The Balancing Act
The work-life balance. It’s something we all strive to achieve, but like many things it’s usually a case of “easier said than done”. Perhaps you might think that being on a year abroad (or maybe university in general), it would be a case of either one or the other. However, I’ve found that being abroad is without a doubt making me strive even harder to achieve this so called balance.
In a previous blog I mentioned my desire to travel and I can proudly say I have indeed managed to tick a few places off my list.
First up was a day trip to Washington D.C. and it was completely different to the calm, student-bubble that is colonial Williamsburg. I visited the Air and Space Museum, the White House (pictured to the left), the Natural History Museum and the Washington Monument. Coming from living in the suburbs of London, it was so refreshing to be back where the streets were full and bustling with people. The vibrant life of a big city is something I definitely miss from home, so I absolutely loved D.C.
At the start of October W&M had their fall break, which was basically a long weekend. As ridiculous as it sounds, the workload is much more continuous and intense than what I’m used to at Exeter so it’s safe to say I was fairly relieved when fall break eventually rolled around. During fall break I managed to squeeze in a short trip to Virginia Beach, which was great and the fact that the weather was nice too made it even better (I don’t know how often you can say that in the UK).
In addition to a little bit of travelling, I’ve also been actively involved with my sorority and squeezing in some studying too. The best tip I can provide to anyone, regardless of whether you’re on a study abroad year or not is to study smart. During the majority of the week, I’ll be out of classes by 12pm so I head straight to the library and stay till around 4 or 5pm every day. Now whilst this may sound intense, it does mean most of my evenings are free for me to go to socials and even exercise (this option is less frequently chosen I must admit). But, what I’ve learnt on the whole is that student life is about balance. Whilst heading to the library for 4 hours a day may seem scary at first, I promise you that in the long run it will leave you with more opportunity to fill your free time doing things that you want to do like travel, socialising and sports.
Maybe it’s unique to W&M, but being in a place filled with such passionate and determined people spurs me on to do the same. However, unlike the majority of the student population I am not from the US and want to take full advantage of my short time here. And yes, I did say short. I without a doubt went into this year wondering how on earth I would manage to stay away from home for so long. Time, however, is quite literally flying by with the days being so full and so much happening within a short space of time. But that’s what has made my year abroad so far so unique. This lifestyle is not something I’m used to but I enjoy the challenges it brings and I can feel it benefiting me in ways, academically and personally, that I’d never have expected before coming here.