Hello again, this is Lina checking in from Istanbul!
I never realized how much of a whirlwind this past month has been until I sat down to reflect and look over the photos I took. If you ever study abroad or travel to a foreign country, I would recommend you keep a journal or photo/video diary to help piece together what you accomplished daily. Since my last update, I have consistently traveled to different cities or neighborhoods each weekend. If it weren’t for the myriad of photos and notes I took, I would have forgotten some of the fun times I had with friends. Because time is passing by so quickly each day, I have been struggling with balancing my priorities.
In the past, I have had similar problems with time management, but studying abroad really takes it to the next level. Instead of sleeping, I will opt to bake cookies and have movie nights with friends. Instead of eating at the university cafeteria, I will find excuses to eat at different restaurants. Instead of studying, I will choose to plan my next weekend excursion. After falling into this hole of doing too much and not taking time to process, I finally took a step back to reflect how I wanted to spend my time. Even though I have had more fun than I could have possibly imagined, I need to begin following a stricter calendar to block off time to eat, sleep, and study more. Let me just tell you, saying ‘no’ to friends is one of the hardest things I have done as an extrovert. However, I have bit the bullet and began restructuring my life to align with my basic priorities. Think about the analogy of putting various sized rocks in a jar. You have to put the biggest rocks in before trickling in the rest of the smaller ones. If you start off with the small debris and sand, you’ll never be able to fit the large rocks in last.
I’m not saying that I’ll be able to perfect this system and spend my time at the maximum efficiency, but awareness is definitely the first step in fixing an issue. Despite this setback, I don’t regret taking each opportunity that I’ve been handed throughout this past month. If anything, I am not surprised about how carried away I have been with exploring Turkey. This country has not failed to amaze me every time I go out; I am grateful every day to be here and experience life in such a different world.
This post was contributed by Lina Zhao, a 2018 Global Ambassador.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Lina’s experience in Turkey>>