Wow, it’s been a busy few days, hence the lack of #BlogEverydayInMay posts! I usually blog in the evenings, but I’ve had things going on and it’s hard to get back into my usual groove. Anyway, the two prompts that I’ve missed are: “What is your favourite stamp in your passport” and “What are you struggling with right now?” which I am going to combine in a “London Reflection”!
I love passport stamps. Ever since I got my passport for a school trip to Canada my senior year, I’ve longed to have this little book filled with details of my adventures. Unfortunately, crossing the US-Canada border doesn’t necessitate a stamp, so I had to wait until my trip to Paris the following year. I remember looking at the stamp fondly, as a record of my first flight and first trip to Europe. My favourite stamp, however, is on page 8 — this is where I have my British visa and a stamp on the right-hand side dating from September 25th at Heathrow Terminal 3. This is where this whole year began, on a morning I barely remember because I was jet-lagged out of my skull and starting to have that creeping sensation of “oh my god what have I done?” Looking back on it now, however, and I have fonder feelings towards it. That sticker and the little stamp on the side represent this entire year and the emotions, adventures, and growth that have come with it. This year has flown by faster than I realised until about two weeks ago.
I feel like I’ve been here forever, but I’ve been living in Europe for eight months and will be back in the States in just about 18 days. I’ve already written about the emotional ups and downs that I’ve ridden throughout the year, but right now, I’m thinking about how close I was to not studying abroad, or not coming here specifically, and I can’t imagine my life without this experience. This year has allowed me to visit twelve countries, fall in love with London, have one of the most academically-enriching years I’ve ever had, meet incredible people, and grow more than I ever expected. I am not the person who flew out of JFK on September 24th and am so happy that I have survived.
And now onto the tough part: exams. Before I can go on my bittersweet way back to the States on June 4th, I have to make it through four exams which the LSE Exams Department felt the need to point out are made intentionally difficult. Thanks, guys. I’ve never taken exams in the British system before and these exams in general just feel different to me. I’ve had a difficult weekend in terms of studying (“revision”!) because right now, I’m feeling very overwhelmed and like I just can’t wrap my head around things. It shifts from one class to another — on Friday, I was stressing about my Islamic Empires exam, and now I’m stressing about my Politics in Europe class. I have my first exam on Tuesday which is my Islamic Empires exam and I’m starting to feel better about it, but trying to force an entire year’s worth of information into my head is sparking some of my [until-now latent] anxiety, which is just great. And it’s not like I haven’t been a good student all year, so much that this year has thrown my confidence in my intelligence for a serious loop, which I believe is completely necessary in terms of growth and all that, but I’m scared. That’s the only way I can say it: I’m scared to take these exams. It’s hard to be so close to the end that I can feel what my bed at home feels like, but have four incredibly difficult hurdles to jump over (haha, hurdles, my old elbow-breaking friend) and I find myself saying “I just want to go home” as I try to read my notes. Friday and Saturday were hardest, but I woke up today in a much better mood and am finally able to take some deep breaths. Once I have Tuesday out of the way, the exams won’t feel so new, so I think that will help a lot. Until then, however, I just need to push myself through and it will all be over soon. Wish me luck!
Inspired to be,