National parks, class assignments, grocery shopping, exams. Between all those exciting opportunities and responsibilities in your new environment it is easy to get overwhelmed. Every day, you will find a gazillion different possibilities to spend your precious time. Six weeks into my semester abroad at Northern Arizona University in the United States, these are the six things that I have learned are key to a happy, healthy, and truly unforgettable experience.
Get Involved on Campus
The first couple of days will have you running from one welcome event to the next, meeting lots of new people and in between, you’ll need to figure out where best to buy bedding. It will be exhausting. BUT make sure to get involved from the beginning by joining a university club. Be it hiking, photography or philosophy: inspiring conversations, like-minded people, and unforgettable memories are awaiting. It will be so worth it!
Slash that Bucket List
Honestly, an extensive bucket list won’t do you any good. It’ll stress you out! Your time is limited, and you will want to see everything. Also, however, you’re going to have lots of work to do for college. You don’t want to be stressed out all week long. To make trips that you won’t even be able to enjoy fully because there is just so much stuff you need to get done. Instead, relax. Take the time to explore your city. Do homework, grab lunch with friends and defend your team at that football game on the weekend – Go Lumberjacks! Honestly, slow down.
There WILL be a few things and places you really want to go and see though; so this one perfect opportunity comes up. Your friends are planning an awesome roadtrip to that spectacular place and everything about it feels just right for you. But you have a bunch of deadlines looming. What you do is work hard in advance and go on that trip. Listen to what you truly want and make it work.
Plan Some Alone Time
Especially if you’re an introvert. It’s easy to get lost between classes, homework and meetups with your friends that keep coming up and fill your days. Consciously take the time to be with yourself. Recharge your batteries. Go for a walk and marvel at autumn’s colors, hit the gym, meditate. Invest that time, it will make a world of a difference.
Set Aside Time for Friends and Family at Home
It will sometimes be hard to connect with people at home the way you used to. Time will fly, with everything happening in your life. Make sure to regularly carve out some time and dedicate it to the people that are important to you. Get up an hour earlier and make that call.
Breathe and Smile
This is supposed to be fun. Do what you feel like doing. Don’t get stressed out by all those places you haven’t yet seen. Enjoy where you are. Take it all in. Be open. Anything might happen - but nothing must.
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