What a beautiful day for a snow day Daizies!
I’ve always dreamed of a day between Sunday and Monday where I could just and my dream came true today! Hoping for a day off shows just how drastically different things have been since coming home. Compared to my 4 months abroad, it is a more intense workload filled with a packed schedule that used to consist of traveling most weekends with school for just a few hours.
Missing the Days of Getting Out of Bed Only for Gelato!
I forgot how hectic school life can be. I have actual weekly assignments, labs, work, ongoing internship search, and midterms to prepare for. With so many responsibilities, I find myself on campus for an average of 8-11 hours per day for 4 out 0f the 5 days per week. Getting back to this routine made me miss being abroad so much. I knew when I was there, that it would be the most stress-free semester ever. I could not open a textbook for 2 weeks and still not fall behind. Can you imagine having no stress for 4 months? I had time. Every hour of my day didn’t need to be organized and planned. At Bocconi University, I had one class each day from Tuesday through Thursday. In total I was on campus for about 7 hours each week. Now, I am on campus 6 times as much.
I miss planning my next weekend expedition. After a week in Milan, it was off to the next place. My weekly tasks consisted of booking hostels, Airbnb’s, writing down directions of getting to and from airports, and planning my day in either Barcelona, Athens, Rome and other amazing places! I miss having an abundance of time and being stress-free.
Dealing With Stress
With time, I have accepted the fact that I have to stay ahead so that I won’t fall behind. Whether, I’m ready for the full workload here or not, I must do the absolute most with studying for certain classes. I am making the effort to read chapters before lectures, go to tutoring for Operations Management, and do the best I can academically. Stress is a natural thing and I realize I am more vulnerable to it when I feel I don’t have enough time to finish what I need or even relax. It can arise from feeling anxious about interviews, graduating, and deciding on a career path. 4 months away from having to encounter such demands was a break well needed. I use the experience of overcoming the anxiety of leaving to go abroad to calm myself down when I’m feeling anxious about future interviews, tests, etc. I recently thought to myself “Is this the hardest thing you’ve done?” If the answer is “no”, then I can get through this next task as well. Leaving on the exchange was the scariest thing I’ve done so far and I use that accomplishment of my fears to find strength that I will make it through whatever is next. Also, taking deep breaths are very effective at all times of the day.
Continuing With Healthy Habits?
Getting exercise and eating a balanced diet have also helped me in transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. I noticed that I never once got sick when I was abroad. Normally, I would get a cold every quarter, especially during midterms and finals. Your body is more susceptible to colds and other viruses when you are stressed, not getting enough sleep, or enough nutrition. I knew this was especially true when I found myself with a cold(and later a fever) literally one week into school. I really hate being sick and need as much energy as I can get. I now take daily multi-vitamins to help boost my immune system. I talked about how great grocery shopping was and how healthy I ate in Italy. I can proudly say I haven’t eaten a frozen meal or cup-of-noodles since I’ve been back and don’t plan on it either! I relied heavily on TV dinners, microwavable lunches, pop-tarts, fast food fruit snacks, and cup-of-noodles as my main source of food throughout my college life prior to the exchange. But since I couldn’t find these foods at grocery stores in Italy, my diet changed and I began to eat more meals that I had to prepare and less sugary foods. With this new habit, I don’t crave sweets as much and usually eat fruit as a snack. I tried eating KFC when I got back and couldn’t even finish my plate. I used to be able to eat 5+ chocolate chip cookies at a time, and now it doesn’t taste as good or pleasurable as it used to. It gets hard sometimes to make dinner after a long day and on these occasions I end up ordering Jimmy Johns!
I often would jog around the park behind the dorm when I was in Milan. I continue this now that I am in Seattle when the weather isn’t too rainy. Going to the gym is a lot harder than I expected but I do enjoy a brisk walk every now and then. I still do yoga every morning which is something I’ve been doing for the past 11 years!
Can’t Stay Still!
Once the travel bug hits you it is hard to stay in one place for too long. Studying abroad has been an exciting part of my college experience. While I have only a few quarters left of college, I hope to study abroad again this summer on a 4 week exploration seminar. In the very near future, I am excited to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for Spring Break wooohooo!!! I enjoy traveling so I want to do it as much as I can. Seeing new places and cultures brings so much joy and memories forever.
I am officially back and on the grind. I want to not simply make it through each day but I want to thrive while doing so. I believe positive affirmations each day will help me to have the mindset to make the most each day. I put post-it notes next to my bed with positive notes written on them. It’s great to remind myself “I am successful” ” Good news is coming soon” or “Do not worry” throughout the day. I also am setting out personal time for myself each day.It’s important for me to find time to destress and have self-care. It’s okay to take a nap, indulge in your favorite tv show, and get sleep!
It’s great being home with friends and family as well as having access to amazing sandwiches each day. Adjusting to the hustle and bustle of reality was a challenge, but I with God’s help I am making it just fine. I hope to enjoy the little things of life each day no matter how busy life may be.