London Tower (Big Ben is under construction)
It has officially been a week since I have arrived in England and my experience has been nothing less than amazing! Since arriving, I have completed an orientation in both London and Brighton, which provided me with two different areas and cultures of the country that I am happy I got to see. The orientation in London was great, because I also got to meet a smaller group of students from different states in the U.S. that I traveled to the University of Sussex with. Therefore I was lucky enough to know some students before arriving to the university. However, I did not know any of the students at the London orientation, because none of them were from Oregon, so I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone to become friends with people who were once strangers. After spending a weekend with them exploring the city in London and now a week at Sussex in the classroom, we have become much closer friends and even look out for each other on campus when we are roaming around.
Despite the joyful friends I have met and the breathtaking places I have seen thus far, I have never felt so extremely jet-lagged, and mentally and physically exhausted before. It was already a long plane flight from Oregon to England, but the amount of walking I have done everyday is immense compared to what I am used to back home since I often drive to and from locations. The little things like transportation made me realize that there will definitely be some lifestyle changes being made this next month, although it cannot be that terrible, right?! It might seem intimidating at the moment, but I look forward to living a little differently than I do in Oregon, because I know it will show me exactly what I truly am capable of as just another human looking for their niche in this world. Plus, I have the opportunity to meet dozens, if not hundreds, of other individuals from different countries all over this world who are also exploring their lives.
Sunrise on campus
There has only been a couple days of lecture for the health psychology course that I am taking, however our class has already completed group presentations on a specific scientific journal article discussing positive or negative health behaviors related to stress. This week, we will also be completing individual presentations about a different article that we choose ourselves related to health behavior and psychology. The remainder of the course will entail a learning diary discussing our experiences with the course and the UK education system, as well as a final research essay about a to be determined assigned topic. Aside from studying psychology, I know I will enjoy this course because it is also includes self-directed learning and group based work, which creates more space for peer interaction and critical thinking. Since I am a student who studies two very interdisciplinary fields like psychology and biology (or neuroscience), I am more likely to thrive in a learning environment that allows for a healthy balance between group collaboration and independent study.