Expectations and Realities

As finals are imminent, this signals the fact that I have now been at Northern Arizona University for three whole months! This might not sound like forever but so much has happened in such a short amount of time that I feel I’ve been here for ages. A year ago to the day I found out I’d be spending my year at NAU; I never imagined I would have joined a sorority (Chi O till I dieo), watched the sunrise over the Grand Canyon and experienced my first ever real American Thanksgiving! It makes me excited to see where I will be and what I’ll be doing a year from now.

When beginning my year in America I had so many expectations and now that I’ve been here a while here is how those expectations match up to reality.

Expectation: Lots of school work
I had be told by past year abroad students that that US uni work was a constant mound that would never decrease, but it couldn’t be that bad right?!

Reality: Lots of school work
They were right. There is work to do all the time. Gone are the days of skimming the required reading and the one big essay at the end of term, instead it is like a throwback to secondary school. Homework is due every class but this time if you don’t do it you don’t get a detention, you just don’t get a degree. Although on a positive note, the work is slightly easier and there are often chances to get extra credit.

Expectation: Roommates are awful
I gathered from the horror stories I’d been told that the whole experience would be loud, dirty and an overall invasion of privacy.

Reality: It’s chill
I share an apartment with two other girls and not one is loud, dirty or invades my privacy! We all coexist and work around each other so much so that our apartment is like a delicately balanced ecosystem of shower times, bed times and equal cupboard space. S/O time! To Gracie who always has what I’m looking for, be it envelopes to ginger beer, she’s got it! To Naomi whom I share a room with, she gets me. She lets me have my obnoxious Beyoncé sing seshes. She also doesn’t mind it when I pull an allnighter and then accidentally wake her up in the early hours attempting to mount my ridiculously tall bed. Also, she’s always down for pizza.

Expectations: Home Sickness
Being 5,000 miles away from home, I thought there would be serious lows and constant urges to book the first flight home.

I have found that the key to not being homesick is to stay busy. This is relatively easy when you have 101 assignments due in all while keeping up with study hours and sorority socials. There are days when I wish I was with my family or would want nothing more than to walk down Wind Street but being 5,000 miles away, the chances of that happening aren’t likely! It is on those days where you can reflect on how far you’ve come and can appreciate where you are, what you’re doing and how cool this whole experience is!

Expectation: Amazing American food
I was thinking McDonald’s for days, bottomless brunch and endless buffet meals.

Reality: The British cravings
The first couple of weeks of my new American diet were amazing; it was a constant cycle of burgers, pizza and chicken wings. Flash forward three months and I never thought I‘d want my five fruit and veg a day so badly. On top of a need for fresh food I miss the classics and the things I took for granted. Unsweetened bread, cheese with flavour and a full English. It’s also got to the stage where I would pay serious money to import a Gregg’s sausage roll.

My experiences here have all been so positive and as the fall semester is drawing to a close I still have so much to look forward to. With spring comes my initiation into Chi Omega, my 21st birthday (#legalagain) and future trips to Vegas! I will be heading back to London briefly for Christmas and New Year (and to eat my fill of British delights) and then I’ll be off again to embark upon a trip cruising the South until school starts again in January!

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