Balancing the Scales
by Jessica Gill
I have been in London, UK for a whole term now and I can safely say I feel quite settled in. Whether you’re moving to a new town, new state or a whole new country, there is definitely an adjustment period that comes with it. As the last few months have gone by, I have figured out a few tips and tricks that helped me stay sane as I went through so many new experiences. Below are my top 5 tips for finding balance between school, a new place, and new people.
Find a routine: I would argue one of the most important things would be to build a routine for yourself, including things like eating, studying, socializing, and self-care. When you’re in a new place with so much unfamiliarity around you, making a routine that can be familiar to you helps with settling in and being more comfortable in your new surroundings. Also keep in mind that your routine doesn’t have to be rigid. As things come up, your day to day schedule will definitely change, especially in the beginning of your move. As time goes on things will settle and become more consistent, though I’d encourage you to still find ways to keep things interesting to avoid going on “autopilot”. For that refer to the next few points!
2. Immerse yourself: There is so much to do in London itself and the same goes for any new city. Take the time to go through and find the best spots around town, the places locals frequent or even go out and do some of the “tourist-y” things. As you learn about your new home it helps you become comfortable and helps distract from homesickness. This can tie into the first tip as well. Set aside time to explore in your routine, and as you find your new favourite coffee shops, restaurants, or study spots, incorporate those into your routine and build your daily schedule into something even more exciting!
3. Find others in the same boat: I was lucky that my program has so many Canadians. We were all experiencing a lot of the same emotions in terms of moving to a new place and starting a new program. We were able to create a small support system between ourselves because we all understood what we were going through. Finding others that come from similar backgrounds will help you with Tip #4 as well. You can look for people who have just moved, have been out of school for a certain period of time, that come from a similar undergrad degree, etc.
4. Network: This is crucial in any field, but specifically building a network within your program will help you get through the next few years. A great place to start is within your law faculty and even upper years. Once again, I’m very lucky that the students in my program have put in place a mentorship program that paired me with an upper year who is able to guide me through this year. She has helped me navigate through the past term, especially guiding me on how to complete law essays, something I had not had experience with in my undergrad.
5. Get involved: There are tons of opportunities to be involved in your communities, university or otherwise. Pro-bono work seems to be largely popular among my peers, but our law school has provided many opportunities that include signing up for volunteer work as well. There are also societies in the university that you can be a part of, and you can choose whatever resonates with you and contribute to it. Not only is it good for your CV, but it helps with meeting new, like-minded people and with socializing. Two birds, one stone.