Hi all! Sorry this post is a bit late; I got caught up in finals week work and forgot to post some but I’m making up for it on the train ride to Scotland! The biggest challenge I faced was the first week after arrival. On the trip here, my luggage got lost AND my laptop got broken. Thus, I had no way to do online stuff and no clothes to wear; I’d say that is pretty challenging! The computer was the harder part for me of it all, believe it or not. I put a lot of time and energy into my machine working and looking the way that I like; to be deprived of such an essential part of my study space was like missing a limb. But I’d say that I actually handled it very well; several people told me that had they been in my shoes they would have had a very public meltdown over it. I don’t know exactly how I managed to take it in stride so well; I think it may have something to do with my past experience traveling with a choir. There is always SOMETHING that goes wrong on those; one year, a group of us (me included) had got lost in Philadelphia and had to find our way to the hotel just the 10 of us. Another year, a girl accidentally kicked a snake and had to run away. There’s always something, so I didn’t have as much panic as I would have if I was new to travel abroad. I rounded up a few new friends and took a journey to Primark. Primark is a ride or die for me now; it carried me through a rough moment and had everything I needed from new clothes to a hairdryer. I love Primark so much, and I’m sad that there isn’t one closer to my house. Boots is also iconic; they had all of my toiletry needs in house, so with one stop to Westfield Mall (absolutely huge by the way, I have no idea how that big of a mall had that many crowds and was in that big of a city), I was set. As for my computer, I bought a crappy laptop off of Amazon in an attempt to replace it, but that didn’t really work and I returned it. So I went to Argos (a legendary store by the way) and bought an external monitor. The screen was broken on my laptop but the PC was ok, so plugging in a monitor worked for what I needed. Although laying out that much money at one time kind of made me sick, I knew at least some was reimbursed. That experience made me realize a few things. One, I’m actually as levelheaded as I say on my interviews. I always use that as an answer to “use one word to describe you”, and now I know that it’s actually true. Two, people are kinder than I give them credit for. The people I went with on the trip barely knew me but were willing to loan me clothes/other stuff while I didn’t have anything. And finally, I know I can always call my mom when I need a good rant. Whether it’s 8am or midnight, she’ll pick up. Overall, my advice to others would be if you have the option of checking your carryon to your final destination, DO NOT. Try to keep it with you if possible, or you may end up with no clothes in London.

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