As a student at Wisconsin I’m no stranger to sleepless nights and busy days. Whether it’s clubs, classes, work, or fun, there never seems to be enough time in a day. But a busy day in Madison doesn’t compare to the absolute chaos of trying to cram a lifetime of activities and experiences into a six-week period. We had barely set down our bags, and already everyone was exchanging names and planning excursions. The provided social program was a huge help in getting us to know each other and the city by setting up a ‘treasure hunt’ before classes began. Just like the freshmen heading to a party in a group of 30, we left our dorm and met with the program leaders at the Embankment station. What followed was a whirlwind of a day as we spent hours running from Big Ben to Victoria Park, Westminster Abbey, the Jubilee Bridge, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and finally made it to our final location, a local pub. That activity set the mood for the week, as we spent our mornings in class, our afternoons taking in as much of London as possible, and our evenings experiencing the nightlife. Every time I was tempted to decline for a full night of sleep a piece of me spoke up, screaming, “Who needs sleep? You’re in London!” There are a few things from that first week I can’t encourage enough. We walked around…a lot. My feet were killing me, but we got to see our neighborhood and find grocery stores, parks, and restaurants we liked. Don’t be embarrassed to be a bit of a tourist. You don’t need to deck yourself out in head to toe Wisconsin gear everyday or wear a giant USA flag (unless it’s the fourth of July, in which case I expect nothing less from my fellow Badgers), but you also shouldn’t be afraid to go to the attractions and take one or two million photos. There’s a reason everyone goes to these places. Six weeks isn’t a lot of time, even if you only sleep five hours a night. To make the most of our time here we have been packing our days full and running around London like kids at Disneyland. Nearly everyday I get invited to do something new or try something I’m not sure about, but as much as I may hesitate, my FOMO (fear of missing out) ensures I give in to the day’s events. I’ve never been big on acronyms and abbreviations, but FOMO and YOLO have totes become staples of this trip, after all… You Only London Once!
“No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep.”