Fall 2015 Kelly O'Brien Temple Rome

Why Your Mentality Abroad Should Be “Treat Yourself”

I have the most insane sweet tooth, especially when it comes to cookies and ice cream. So, coming to Rome I knew I would have to set aside some serious cash for some serious desserts. I also knew that I would have to be smart and budget myself, be responsible and exercise, and be realistic and not buy the first sweet I saw at any given café. However, the first couple weeks of abroad have been the exact opposite. I have gotten gelato every day, I have not stuck to a strict exercise schedule, and I have bought sweets that I saw the second I became hungry at the most random shops. As I frantically called my family last night, venting about the amount of money I spent and the potential weight I have already gained, they gave me some great advice that I will pass on to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Give yourself some time and give yourself a chance to adjust. To me, a month is the perfect amount of time to sink into a regular routine that makes me feel comfortable, healthy, and conscientious. I have gotten so much anxiety about the amount of money I have spent, the amount of sleep I have gotten, and the amount of food I have eaten. But in reality, do we really have time to focus on these things? We have a mere semester to take advantage of every opportunity. This semester may well be the best semester of my life, and I intend to try my hardest to make it one. I need to start appreciating where I am and what opportunity I have been given.

So you are probably thinking that this mentality is easier said than done, right? But really, it isn’t. I have recognized my ridiculous spending habits when it comes to food and instead of getting anxiety or thinking I cannot eat for the next week, I spent a good hour and a half handwashing all of my clothes in the kitchen sink. I saved about 4 gelati right there! When I say don’t sweat the small things, I am not saying completely forget about them and they will work themselves out (although, they probably will). I am saying just be proactive to counteract how you feel about them. If two wrongs don’t make a right, then do some laundry by hand to justify going to get gelato twice in one day.

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So, when it comes down to it, there is no time to feel anxious about the little things. Who cares if you gained a few pounds? Who cares if you spend a little too much and end up having to either grovel to your parents for money or cut back spending towards the end of your time abroad? Who cares if you only got four hours of sleep one night? These things are the things that in ten years you will not even remember, so why focus all of our time and energy on them now? All you truly need to focus on is treating yourself.

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