E’s Editorial: Exploring Myself

Ella Schuellerman, Arts & Life Editor

LONDON — Something happens when a person sets foot in another country, especially a country that becomes home for the next few months, or for some a year. In my experience, a mixture of restlessness and constant excitement consumes a person’s body when they’re jumping from country to country, running through the airport to catch a flight at five in the morning, heartbeat never slowing down for a second. It doesn’t want you to stop.

Studying abroad has given me a unique education drawn from all over the world, but the world now seems a lot bigger. Studying and exploring a foreign country, my only consequence is maybe lack of sleep. I wonder, can life get better than this?

While discovering this extraordinarily big world, I realized that there is a lot more experiencing and self-realization to be done. I hadn’t even begun to discover myself before I stepped onto that plane at Cleveland Hopkins. Self-discovery doesn’t necessarily happen when you are abroad, it can happen anywhere, but either way, it is important to be aware of the major changes that are happening within yourself. They will change your view on a lot of internal and external entities.

Taking inventory of my life was one of the first ways in which I realized I was changing. It was a good kind of change. I realized it by using a journal and setting aside some coveted time each day to reflect on life. Taking inventory on memories turns into a form of self expression; it lets the mind go. The evolution I witnessed within myself due to journaling is remarkable, from page one of not really letting myself go in my writing to being sucked into my journal like a black hole to not even realizing it’s been hours since I picked up my pen.

The overall change I have witnessed is that, in every situation, I have to be real with myself. Not only does this mean being real with my actions and words, but it means living every single day with intent. Creating this deeper connection with myself not only creates a great deal of reassurance in daily life, but also allows me to live life to the fullest. Giving daily reminders that everything happens how it’s supposed to is difficult for people to remember when going through a crisis or difficult time. Reminding myself to live with intent strengthens emotional functions, reduces stress and absolutely boosts my happiness.

One of the simplest things I do that brings me joy is riding the Tube, London’s city subway system. A few days ago, I was rushing down the street to hop on the next train out to Cambridge, but I royally missed it. Rather than sulk in the fact that I sprinted and pushed to get there sweating profusely in my thick wool sweater, I reminded myself that another one would come. So I sat and waited, another train pulled in. Trying not to get so caught up in your head is challenging, but allowing the inner critic to become the supporting character is a much better way to go about the day.

It is in human nature that we seek the acceptance of others, even from those we do not necessarily mesh with. As humans, we often feel the societal expectation to do better or be better. Not only do we look for and seek gratification from others, we only accept and reward ourselves when we get that outsourced validation. Why not change the narrative? Why not seek your own approval? It is your path to self-discovery. These are your goals, not someone else’s.

I am not sure if I would have had this self-discovery realization if I hadn’t gone to London. Maybe it would have come later on in life, but I am glad it came to me at the right moment. I do things that make me happy, I work hard to make myself proud, I am unapologetically myself and I think that is practically a self-care practice in the making that needs to be talked about more. This is a narrative that needs to be instilled in each of us.

They say that university is the place where self-discovery happens, they just don’t tell you it happens when you least expect it and need it most.