Rollercoaster Ride by Kayla Kozak

Studying abroad can be a daunting experience. For most of us, it is our first time leaving everything we know behind and heading into the unknown. Leading up to my departure, I remember there were days where I would be ecstatic about my adventure down under and other times where I questioned everything. What is important to know is that everyone goes through it whether they openly talk about it or not. When I finally arrived in Australia, the euphoria hit me all at once! All my fears left, and I felt like I was in a fairytale. I did a bunch of fun excursions, met new people, and explored the local culture. After this extended period of happiness, I had to eventually stabilize and get involved in my studies (which is why I am here, of course!). The “rosy tint” that my life had was now appearing normal. Because of this assimilation curve, I experienced some emotional low points. During this time, I was able to recognize the reasons for my feelings and coped by taking care of myself, having good friends to talk to, and using resources on-campus. Looking back on this, I learned that my emotions came from comparing my experiences to others and worrying that I was missing out on something. This is because I was so busy with activities that after awhile I became exhausted. However, instead of responding to this appropriately and slowing down my pace, I ignored these signals at first because I had been overtaken by a community of students who feel that they need to see and do everything while they are here. To transition out of this, I had to replace these thoughts by telling myself that each adventure is equal in value regardless of how it’s done. A wise person told me to think of it like the tortoise and the hare. If I completely shut myself out then I will have regrets, but if I go too quickly, I will burn out. To be truly satisfied, I must discover a speed that works for me where I can manage my time and energy to truly get the most out of my time overseas. The main lesson from this is that moderation is the key to success. Even when I had the world at my fingertips, I was still feeling stressed because I didn’t have a balanced lifestyle and a proper routine. I also realized that authentic, sustained happiness comes from within! 😊

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