I apologize in advance for how long this took me to get to. Jet lag and general laziness helped with the delay. This is going to be a long post, just so you’re prepared.
Here we go..
I am finally back in California surrounded by mountains and fresh air with an improved mood and looking forward to my future. Sure I’m exhausted because my inner clock is all whacked out and I think its 1 am at 9pm and 11 am at 5 am but I feel my mood significantly lighter. I mean, it is pretty difficult not to feel great when you’re staring out at an amazing view with a cup of tea in your hand. But in all seriousness, I think the lack of nature was a huge impact to my mood and was a source of my depression. Although I know my depression isn’t gone, nature certainly helps keep my head afloat.
The reason why this post also took me a long time is because I have trouble putting my experience in words. So I decided I’m going to do this in categories because why not.
What I learned:
Lets start with the obvious and not get too wishy washy (which is going to happen knowing me). As far as academics go, I gained an amazing new insight into paintings and how people interacted with them. My entire independent project was based on what people saw first in paintings and to see if there was a connection between that and how the painting make them felt (spoiler alert: there is none) and I had a blast researching it and presenting it to my peers. I learned and finally understood (somewhat…as best as I could) English politics and how their political system works. Coming from America, its always fascinating to see how other countries are run and how their political system worked. I learned all about the history of English music and theatre (even if the teacher who taught me those things was a pain in the ass).
As for what I learned about myself…I learned that I am not a city girl and last Summer I learned that I’m not a country girl. I’m a nice in between. I didn’t realize how badly I needed nature or how much the lack of it would impact my mood. People are now going to complain and say, “But Zoey, there are lots of parks in London! Plus you can just go right outside of London and go hiking, right?” Well.. yes you’re somewhat right. There are lots of parks of London, but its manicured and not a substitute for natural nature. As far as going outside of London, let me tell you finding a trail is not that easy. Also I simply didn’t have that kind of time where I could just pop on a 3 hour train and try to go hiking. If I wasn’t working my ass off, I was mentally recovering from it. I learned what it was like to pick myself up without any help and not because I wanted to, but circumstantially I was forced to. I learned how some of my panic attacks are caused: exhaustion and being overwhelmed. I learned how much long distance really FUCKING SUCKS but also how it brings a couple more together and stronger.
Overall rating of the program: 8/10
This rating is based on my fellow participants, my professors, the trips we took, and how I felt in London in general. So here are the breakdowns
Fellow participants: 9/10. I loved most of the people I was on the trip with. There were a couple of people who I didn’t feel any connection to whatsoever but thats not necessarily their fault. My biggest pet peeve was the fact that our kitchen was constantly filthy and I was always having to do other people’s dishes.
Professors: 7/10 I wish I could exclude one professor mainly because he was the only reason why this is a 7/10 instead of a 10/10. The other 3 professors we had were absolutely incredible and I’m even friends on Facebook with one of them and they’re just awesome people in general.
Out of London trips: 10/10 Out of London, we went to Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Oxford, Stonehenge, Bath, and Leeds.
London in general: 7/10 As far as a city, its pretty incredible how much it can jam into one place. Not only is it a art hub of the world, but it has an incredible theatre and music scene. The biggest issue is that it is scattered all over the city and at times can be very difficult to find. It also seems like there are really stable communities in all of these fields. It is a shockingly neat city seeing as how everyone smokes and are constantly throwing cigarette butts where they choose.
I don’t know why this was so hard for me to write but it was. It was one of the first times I’ve ever gotten writers block writing a blog post. I wouldn’t trade the experience I had, even if it was ridiculously tough at many times, for anything. I learned invaluable things that I wouldn’t have gotten from any other experience and for that, I am incredible grateful.
Now I will start my journey into fixing my mental stability. (eep)
Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?