Life lessons I've learned while being 10,000 miles from home

Lessons Learned 10,000 Miles From Home

There is an infinitive number of life lessons I've learned while staying in a foreign country for 4 months but here are what I believe have been the most important ones.

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There is an infinitive number of life lessons I've learned while staying in a foreign country for 4 months but here are what I believe have been the most important ones. My experience with studying abroad has been one long roller coaster of an adventure I'll never forget. I've had the opportunity to meet people who will become my lifelong friends and build my relationship with those I've known even stronger. It truly was an experience of a lifetime, so allow me to walk you through some of the most important things I've not only held close to my heart but will take with me as life lessons as my semester abroad comes to an end.

Money

I figured I'd start with the easy one. Money doesn't grow on trees. My parents used to tell me that when I was younger and usually I'd give them wise answer such as "money is paper and paper comes from trees" (I know, I know, sorry Mom) but there's no doubt I've learned my lesson. Money seems to just disappear into thin air. Somedays I could've sworn I was doing alright with money then I would wake up with 6 cents left in my bank account. Moral of the story, being in a foreign country with no real method of income had some value to it. I've perfected my budgeting skills while still making the most of my time here. That goes without saying I am forever thankful and grateful to my friends and family that added to that support along the way. But don't let me fool you, having fun costs a lot of money alright.


Friendships

Now, never did I think I'd be leaving this program with a couple of lifelong friends but lucky for me, that's exactly what happened. When you're over 10,000 miles away from home you're going to cling on to anything that makes you feel comfortable. For me, knowing all of these people are in the same boat as I was is what I gravitated towards. We were essentially each others' temporary homes. That's a big task, to just build a relationship in such a short period of time with an absolute stranger. But somehow that's just how it went. We went from complete and utter strangers to saying we love each other and have each others' backs in a matter of 2 weeks. I'm forever grateful that I landed the best possible roommates a girl could've asked for. I learned a lot about life from the experiences of the people I surrounded myself with. It's been amazing to step back and think about how much we've all grown and learned from eachother, something that may not ever happen in such a short time period. Nevertheless, aside from making new friends here it was apparent as to who my true friends were back home too. For those of you constantly checking in and talking to me when I was extra home sick, I can't thank you enough. Both my friends and family were nothing but supportive and comforting even from 10,000 miles away, how did I get so lucky?


Narrabean Beach

Self

One of the biggest and most important things I've learned during this experience was understanding myself. I have never been put into half the situations I faced being here. I never realized how lonely it was to take care of myself when I was sick or traveling alone in a foreign country. I never really knew how to pick myself up even on my worst days. These are the kind of fundamental 'adult' things I've been learning. Nonetheless I have my amazing best friend here with me helping me every second she can (Tess I can't thank you enough, I love you) but sometimes I had to do things for myself. Some days this was the hardest thing to do. Putting yourself first and understanding yourself is never a fully accomplished task. But, along the way I found some coping mechanism for stress and anxiety that I never would've learned without the adventure. And I'm not just saying this to say it, studying abroad has given me the tools for the future into how to take care of myself both physically and mentally.

Bondi Beach Alex King

People are Different

Seems pretty simple right? Wrong. Sure people are different. People come from different ways of life. People aren't going to agree with you. People are going to handle situations differently than you do. People have different standards and morales as you. Heck, some people have never washed a plate in their lives. Or have never boiled pasta. For some reason, this lesson took me some time to understand. It might just be my bossy, 'always have to be right' personality but it also just may be something I never noticed before. Although, it grew my patience to a whole new level and I'm thankful for that. Not only has it taught me to have patience for people but not to care or worry about others' decisions or what they're doing. Someone wants to go out 7 nights a week and bring a new boy home every night? You go girl. Someone likes to spend their nights staying in, watching netflix? Me too!! Regardless of the situation, if it doesn't affect you then your opinion really doesn't matter at the end of the day. I mean unless you're being kind then it matters of course. Anyways, I think you understand what I'm trying to say. Everyone is different. People are coming from different upbringings. People are fighting different battles you may not know about. So in return, have patience, respect, and understanding for people who may not do things like you.

Hopefully some of you can relate, especially those who have or are currently studying abroad. The experience itself is almost indescribable. I haven't entirely found the right words to sum up the beautiful madness of spending a semester in Australia. It's a little bit of laughing until you pee your pants, crying on facetime because you're homesick, mixing in a little homework (yes we did go to school here), blowing $80 on drinks at a bar you don't even remember the name of, soaking up the rays every second that a glimpse of yellow shines in the sky, dancing… LOTS of dancing, and making countless memories with strangers who have become your best friends. I am forever grateful for this opportunity to study abroad here in Australia. There is not one thing I would've changed about my time here; if anything, where am I off to next?

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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What They Don't Tell You About College

No pamphlet, website, or tour can even come close...

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College is a crazy adventure full of ups and downs, the highest highs and the lowest lows, the unexpected, and the even more unexpected. No one can put this into words but I'm here to try...

1. It flies

Like at the speed of light. I still feel as if I started college this Fall and am just wrapping up my Freshman year. However, looking back that feels like a lifetime ago. The years of college don't follow the laws of natural time, I'm convinced.

2. It's the best and worst thing that will happen to you

At first, it's the worst. A new place with no friends, more schoolwork, sometimes an unknown future, and lost soul. Then, it quickly becomes the best. New friends, schoolwork pertains to your major, classes are interesting, social events are happening all the time, newfound independence, and a feeling of both accomplishment and importance as an individual.

3. You will change

In more ways than one. This can be mentally, physically, emotionally, developmentally, personality-wise, academic, and many others. No one person stays the same throughout college, it's just impossible. But the changes will turn out to be for the best and allow you to learn things about yourself that you never knew existed.

4. You will grow

As an individual. You will find your place, purpose, destiny, however you want to describe it. But you'll find it. Although I didn't notice while it was happening, looking back at my freshman year self I see how much I've grown and matured.

5. It's not too late to find your best friends 

Even though you think you have your best friends from growing up, you will make unbreakable bonds with your college friends. There's something about living together and spending every waking moment, the good and the bad, together that makes college friends very special.

6. School is important, but it's not everything

Yes, grades are important and studying is essential in doing well in college. However, from a senior's perspective applying to jobs, one bad test grade doesn't define you as a student. The memories you make in college are once in a lifetime and missing out on them for one night of studying just isn't worth it. Enjoy your time in college. Work hard, but realize that a 100 and a 97 are the same letter grade. and one poor grade won't ruin your career.

7. College IS for everyone

It's what you make of it. How you carve your own path and make it your own. You have total control of making these four years the best for you personally, and I promise it's worth it.

As graduation comes closer and closer, I am reflecting on the last four years and what I learned that came unexpectedly. Some things happened suddenly and some over time, but nonetheless it took four years time to connect the dots.

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