Get a coffee and a snack…this is a bit of a long one.
So as many of you know I spent the last month in New York interning at Ramy Brook. I was there alone and, I wasn’t expecting to, but I actually learnt a lot about myself whilst working out there on my own. I kept a diary the whole time and after reading back over it I thought I’d write a bit about what I discovered about myself and the whole experience in general really.
The main thing that sticks out to me in this experience is that fact that I realised I’m not as introverted as I thought I was. A lot of people in my life have told me, sworn even, that I am definitely not an introvert but they are simply wrong. In fact, I have social anxiety and whilst it is far better than it was several years ago it is still very much present. As a result, spending time with people (apart from close friends) is often tiring and worry inducing for me. I thought that when embarking on this experience that living alone would be the least of my worries and I would probably relish being on my own for a month. However whilst this is not entirely ‘un-true’ and being alone did feel good a lot of the time, I found that several nights, in particular coming home from work to an empty apartment, was lonely and I craved human interaction with people I cared about. When I visited/was visited by friends and family I really thrived off of it, something which as I’ve stated, is unusual for me. This alone (pardon the pun) taught me that being alone may not always be what’s best for me and I may not be as extreme an introvert as I thought.
As an extension to this, being alone and just having to deal with working abroad without a connection to anyone I knew thus making me have to be self sufficient grew my confidence enormously. The more work I put into interning, the more confident I felt in what I was doing and what I was learning, in turn this meant that I felt confident giving suggestions and voicing any issues I had with my boss and other people in the company which then turned into conversation and so on until I really felt like I had a handle on my role within the business and felt as though I was actually friends with a lot of people I was working with! The whole process of this built my confidence immensely and I do feel as though I’ve retained that confidence post-internship which is the real challenge.
As well as confidence at work (and stay with me on this one because it’s V E R Y millennial) I gained confidence in myself via…..wait for it……insta-stories (I’m cringing with you dw).
While I was in NY I started documenting my favourite places I was visiting and my outfits as I sort of online diary. Personally, I hate being on camera which is why I love photography (because I’m behind the camera…genius plan I know) but I thought I would do a little experiment and make myself document each outfit I loved forcing myself to be on camera each day. I got such great feedback through new followers and people replying to each outfit that I kept doing it. Over time I started feeling more confident in myself and putting myself out there even if this was on something as shallow as social media. It’s difficult to find a balance with not letting it consume you, but pushing myself out of my comfort zone in this way really has helped me and the way I view myself.Being on my own and wandering around the city really made me ponder these various elements of my self esteem and confidence – it’s a rare opportunity we don’t really get in our busy lives, being totally alone in a different environment.
I highly recommend travelling or interning/studying abroad alone as it gives you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and really get to know yourself, your motivations, your goals, everything.
If you’ve had any similar experiences or questions about going abroad feel free to leave a comment below!!
I hope you enjoyed this slightly rambl-ey post today, talk to you soon,