Remember your excitement
I have been feeling the growing anxiety as the last two weeks are unfolding faster than I can register that… I'm really leaving my country. Yet, I feel the excitement as much as I feel the worry. Fortunately, I get little signs and reminders that it is okay to be excited and that holding onto that excitement is deserved. I deserve to study away because I put in the work to be there. So did you and by every right, YOU DESERVE TO BE EXCITED.
Plan ahead, sis. As much as you can, PLEASE plan ahead. Make a list, set reminders, stick up as many sticky notes as you are able, even send yourself reminders in some elaborate way. Just get all your paperwork done ahead of time and ON TIME. You'll save yourself major stress and from overthinking/second-guessing. It's also never too late to research and understand what to bring or pack so you're not scrambling last minute.
Communicate with your study abroad adviser(s)
If you are being hosted by a university within your country and are travelling outside through some partnership between the universities, communicate between both to ensure the best outcome. Share your concerns, ask questions, and utilize their assistance as much as you can. That is their job to help you. Thou shalt not worry if you present your worries and get answers.
Anxiety is not an easy thing to distract yourself from, but it can be done. Spend time with family, friends, work, or volunteer somewhere. Do things you enjoy or haven't done in a while. Write down little details of memories of home. Take pictures of your favorite places or people to bring with you abroad. Focus on something that will interest you enough to make the blank time go faster or slower.
Make memories at home
Whether you make memories with loved ones or by yourself, they will carry you far if homesickness sets in. Go on short adventures to places that you've never really bothered to check out. Take walks and enjoy the special things that make home, a home. You may find those where you travel too!
Honestly, I fantasize what it'll be like in NZ. Will it shock me? Can I imagine how it will smell? How the air and wind will feel? How will the sun greet me? Will the stars be different? How will I fix my hair? Which outfits will I bring? Can I get this food over there? Will I get food-poisoned? The list of what-ifs and possibilities dance in my brain freely. It just builds on the excitement, if a little nerve wracking if I let my thoughts take over.
Write down or record your feelings - let them all out
Writing down your anxious feelings can help you identify what your feelings are, as well as how you respond to them. I like to do this to know how I can improve myself. It's also nice to look back on those feelings in the future and smile (or cringe) at what you wrote. Much of my little scribbles and notes have helped my realize that I am human. I'm allowed to feel everything I need to and eventually stop feeling them to feel something new.
Be proud of yourself!
Take pride in the work you've accomplished so far. Celebrate them and reward yourself with whatever you rarely experience or receive. Eat that food, exercise, get your hair or nails done, drink that expensive drink you never buy but love, or any wonderful experience that you haven't felt yet or haven't in some time.
Above all, be present in every part of your experience. You'll think of it all one day and hopefully tell the next person. You may just surprise yourself with how important it is to take it all in, even the unpleasant feelings. You got this and I can't wait for you to go off on your own adventures.
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