Just like that, the first half of my placement is coming to an end, so I thought I would do an (honest!) reflection of my time here so far!
I feel so settled here now, in my job and the friends I have made, so it feels funny to think back to the first couple of months when that wasn’t the case. When I first arrived, I was full of nervous excitement, everything was new and usually I would find that quite overwhelming, but I think I had so much adrenaline in me all the time that I kind of just coasted through the workdays…
At first, I was also enjoying life outside of work, there was so much for me to explore and therefore easy to keep myself occupied. I think I was just on this high from the move, however it’s fair to say this didn’t last.
Don't be too hard on yourself
Being at work was good, I was surrounded by people and was always keeping busy. But as the weekends approached, my mindset would start to go downhill, I started to view them as two days of loneliness looming ahead of me rather than two days of freedom. As I have said in a previous blog, there really weren’t many people here when I first arrived in August, people were still holidaying, and the students hadn’t arrived at the uni yet. I tried very hard to keep myself busy, but nothing ever seemed to take as long as I thought it would and then I was just left with empty space where I would just spiral. What was I doing here? Am I just bad at making friends? Am I doing enough? These questions were constantly swimming around my head. Now when I look back, I realise how silly it was of me to be so hard on myself, I had just moved to a new country, where no one speaks the same language as me and I had only been there a MONTH.
Luckily this all changed when I went on a student lead hiking trip – honestly one of the highlights of my internship so far! I remember the morning of the trip I arrived at the meeting point, and it was SO awkward, people were stood in small groups but no one was really speaking. I quickly started to panic, wondering what I was doing and if it was going to be like that the whole trip. But I decided to put my big girl pants on and make the first move, wriggling my way into a group of girls, and luckily it worked.
I spent the rest of the trip with the biggest smile on my face. Hiking, it turns out, is a great way to learn a lot about another person and I came away from that trip with some amazing friends, who I now see on a regular basis.
Since that trip my happiness here has just grown and grown and those rough first couple of months feel like a lifetime ago!
Don't give up!
I think the point I am trying to make is that if you’re going through a period of loneliness, change or challenge, whether that’s at uni or placement, please please please remember that it WILL get better, just don’t give up! I think it’s important to remember that when you embark on these big life changes it won’t always be easy – (if it was everyone would do it), so if you are finding it difficult, cut yourself some slack and just take things one step at a time and things will work themselves out.