London: Days 39-44// It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

So here we are guys, we’ve made it to the end; it’s the official final day of class today and I shall be leaving London in just a couple of days. This week has been incredibly slow and slightly painful, which is ironic because I had initially planned to keep myself pleasantly busy during every moment of it.  But after returning from my day trip from Brighton on Saturday I decided to take Sunday to recuperate. Monday I ventured out into the city to finally grab some Fish and Chips (yes, I know. it took me a while but it was just as delicious as I imagined it would be). I spent my Tuesday working on my presentation and portfolio for class and then attending a Jack the Ripper tour with my program. Final presentations were scheduled for Wednesday and there are several stressful complications that occurred regarding that.Today is our departure meeting since many of the students of the program will be leaving tomorrow. I cannot stress enough how exhausting this time has been for me; I’ve been trying to keep up with my classes, while simultaneously enjoying the last few days I had here in London but for some reason, the universe had other plans for me.

Preparing for my final presentation consisted of  “conspiracies”, outrageous claims made about my friend and me, an extreme lack of communication and respect amongst group members (or maybe I should just point out one specific member)  and a bunch of passive aggressive emails being sent throughout the entire week. After several attempts at remedying the situation despite my group members’ stubborn and rude attitude, it finally came time to present our projects and we got the entire ordeal over with (awkwardly, might I add. Because there was an obvious division amongst us as we got up in front of the class). I’m glad to say that that’s over, the entire experience has taught me so much about patience and communication (or lack thereof).

Not only have my courses this summer provided a tremendous education and insight, but over the 6 weeks of my program, I’ve also had to learn what it means to be mature in situations where all you really want to do is set someone on fire ; I coped with a difficult person whose own immaturity was deemed non-existent once he decided to talk rudely about myself and a good friend in front of everyone in the library of our campus, and claiming in front of our entire class that we were “conspiring against him” (Yes, those are quotation marks. Those were his exact words.) due to communication issues we suffered in our group. (Which were mostly due to his archaic means of technology #NotMyFault). What he said was very hurtful, untrue, unexpected and loaded statements that I never imagined anyone would ever have to say about me; they hit deep.

Despite his repeated claims (Again, in front of the entire class) that he would “be the adult about it,” his outbursts very much reminded me of the childish fits my  five-year-old niece would have whenever she didn’t get her way and that’s probably because that’s exactly what they were: tantrums. Over the last few days, the minor conflicts in our group grew and the situation escalated very quickly into something much more to which lead me to truly contemplate what was going on and assess how I wanted to deal with it. I’ve always been the person to react to things and people immediately; I act upon my feelings as I feel them. As I mentioned before, this mans commentary on me was absolutely outrageous and hurtful, causing me to feel the need to react in a manner as outrageously as him…but I did not.

I’ve learned something incredibly important from this man about maturity in difficult situations; this man is over forty years old and treated me as a child, despite the fact that we were in the same program doing the same work and collaborating in the same group. For the first time in my life, I made the personal (and very difficult) decision to not react outrageously or obnoxiously to this man. I had to take his public blows without responding because that is what adults do in certain situations — they do not throw a fit in public or play the role of a victim. They talk it out amongst themselves. They brush it off. They learn to let it be. Or at least that is the type of person I want to be, not a person who’s known for throwing tantrums in the library whenever a difficult situation comes along.

Fret not, I will not allow this one bad egg of a man taint my experience here. Although I wish this escalation of events didn’t occur during my final week here, It brings comfort to my heart knowing that it is over and I will (hopefully) never deal with this man again. It’s been six weeks and I’ve experienced so much, seen so much, met so many people, and learned so much about myself and others during this time. This trip was something I’d always dreamed of doing but never thought would actually be made a reality; now that I am at the very end of it I can say that it was exactly everything I wanted it to be and so much more. I’ve had some struggles, but they were all learning experiences that have helped me to grow much more into the type of woman I want to be. Words cannot accurately describe the overall beauty of this summer in London; I could probably cry because my days at Roehampton are now over, but I’m leaving the university with so much more than what I came with: A number of good friends from scattered parts of the globe, a deeper understanding and love of the culture of London that one could only gain after having spent some time here, and the knowledge that I am capable of thriving in an unfamiliar environment filled with unfamiliar faces on a whole other continent.

Prior to coming to London, I lacked a lot of confidence in myself in many aspects. I didn’t feel confident about making friends or developing close relationships with people, a lot of the time I tend to be alone back home. I didn’t feel confident about living on my own and away from my parents and siblings, the people who I love and rely on the most. My time here has been absolutely life changing —  I didn’t know that I could love a place that wasn’t home so much.

But the fun isn’t over just yet! Sometime during my time abroad, my parents decided it was a great Idea to “pick me up” from London. My abroad adventure this summer hasn’t finished quite yet, I may no longer be at the University of Roehampton but I will be staying in London until Sunday, then I will be venturing into France and Italy with my parents for a little adventure of our own together. After having spent so much time away from home, I’m excited to be reunited with my family in this city that I’ve grown to love so much in the past six weeks —  I’m going to be in the city I love with the people I love.

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