So I’m here! It’s a bit weird to be writing this on a new desk, with a new view (sorta, it’s pitch black where I am right now!) and in a new country, but the blog must go on! I must admit, I’m having a bit of a social anxiety moment right now, because as I’m blogging I’m thinking, What if everyone is talking and becoming friends? While I’m here talking to the internet?
Well, to that I say a big fuck you to that though. That’s lesson 1 today folks: Thou must not get socially anxious the moment you are alone, you will make friends, if you do not, at least you tried- and you have to study anyway.
But I digress, I haven’t written an Oxford Diaries post for ages so I must go back a bit. I’ve jumped from application drama to ta-da, I’m here! I’ll write another post about funding, pre-departure tips and the art of saying goodbye without bursting into tears (I haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m getting better) later, but for now, I just want to talk about Settling In.
Moving into a new place is hard, especially if you’re remotely Type A like me, and totally analyze the heck out of everything needlessly. I was a bit bummed when I got here because I realised that my house is a good 10 minutes away from the campus. Is this important? Well, yes and no. I have to work harder to meet people who can just frolic their way to a close neighbor. I also have safety and security issues as I have none for my house! But Lesson 2 is coming up right now, Look for the Bright Side in Everything. Because, truly, there is one! My bright side? I get privacy (Fuck yeah!) and I get silence and I truly get to know the people I live with. There are no distractions and it feels like real living. I have a huge kitchen as well, maybe I’ll even learn how to cook!
When you’re Settling In, I think that’s when students feel their most insecure and most homesick. I am the insecure and pessimistic types and languished in my room the first day. Do not do this. I was so scared that I’d fail in making friends, or meet people and they wouldn’t like me, that I was shooting the opportunity before it even arrived. You have to throw yourself out there and if it works, great, if not, well, their loss. Thankfully, with the help of friends and family at home, Lesson 1 was developed. It’s a balance of home and social activities, and if you want to be alone (confidently and with self-esteem), then that is best!
But my experience particularly? I left The Bahamas a week ago and was fortunate that my Aunt was able to come with me. I initially resisted this, because I prefer to travel alone, especially when sad or weepy but having someone proved to be the wiser decision. She brought a huge pool of resources with her such as family, contacts, a house to stay for a little bit and a chance to get familiar with everything. I went to London, got to ride the Overground (and went under!), I saw Sussex, Beachy Head, Eastbourne and Brighton. It was amazing, and I am eternally grateful towards her for it!
Coming with someone also gave me the chance to relax, as I had someone there with me every step of the way. She helped me get a UK sim, open a UK bank account and translated some social norms along the way. For instance, don’t ask for pants in a UK store, they think you’re asking for underwear. There are tons of funny idiosyncrasies that I’ll talk about in another post! Finally I moved into Oxford on Tuesday and I’ve been fortunate to meet people, walk around, join the local library and have some ‘me‘ time. I still struggle and worry about a lot of things, but I’m trying.
I’m sorry if I’m a bit jumpy or writing all over the place, a part of me wants the Oxford Diaries to be this mini-anthropological digital retelling of a college experience, and a part of me wants it to be a mini-journal of good and bad moments. Maybe I can find a good middle?