Learning Independence

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This week, I want to reflect on how I have learned to love my own company. Just a month ago, I was terrified of eating at a restaurant alone. Now, I happily sit in cafés alone reading, catching up on schoolwork, or just spending time with myself. This time alone is when I reflect on my day, check in on my well-being, and do activities for me. My favorite thing to do when I have a few hours during the week to myself is exploring the many museums in London. There are over twenty museums across the city that are completely free to visit! Learning more about the culture of London, modern art, science, and history has been so worthwhile. I am able to explore at my own pace and really engage in my surroundings.

Becoming this content with being alone was challenging at first. It was hard for me to initially believe that I could have fun by myself – especially while living in a city with a population of 8.9 million people! I was worried that I would be perceived as a “loner” and develop feelings of loneliness rather than joy. Of course, spending time with the friends that I have made in London makes me happy. But for me, socializing is not particularly a challenge. What has been the most difficult is learning when it is better to take time to myself. I had to learn how to appreciate my own company and when it was appropriate and safe to be alone in such a large city. I am confident that being in London and facing this challenge has allowed me to love myself more than I ever have before.

Independence is a skill that also translates to a professional setting. Learning independence is something that will contribute to my success as I design my career. In my current role as a finance and grants intern with the TCCA, a majority of my tasks are self-driven. My supervisor trusts that I will independently complete my work in a timely manner. Because I am spending time growing a sense of independence, motivating myself to finish my work became easier to do. When I return to America and pursue future internships, having the transferable skill of independence will allow me to be more productive and confident in a work setting. I also think that understanding when it is appropriate to work alone will make me more cognizant of when collaboration is necessary to work in teams.

Independence will also enhance my experience as a Pitt Business student. Now that I can comfortably go to restaurants alone, I expect to spend more time studying in cafés! On a more serious note, independence goes hand in hand with self-motivation. As I advance in my studies and have a more rigorous course load in the coming semesters, independence will allow me to be more focused on my academics.

I look forward to continuing to explore London for the two more weeks I have left! I hope to continue to fall in love with the city and myself along the way.