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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 19, 2024

What I Wish I Knew: Routine? Never heard of it

The Tower Bridge in London is pictured, January 2023.

“Just give it a few weeks, and you’ll settle into a routine.” That’s what I heard my entire first week in London. “It’ll get so much easier once you get your schedule down. Just wait until things get a little less crazy.”

What I Wish I Knew: Things will never get less crazy.

It’s impossible to keep a stable routine while abroad. It’s true that now, a month in, I solidly know my class schedule, but 90% of my life in London takes place outside of academia, and that 90% of my life completely lacks routine.

Instead of eat, sleep, repeat, my life is more like eat, homework, go out, sleep, wake up in a panic, try and do homework, get invited to lunch, go from lunch to shopping, get back and rest, do no homework, plan to do it the next day, then go sit at a pub for five hours instead.

I’ve made plans to stay in my room and do work only to have a friend invite me for coffee, then we end up sitting in a cafe for hours. I’ve planned to wake up early to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace only to sleep through my alarm because I was out until 3 a.m. the night before. I’ve hoped to catch up on readings only to find out that my friend traveling Europe decided to take a spontaneous trip to London, and instead of studying, I spend my week at the Tower Bridge, the National Gallery and Borough Market.

Absolutely noneof this is a complaint. I’ve been so privileged this last month to visit some of the most amazing sights in the world alongside some of the best people. I just wish I’d known that the sea of study abroad will never calm: I just have to somehow find some sea legs.

Study abroad is not for stability: It’s for spontaneity.

As a self-acknowledged “control enthusiast” (*ahem* control freak), it would’ve been nice to prepare myself more for the fact that it would be impossible to plan out my life here. But that’s the beauty of this program. I’m pushing myself to let loose and learn how to be more flexible with my schedule.

In fact, two weeks ago, I wrote on my calendar that I should write this column the Sunday before its publication date. Then my friends and I sat in a coffee shop in Soho for four hours, so I said I’d write it Monday, but then I had to rewrite an entire paper after the professor changed the prompt last minute. So, even though today is Tuesday, and I have classes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., I have no choice but to write it today because I’m leaving for Barcelona tomorrow.

No matter how much you try to plan out your life while abroad, it will never work out. But I have no complaints. I’ll take Barcelona tomorrow over a routine today anytime.