own personal senior-like status.
Although living alone and living with one roommate or more can all be hectic in their own ways, I think it’s important to treat each new task as something to be dealt with head-on. I, personally, have been known in some circles to concentrate too much on the negative outcome of things, but being out of the country taught me to roll with certain punches life may throw. When things became hard to deal with (for example; London’s heat wave, tiny dorm rooms, ten people to two showers,) I couldn’t simply avoid the issues but find the small joys in problematic situations.
This mentality can be helpful in any facet of life, but especially when it comes to school. We, as students, learn to deal with many things throughout our time here. We become independent in different ways and must remind ourselves of that.
Whether this semester brings you fresh conditions to chew on or you find yourself dealing with the same stresses you’ve always struggled with as a college student, try to take deep breaths. If London taught me anything, it’s that I can’t control the weather.