Embracing Individuality
Emma, London, Fall 2017
September 21, 2017

Before arriving in London, my amateur life assessment was that humanity’s natural instinct is to blend in. I had observed this behavior in others and had adopted it as my personal strategy. From candy chokers in middle school, to oversized t-shirts in high school, to Adidas tennis shoes in college, I sought the latest trends with a fiery passion, hoping to remain current and relevant yet homogenous. This effort sprouted from my perception that social survival rests on the precipice of conformity. For the longest time, adjectives such as “quirky” or “different” carried a negative connotation for me. However, creativity tends to deviate from the well-worn path, and it can evoke strong emotions and reactions to its differences along the way. Consequently, it takes guts to embrace being different, but I often found myself shrinking behind the curtain of conformity to avoid the emotional response.

The colors of Carnaby Street

Of course, I’m confident the citizens of London still follow the season’s newest trends and turn to Vogue for fashion inspiration, but it is vividly apparent that they blossom in the freedom to be unique, embracing their quirks and imperfections. In other words, quirky is a permanent London trend, and different is a holiday celebrated daily in this city. With each new day, London appears to be constantly changing; it leaves no room for the static regulations of conformity. London illuminates the individual from within, showcasing their unique strengths, opinions, and perspectives.

Shoreditch wall art

What once began as a slight yearning to buy a hot pink fur coat for me has quickly turned into an incurable urge to buy the most outrageous and unique items for my wardrobe. I have become addicted to London’s fresh approach to style. I can’t get enough of it. As my previously rigid opinions and boring clothes become more globalized and creative, my gratitude for London increases. The city and its people have inspired me to seek out the quirky, to be bold, to be enigmatic. Thank you, London!

The city above Charing Cross Station

Emma is a Fall 2017 SAI London student from Baylor University.  

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.