When I first arrived in London I had a “To Do:” list with EVERYTHING on it: goal setting, student life, experiences, and travel ideas. I also made a pact with myself that during my semester abroad I would be different — I would stop procrastinating and get all my work done during the week so that I could be free to travel All of Europe on my days off. After two weeks of classes, I realized that my expectations were too big the reality and it was time to take a plan of action.
To Do List Action Plan:
1. Instead of spending hours in the endless pit that is “the internet” and reading travel blogs, I decided on the most meaningful experiences and adventures and invested time in researching them only. In a notebook, I wrote it down and started to plan out my adventures by adding details about travel time, cost, and attractions.
2. I blew the dust off of the daily planner I bought two months ago (and haven’t used since) and got to down to business using coloured pens and highlighters to write in every assignment due date, events, and important dates. I went from having over 25 hours of class a week at U of T to 10 hours at King’s, but I have much more independent work to do during the day. It is not only important for me to keep track of my homework so that I don’t fall in the pit of procrastination, but especially to enjoy the opportunities of studying abroad.
3. Now, here’s the hard part: Budgeting. Even though, it’s a scary word all it means is managing time and money effectively, of which it is surprisingly easier to accomplish both at the same time. Since I spread out my adventures so that I have time for my assignments, weekly jazz society meetings, and to give my wallet a break between trips. I’ve been so grateful that in London the best museums (like the British Museum) are free and there are so many places that give student discounts including most attractions, restaurants, and retailers.
4. I have never been a picture-taker because I prefer soaking in the moment, but whilst abroad I have made an effort to capture at least one memory a week. As part of my action plan, I am going to either keep a ticket or take a picture from every experience that I have. I will also be creating a playlist with songs from all of the concerts I go to, which will be really fun to share with you.
This weeks tune is “Gardens” by The Coach House Company from their EP Maiden Tales. The CHC is a young folk band form Cambridge and London who blend together traditional folk music with a youthful brightness to the sound. There music is very flavourful and very British.
Going on exchange is a balancing act with school, friends, student life, and travel, I definitely have a lot more responsibility to stay organized in the amount of free time I have. In only 3 weeks, I have been slowly checking along off my “To Do:” List and had many memorable experiences, connected with old friends, and have made new ones.
I miss you Uof6!