By Inji Kim
Okay. Not going to lie here. The reason why I am the last runner for this series was because I wanted to put it off as long as I could (a classic Inji move—all of the Acorn staff and editorial would agree), and now I am greatly regretting it because both of my predecessors Jake and Shaylyn, if you have been following this series, have written amazing pieces capturing what it is like to be in London. In fact, they were so good that they left me literally nothing to write about. Well, nothing exciting at least.
Entering the sixth week of the semester here in London leaves us with mixed emotions. The honeymoon period is now over. If you’ve ever watched the movie 500 Days of Summer, the same exact video footage of Summer plays on both Day 154 and Day 322. Tom’s attitude towards Summer changes pretty drastically. For example, the “heart shaped birthmark she has on her neck” turns into a “cockroach-shaped splotch on her neck.” We’re experiencing similar symptoms here. Hopping into the tube and getting to class was only fun and exciting the first few weeks; now I absolutely abhor the loud, clumped up tube rides to classes every morning. The shining Thames? Just makes the blowing wind even colder.
Studying abroad, or being abroad in general, puts us in a mood where we feel like we constantly have to experience something new. In reality, all I’ve been doing the past several days has been waking up, going to class, hitting up the gym, coming home to cook something up in the flats and going to bed (after squeezing in a couple of House of Cards episodes). But whenever a friend from Drew or my parents ask me what I’ve been up to, I feel a little guilty about telling them this. Back at Drew, coming back to my dorm to rest, or not leaving my dorm room for a while, was totally acceptable. But living a day in this routine when I’m in London makes me feel like I’m wasting my time by not doing anything cool or productive. Not gonna lie, going through Time Out London and seeing all the events that I’ve missed does break my heart a little.
Now don’t get me wrong, we have been doing pretty cool things here (like taking a tour of the British Museum by a curator, or catching shows at the West End once every week and, of course, grabbing a pint or two at the pubs and catching up on soccer games), and the reason why I came here is certainly not so that I can tell my friends and family that I am abroad. By no means do I intend to sound ungrateful for this opportunity. I am extremely grateful for the fact that I’ve been granted the opportunity to develop a capability to learn beyond a world that is mine.
However, the point of this column is to transmit what we are going through as study abroad students so that it can be a reference for those who are considering it in the future. So I wanted to share the fact that it is okay to have an ordinary routine and just camp out in your flats/dorms for a while. We’ve been taking in so many new things that we often need some time to digest and process them. At the end of the day, wherever you are, resting or inactivity should not be considered a negative thing. Oh no, I sound like a motivational speaker now, and that is the last thing I want to sound like. Cheers!
Graphic by David Giacomini