Indiana University Overseas Study

JoanO

I’m about to reveal a secret. I mean something I don’t like to tell anyone. I’m still in denial that it’s true, really. I don’t like to talk about it but I’m going to right now. Just for you.

I’m graduating this year.

Graduating has such a negative connotation for so many soon-to-be seniors. Growing up, leaving Bloomington, moving away from our families and friends, paying bills, cooking, working 9-5—the list of harsh realities goes on and on. While we tactfully dodge conversations about graduation and our futures, fear is building in our minds.

This fear will only go away once we’re out on our own and see that we’re going to survive, and maybe even flourish in the real world. Therefore, I’m viewing my abroad experience as a “real world test run” and it’s making my fear of graduation a little easier to deal with.

I should explain my abroad program first because it’s a little different than most people’s experiences. I’m interning full time at a public relations consultancy specializing in real estate and banking. We have Fridays off but have a 3 hour class that spans most of the afternoon.

I wake up at 7am every day, put on a blazer and dress pants and take the tube for my 30 minutes commute across the city. At 5:30pm I go home and cook dinner—usually with a glass of wine—and usually hit the gym before falling asleep around 10 in order to do it all again. And I’ll tell you another secret: It’s not that bad. The real world is actually kind of fun.

No, 7am alarms are not ideal, but that’s the worst of it. I like working and have learned that I can really see myself doing what I’ve been studying all these years to do. I’ve learned to cook for myself, gotten creative in the kitchen, and seen that it’s actually pretty easy to do! I’ve learned how to balance a successful work life with a healthy social life seeing as I’m still experiencing the great London night life on the weekends and the iconic London pubs some days after work. On top of it all, I’ve also gotten to experience an awesome new city in a way most people don’t get to—fully immerged in a British company.

I’m still having a blast with friends here, doing awesome things on the weekends and I’m developing skills like cooking and time management that will allow me to be successful in my future adult life. I’m getting even more than I ever thought I would out of my abroad experience. I’m getting all the culture and adventure of England and spending a summer abroad, but I’m also getting life skills to help me after graduation regardless of what country I’m in.

My abroad experience is a true test run in the real world for me. Before long I’m going to find myself doing this for real in America and I’ve been terrified and overwhelming thinking that I’ll never be successful or my life as a social butterfly will be over. This trip has shown me that couldn’t be farther from the truth and that the real world is maybe even something to look forward to. That is, after I have an awesome senior year.

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