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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: Getting aux on the London Eye


Former city and state assistant editor Madison Ward as a child. Ward is studying abroad this semester and takes this week's Office DJ to detail the experience. Photo courtesy of Madison Ward. 

Happy FDOC, Tar Heels. 

I'm heading across the pond to study abroad in London, which means I’ll miss out on some notable UNC experiences this semester, like securing a 4.0 in exchange for contracting COVID-19 from taking a sip at the Old Well, wondering what celebrity will visit Franklin Street this time (please, not Bryce Hall again) or even using Google Maps to get to classes. Well, that last one might just be me. 

While I’m off trying to figure out how to use the Tube (although hopefully it can’t be worse than finding classes in Carroll Hall), navigate a bustling unfamiliar city and vying to become a member of the royal family, I’ll miss Chapel Hill. 

I’ll be in a foreign country without my best friends to binge-watch Child Genius for a third time with, my family to dominate at Scrabble and my beautiful yet sometimes ill-behaved kitten Venus.

I’ll miss the camaraderie of The Daily Tar Heel's office, where we quote Baby Keem lyrics an unhealthy amount of times, argue over who gets to hold the baseball bat (sports desk always wins) and work with the beyond-talented editors and writers that make this paper possible.

Although I’m sure I’ll experience homesickness at first, I’ve taken a few steps to reduce culture shock for when I arrive. 

My Hinge location is set for London to pick up on British slang (they call vacuums “Hoovers” and “Peng-ting” is a compliment!). I started packing weather-appropriate clothes about a week before departing, which is well in advance for an approximately five-month excursion, right? 

And I watched Love Actually for a fourth time!

Even though it’s nerve-wracking to leave the comfort of familiarity behind, life is about adapting to the unknown — which is why I plan to make the most of every moment abroad. 

For my fellow Tar Heels, I urge you to also take this semester to do things that bring you excitement. Embracing change can lead to powerful personal growth, and by escaping your normal routine, you can make your life more interesting. 

So join a new club, strike up a conversation with that cute stranger in Lenoir, learn to cook a new meal — do whatever it is that invites both discomfort and joy, whether it’s big or small. 

I’m extremely excited, but admittedly nervous about living in a different continent for the next few weeks, which is why for my office DJ playlist, I’ve compiled a list of songs to guide me through my European excursions. 

Not because I was informed that my original idea, “Yung Gravy Deep Cuts,” may not look the best to future employers who could be reading this, I swear!

These songs simply always make me feel better, no matter what life changes I’m experiencing. So, here are some tunes I’ll be boogying to outside of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Bridge. 

More importantly, I'll be listening to these songs when I'm not "living my best life" in London and feel overwhelmed or unsure while thousands of miles away from home. The combination of listening to music I deeply enjoy and acknowledging that embracing change will make me a stronger person is sure to make my "cuppa tea" seem far more than half full. 

Until next semester, UNC! Cheerio!


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