Stepping out of my comfort zone.

Hi everyone! My name is Alexa Graff and I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I am currently in my junior year at University at Buffalo, my major is Communications with a concentration in Marketing and Advertising. I am interning at Red Door Real Estate this spring (my first internship ever) and I am so excited.

When I had gotten this internship in November, I had planned to start in January. With the adult world in the near future, how could I not feel guilty being a lump on a log and watching Netflix 24/7 during my winter break? With that being said, I decided to do something with myself for once. I applied for a study abroad program through University at Buffalo for the Winter Session. A few days after applying, I got in! My trip to London for the month of January came up quick and ended even quicker. I can honestly say that trip was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  

The study abroad program consisted of a Sociology of Food course taught by a UB professor, so I was able to gain 3 course credits while traveling the world- who can complain? There were 26 UB students in the program- half being from the New York UB campus and the other half being from the Singapore UB Campus. We all spent every day together, whether it be in class or exploring London after class, we all quickly grew close and made friendships that will last a lifetime. Every moment I was there I consider to be my favorite part, but I would like to share some of my favorite, favorite parts.

The program I was enrolled in had a day to day schedule that included activities outside of the classroom- basically must-see places in London that were covered by program tuition. One of the first places we went to was Hampton Court Palace, which was where King Henry lived. The architecture of the palace was incredible and the garden was beyond beautiful. I remember just looking at everything and thinking to myself ‘there is no way this is real.’

Another favorite, favorite place I went to was the Sky Garden. Being the sixth tallest building in the entire city of London, the few from the top is amazing. There also is a full botanical garden located on the top floor (hence the name, Sky Garden) along with a restaurant. Again, another ‘there is no way this is real’ moment.  On top of being simply beautiful, entrance to the Sky Garden was FREE!

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I encourage everyone to utilize the opportunities they are surrounded by. University at Buffalo, and I’m sure most other colleges, provide dozens of study abroad programs for students of every major. It seems that not many students actually go and you never really hear much about the amazing trips students that do go have. The point I am trying to make is that your comfort zone WILL kill you. I could have stayed at home, in my comfort zone, during my break and completely missed out on this opportunity. I can say the same for my internship at Red Door- I could’ve stayed in my comfort zone and taken an extra class like every other semester, but instead I am starting a whole new experience that I know I will be glad I did in the end.

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