30 Jan 2013

Productivity in Paris

If there's one thing doing an internship abroad has taught me, it's time-management.  OK, maybe there's a more fashionable saying than 'time-management'; I'm fully aware the word is thrown around in lecture halls at those dreaded Employability talks (which are actually bloody useful if you think about it).  So what do I really mean by "time-management"?  Well, essentially: learning to get all my sh*t together.

Despite my new 35 hour working week (so about 28 hours more than at uni), I feel like I've achieved much more than I would have if I'd spent the year in Exeter attempting to read Madame Bovary (without dying of boredom) and writing song requests to the DJ at Arena.  Let me elaborate...

1) I've signed up for the Paris half-marathon which is taking place on 3rd March and I'm training four times a week.  At uni I was going to the gym twice a week at a push.  More like twice a month.  If I'd told myself this time last year that I'd be running the half-marathon, I'd have laughed in disbelief.  My new equation: Montana + Gerry = Motivation + Goals.
2) I'm keeping a blog (tad-ah!) which I'm writing religiously and hence pursuing my love of writing!
3) I'm going to church every Sunday evening, the student church group every Tuesday night and helping out at Sunday school.  My life here in Paris wouldn't be the same without the church community and all that it's brought to me, particularly the friends I've made.
4) I'm raising money for charity thanks to my my new-found 'love' of running. 
5) I've taken to babysitting a couple times a month for extra pocket money.  I also get to play fun games and dress up in silly costumes!  #childish
6) I actually read the news and know what's going on in the world.  Ish.
7) I wake up at an acceptable hour every morning.  Weekday lie-ins are something of the past.
8) I've given up drinking for a couple months and in general I'm drinking far less.  When I tried to abstain at uni it didn't quite last a week.
9) I'm being cultured - I've been to plenty of new exhibitions and galleries.
10) I've learnt more about cheese.  (Don't laugh...I'm being serious)

And what hasn't changed?

1) I'm still rarely on time for 'social occasions', although I am getting better. 
2) I still spend far too much time on Facebook.  Hence all the status updates on how adventurous my life in Paris is.
3) I still watch Desperate Housewives at crazy hours of the morning.
4) I still put make-up on in the street/metro because I usually leave the house in a rush.  Although I'm happy to say this has been declining.

In fact, I've been pretty impressed by how fulfilling my life is out here and how much energy I've got.  Doing an internship with proper working hours has given me the reality check I needed and it's been great getting out of the university bubble.  I'm not as naive as I was before and I don't expect everything to be handed to me on a plate.  I've learnt to be fearless, to not take anything for granted and to accept opportunities, even if they weren't part of the 'original dream'.

I'm also relying on my own strengths a lot more and coming to terms with my weaknesses and ways to overcome them.  I'm getting to grips with balancing different parts of my life and I don't feel like I'm doing anything in excess.  I appreciate 'down time' but I still love socialising with friends.  My hard-core clubbing days are fini and have been replaced with dinner parties, open mic nights and cinema trips.

And what's even more exciting is that right now I am 100% in charge of all my funds.  I pay for everything: accommodation, food, travel, phone, general expenses.  It's the most liberating feeling in the world to not rely on your parents.  I haven't taken a student loan out this year either so I'm not building up any debt; my internship salary and Erasmus grant have covered me sufficiently and there's a real sense of joy when I purchase things because I know it's my money in my own right. 

Don't get me wrong - life out here has certainly thrown its fair share of challenges and complications.  You find yourself not wanting to adapt to certain cultural expectations and you'll often crave a slice of home-life.  But in the end, you just have to learn to take advantage of what life throws at you, because you never know what might be around the corner.

In conclusion, taking an internship in Paris was probably one of the best decisions I've made since being at university and it's preparing me for the future in ways I couldn't have possibly imagined.

P.S. Do excuse the excessive use of 'I' in this blog post.  I just read through it and found it quite sickening.  I'm not usually this self-centred, I promise. 

No comments:

Post a Comment