Written by Chanroop Hans - Publicity Officer on the Insight Project
Mental health. Let’s talk about it. Being in law school on its own can be a very stressful experience. Add moving to another country, leaving all your friends and family behind, and figuring out how to be on your own and it can be tough. The dramatic change from being online during my first year of my JD to coming to England for my second year was a very lonely experience for me. If anyone is reading this who can relate or is maybe anticipating a similar change in their life, I hope this is somewhat comforting.
Sometimes amid chaos, it’s easy to forget or give attention to how you may be feeling. Once the initial excitement of moving into my first apartment subsided, my family was preparing to leave me here for the next 2 months as they went back to their regular scheduled lives in Toronto. Watching my brother get into his taxi and leave was the real reality check – I was alone now. I wouldn’t say I have the most difficult time making friends, but there is something different about making friends in your 20s compared to your teenage years. This was the first time in my life I couldn’t just call up my best friend and ask her to come to my house because I was sad. I suppose I can praise social media for the access it gives us to each other no matter where we are in the world, but the real thief of joy sometimes is the nostalgia that comes with it. Seeing everyone from back home go on about their lives that you are no longer a part of, for the time being, is difficult.
I always assumed that because I am an extrovert, doing things alone would be no issue for me. However, things like sitting and eating alone proved to be very nerve-wracking initially. Although I do have a great group of friends around me here now, I had to learn to be okay with being alone first and found myself enjoying it as well. I suppose it was this realization that I’m not going to be here forever, and so spending the time that I am here, in my head, was not an ideal situation. Sometimes there are days where I crave human interaction and other days where I prefer being alone in my own space, and realizing that that is okay was also a big step for me.
Figuring out how your daily routine can adapt to your environment is a great way of bringing some normalcy into your life. Trying out new hobbies, going for scenic walks, or discovering new activities and restaurants is also a great way of doing that. While it is easy to feel alone in the general sense, stepping out of your comfort zone can be an extremely cathartic way of dealing with it. If you are not changing, you are not growing, and a big part of growing is being able to adapt to whatever comes your way. Similar to law school, finding ways to cope and adjust is a process, rather than just a destination.