I wanted to follow up on my previous post about shock. It was a lot of information to digest in a blog post so I thought I'd allow some decompression time before I wrote this one.
So in my last post, you recognised the top three types of shock you may observe when you're studying away from home. Culture. Currency. Cache. Some of you may have experienced any of them recently, too.
Now that you know what you may be facing, it is probable that you already feel piled under. But know this as well: the types of shock you may face as a student (as an out-of-state or as an international) are not insurmountable and certainly not impossible to deal with. Here are some things to remember when you deal with them. I'll try my best to make this post a lot more concise.
This is bound to happen, whether you're going one city over or an entire ocean over. Be prepared for incessant stares, strange remarks. Some people may even try to reach out and touch. Know your boundaries and don't be afraid to tell someone that touching is not okay.
Try your best to keep an open mind. I know, I know - sometimes there's no "making the best of a bad situation" but life challenges us that way very often so embrace it as just that, a challenge. Some find that finding humour in the ignorance borne and generalisations made by others help them to stay calm in the face of culture shock.
Either ends of the spectrum can be draining to deal with. Do your best to adjust to and "think" in your new currency as quickly as possible. Learn to be frugal and live within your means thinking in your new "local" dollars and cents.
When time and/or immigration systems allow, supplemental income goes a long way to helping temper the pull of the new currency on one's bank account. Opening a bank account may be necessary in any regard, but keeping a savings account for "rainy day funds", "future goals funds" or just plain "when-I-get the-hell-outta-here money" is worth considering.
The best part of information overload lies in the fact that we live in the beloved "digital age". There are innumerable applications, products, services and solutions to retain information and keep it as close as the touch of a button. Take advantage of those tools within your reach and scope of use - video and audio recorders (of course remember to ask permission!), transcripted notes, eBooks, documents, emails - these all can house the information you need and can be kept as close as necessary. Take your cache in as many bytes as you can cope with.
Being away from home can leave even the strongest person feeling overwhelmed. For some people, it may feel like there's no other way out. Depression is a very real and very serious thing for those who experience it, whether it's a reaction to a life change or a long-term battle to see the (relatively) bright side.
To those of you who are (or may know or love someone who is) experiencing signs or symptoms of depression, please remember that you are not alone and there are ways past that feeling. Remember to draw on the support of those who love and care for you. Remember to talk to someone, don't be afraid to reach out and seek help. Sometimes we all need someone to lean on, and sometimes it means professional help - don't be afraid of it when it feels like there's no other way out.
Many people care, and are happy to lend a shoulder to cry on or a moment to sit and be silent with you, if you just reach out to them. Myself included. Always remember that.
This was originally posted on 5 May, 2015.