I am now at the start of the second semester, and I cannot believe how quickly my time has been passing since I have been here. All of a sudden I can feel my mind-set has changed. I previously counted how many weeks it had been since I left home, and now, all of a sudden I seem to be counting down the time until I return home!

 

OMG I have been here for 25 weeks BUT OMG I only have 14 weeks left of my time here!!

 

In this post I really just wanted to reflect on last semester, how I am feeling and how I am going to make the most of all the moments that are yet to come.

 

Last semester was a whirlwind. It definitely took me a couple of months to find my feet and get used to living here. I got to take advantage of so many opportunities and have so many new and exciting adventures!

 

Academically, despite my grades not being of significant value, I really engaged and worked hard in my modules. Some of the modules that I took notably differed from the modules offered in Southampton. Through these modules I really feel as though they opened my mind and I tried my best to absorb all this new information. At times I definitely like I applied too much pressure on myself to achieve good grades. Despite this, on the whole I feel I managed the work/life balance pretty well and I couldn’t have been prouder with the results of my hard work.

 

During the Christmas period I was given a great chance to relax. I decided not to fly home; for I was worried I wouldn’t be able to as goodbye to my loved ones all over again. Instead I flew out to New York to stay with family friends. After my best friend flew out to surprise me at the airport!!!!! I had an amazing few weeks to unwind and chill. I would definitely recommend doing something like this while on your year abroad as a replacement to going home.  While it was really difficult not to see my loved ones over the holiday period, it would have been even more difficult to leave and try to resettle back into my life out here.

 

Back in California, I managed to take a Jan Term course on the philosophy of simplicity. This allowed me to spend one week living the monastic lifestyle in a Buddhist temple. This felt like a really enlightening experience. Upon my return I felt much more mindful and grateful of all life had to offer.

 

Back in reality I feel as though a lot of the lessons I learnt at the temple simply vanished like a dream. After a week of being back I literally got the chance to live my dream! I spontaneously booked a trip to the one place I had only imagined! NEW ORLEANS!

O

M

G

This truly was an experience of a lifetime! I loved every singe experience that I had there. It is a memory that I will never forget.

 

Now, I am 2 weeks into my new classes and I am so excited for all of the modules I am undertaking this semester. One class even includes a trip to San Francisco to participate in a module UN!

 

While I am now getting very excited to see my family and friends, I am very conscious of just how fast time will pass me by! I continue to have the year of a lifetime.

 

Here are a few things I hope to do this semester after reflecting on my experience so far:

This semester I really want to be kinder to myself when it comes to grades and my classes. I am now aware that while this is important, living this experience is a far more valuable lesson.

Say yes to more experiences, even if it is just hanging out with new people. I really want to embrace everything. Even if I might be tired, that isn’t a good enough reason to pass up anything!

Travel. In part I feel as though I achieved this by going to New Orleans. I set this goal when I returned from New York and making the trip to New Orleans was a big accomplishment. I am also so lucky to have my parents flying out to bring me home… (Lets face it I just have too many bags) I am super excited because they are also taking me to San Diego and Las Vegas!!

 

I am so grateful for everything my journey has encompassed for far. I am looking forward to returning home but I am determined to make the most of every second of my time here.

 

Here’s to the path ahead!

 

 

 

The French Quarter

 

New Orleans Skyline
The road ahead…

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