So you’ve made it past the first few weeks of the semester and you are on fire for the rest of it. Absolutely brilliant!
BUT, what are you going to do once the honeymoon of studying in the US wears off and things aren’t as great as when you first arrived?
The weather is going to get colder, the excitement of starting the semester will fade as you receive more assignments, and before you know it finals week will be upon you. Stress levels, and your mood levels, are bound to go up and down like any roller coaster. Therefore, what is your strategy plan?
Particularly when you go through the bell curve of culture shock; after a few weeks the euphoria of being in a new place wears off and things can suddenly seem quite negative. I remember from my own study abroad experiences when I just couldn’t take one more American joke. Feelings of frustration can very quickly change one’s mood which can potentially affect your studies. As this is the last thing you want to have happen, it is always worth having an action plan in place before things go pear shaped.
Here is a list of possible things you can do should you need something ‘extra’ to perk back up.
1. Remember what you have done in the past that has worked to make yourself feel better. As you would have had previous bad days, think about what worked back then to help you overcome the blues. Given the typical student life, your blues may be the result of too many late nights, not the best food, and generally not taking care of yourself. Solve it by eating something ‘real’, full of nutrition, put on your pajamas and grab some zsss. More often than not, you will wake up feeling a bit better.
2. Check out all of the services on campus. If you are only focusing on your studies, then you definitely need to get out there and integrate. From the Counseling Center to Student Union to International Office to Volunteer Office, there is a wealth of support and opportunities available to you so do make sure that you tap into it particularly as it is there for you!
3. If you are feeling homesick, then it may be a case of Skyping home, staying active on social media, eating familiar food. Expand this by finding your local expat community. Sometimes hearing a familiar accent is all it takes to make us appreciate being where we are again.
4. Go online. There are so many useful websites so definitely look at your university website as it will be a great resource for community and external support.
5. Remember this is just a momentary thing; this will pass. Just as you know yourself from previous experiences, things do get better.
6. Should you still have difficulty in shifting the blues, then definitely go to the University Health Center or see your doctor. It is common to have a bad day from time to time, or even a few bad days. If you find yourself staying down for a longer amount of time, you owe it to yourself, your family, and those that care about you to see a doctor.
Remember, you are the only who can take care of yourself so ensure that you do so. Stay strong with enough strength to know when you need additional support and you will be so proud of yourself that you have!
ISV Magazine Contributor
Placement Development Advisor and Postgraduate Researcher, Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP), Faculty of Media and Communication