It’s the Little Things
With my internship taking up my day from 7am-7pm (including the commute), I’ve found that the last 5 weeks have flown by in a blur. I wake up, go to work, and am always so exhausted by the end of the day that I usually eat dinner and am in bed by 10:30. Working a full-time job abroad (unpaid) has been a difficult adjustment to say the least.
When I pictured my study abroad experience, even though I was aware of the internship requirement, I suppose I never truly grasped all that would entail. Sometimes I find myself feeling bitter on the hour tube commute home that I’m stuck inside an office for the last part of my trip, and on particularly stressful days I resent my internship and all that it’s “taking away” from me.
On those days it’s crucial for me to focus on the positive. I get an hour for my lunch break and I typically pack something from home and spend that time in a nearby park; recently, I’ve been trying to actively remind myself to enjoy the breaks that I do have.
The park is small but filled with rose bushes, surrounded by houses that still look stuck in the past, and I know that I only have a limited time left living the “city life.” I regularly remind myself that I need to enjoy all the quaint aspects that only London can offer and take mental pictures of everything I see because I know I’ll miss it here when I’m back at school stuck in a library all day.
Even on the weekends I find myself gravitating towards sleeping in and laying low, but with the weeks flying by I try to push myself to get out and explore my surroundings. This past weekend I was able to experience a number of new things – my flatmates and I went to a local comedy club, which ended up being hysterical and surprisingly cheap. I also did a solo trip to the Natural History Museum that I’ve been saying I’ve wanted to visit since I got here, and I’m happy I can finally check that off my list.
And on Sunday we did a quick day trip to the nearby town of Brighton and I got to spend the day at an amusement park on a pier, something that I’ve only ever seen in movies.
Although my available free time has become much more limited since I first arrived, I feel that the time constraint adds motivation to make the most of the time I do have.
I’m grateful for the professional experience I am gaining from working internationally, and even when it gets overwhelming I am able to enjoy my lunches in the park and reground myself in the idea that I’m in London and living an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.
I also think that focusing on the positive aspects, albeit sometimes small, truly help me have a more accepting attitude towards my overall situation. I am so lucky to have spent the summer here, and now that I’m in the home stretch of finishing my program I can reflect on all of the amazing places I’ve seen and experiences I’ve had with a feeling of warmth and appreciation.
I think that dealing with the stress of this internship in the midst of being abroad has taught me numerous lessons that I will be able to take back home with me – the most important one being to focus on the now, and the things that I can control, and to make the most out of every minute I have left.