To begin with I struggled a little to adjust to the workload both of second year and the university system at Binghamton. One night I made the stupid mistake of leaving one of my coursework assignments until the evening before it was due in. After starting work on it at 6pm, at 1am I was only two paragraphs in and having a complete panic. I didn’t think I could do it a. well enough or b. in time for the morning. Luckily I turned to my friends for help because if I hadn’t I would probably still be sitting there trying and failing to finish it. So here is my advice if you find yourself in a similar situation, or even if you are just finding something difficult to cope with while you’re on your year abroad: turn to someone who understands what you are going through.
The first person I spoke to was my friend Madi, who is also studying abroad in the USA this year. She tried to boost my confidence and also recommended I take myself away from the situation and calm down. So next I messaged my friends from the exchange programme at Binghamton who were also adjusting to a different education system. I was invited to their flat to take a time out, watch TV for an hour and clear my head about my essay. One of them also suggested I sit down and just write without redrafting anything or worrying whether what I wrote was halfway decent. This really helped me when I returned to my work which I didn’t finish until ridiculous o’clock allowing me less than two hours sleep before my first class. What I took from this is that it is really important to establish a support system whilst you’re abroad. Making friends with other students on the exchange programme at your foreign university can be really beneficial. Secondly, I learnt not to do as the locals do i.e. DON’T leave the work right until the last minute and DON’T pull all-nighters; despite my grade turning out fine in the end, the stress and anxiety were definitely not worth it. With the increased work load it is more important than ever to organise your time. I personally rely on making lists and writing in my student planner. I make sure it I always up to date with what work is due in when so I can’t miss anything but you have to figure out what works best for you.