It is not uncommon for student abroad to start to feel a bit unsettled and subsequently depressed at about the third or fourth week. At that point, we find that we are gone longer than a standard vacation. The notion that we are adrift, and without our typical refugia and comforts, sets in. Others in our conglomeration concur that this week was rough.
Additional conditions acclimated the week to depressiveness. My knees continue to hurt following the field trips (something I am going to get looked at with the campus medical clinic). Physical discomfort never paints the world for me in the most optimistic light. I would happily sit and let them be for a while, but Brisbane is a hilly place, and I do have to get around (at least to and from uni). Then the week kicked off with some overcast days spotted with pissy drizzle. Nothing like some low pressure systems to make one feel low.
And finally, our academic week has been intensely full. Besides a couple days of lecture, we had two exams and a paper due. Our Australian Studies course wrapped up (quite rapidly, with barely two weeks of lecture), and it culminated in a two-hour assessment and a research paper (arguably researched, but at least submitted as of a couple minutes ago). We also took our Terrestrial Ecology assessment.
Fortunately, my need to escape the other students' frantic cramming and pre-exam prophecies of failure led me to explore the St. Lucia campus a bit further, and I discovered a roof-top patio with a lovely view of campus, akin to the top floor refuges I enjoy on the Irvine campus.
However, my friend Chris dragged me off to a couple meetings. I had some phone numbers to use. I went about the business of drafting a paper and studying for exams to the best of my ability. I also recognized that emotions are just feelings. They are not dictates to behaviour. They are not reflections of how the entirety of reality is. Rather, they are a set of feelings that come, suck for a while, and will eventually lift.
And sometimes it is a good reminder to take a moment and reflect. I am able, these days, to take stock. I can look at what I am doing right, what I am doing wrong, and what the truth of my situation is. Conclusion? I'm blessed.
It's also good to slow down. Apparently, there are slow pith helmets at play around these parts...