Leaving Orlando Behind to Secure my Identity

Sep 4, 2018 7:30:00 PM / by Maisie Haney

Maisie Haney

 Maisie Haney is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Art History major at Rollins College, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Maisie shares how identity will play a part in her study abroad experience in London, along with her packing list for the semester.


I've been itching to study abroad and to do so in London with CAPA couldn't make any more sense than it already does. I am a liberal-minded art history student and artist, as well as a music enthusiast. My identity is like this window-maker, and the window-maker only likes the color of roses (for any sort of reference, and you can look this up, I am a Venus in Pisces). Looking through this window, it is so obvious to me that I will head back home at the end of all things with a richer appreciation for the arts, whatever that may consist of, by December 2018.

Identity 1

Attending Rollins College, the local private college in my hometown of Winter Park, I’ve noticed the emphasis placed on studying abroad is ever-present. They urge students to experience the conventions, values, landscapes, etc., of other global cities; the school’s goal, as a liberal arts school, is to ensure our minds have wandered and our horizons have broadened. I think this may also be why we have the idea of identity so fresh on our minds as we prepare for departure. What comprises my identity? It seemed important to ask myself this question, requirements as per Rollins International Programs aside, almost to reassure myself that I would fit in well in London. I chose The Big Smoke (there really is for some reason no pleasant nickname for London, though I do not find this to be discouraging) because it seemed as though every part of my academic and professional life there would coincide with my personal life effortlessly.

While abroad, I wanted to keep in touch with my artist side, and so I will be creating a zine over the course of 4 months. This has been an exciting prospect for me, as I will be studying post-war pop culture. When talking about punk music, I believe the discussion about zines and other D.I.Y. arts is inevitable. You can find me inhaling that class like a vacuum, let me tell ya. Rather than track my experiences, I want my zines to be a kind of like a brain-dump throughout my experiences, purging the ideas from my mind in a way that might not come across as chronological, or linear. Here is one excerpt I wrote with this prompt on my mind, the introduction:

Identity is a cliché** study abroad journal and experimental zine in which I attempt to be self-aware enough to identify may values and relate them to different but complementary pieces of myself (my identity). ** cliché in name, to be exact.

Since being in pre-departure limbo, we have been talking about our own identities, because the principle driving the conversation is that each person has an identity individual to them, comprised of different histories and sets of values. A person is their identity. Interacting with one, a person, is using contextualized knowledge (that is, by one's experiences) to interpret another's actions/words/etc., thus constructing the idea of their identity. And this construction may not line up to be what they think their identity to be! It's tricky business!

Identity 2

A rose-tinted window is just one example of the physicality of my identity, but in any sort of metaphor the identity is an object that functions as a filter. It is going to filter out a lot of people that do not share the same interests or values. My interest in art and music will have placed me in an internship position within which I will be faced with other music and art lovers. I am predisposed to meet others who might claim that artist and music enthusiast are also significant parts of their identities. Although our interests will be similar, though, I expect I will be noting significant differences to our approaches to work materials professionally. As I experience a new day to day lifestyle, I will surely be noting differences between my and others’ interactions with the environment.

Identity 3

I am worried about sticking out like the sore thumb I am, but my biggest worry at present is lugging my giant suitcase up an unknown amount of flights! I am usually a diligent, sensible packer. Once you have seen my packing list, you will probably think less of me and that is okay – I know my packing sense was absent. Without further ado, my full list of belongings that have traversed the Atlantic Ocean, the closer of this post:

Clothes – layering and confidence

A couple of purses, money belt, rain jacket, three turtle necks (one with whimsical horse print), pale short-sleeve button-up, couple band tees to remember my roots, some sweaters with very English prints (houndstooth and argyle), basic tee and long sleeve, bathrobe, bathing suit (I could go anywhere, you know), suit jacket, two pairs of high-waisted jeans, and three pairs of slacks (both for professional and leisure wear), black Vans, my treasured Doc creepers, comfy trainers, and these granny/witch-like slip ons.

Clothes on couch

Toiletries – moderation is key

Glossier cloud paint, a couple of lipsticks, toothbrush, my mom’s nail polish, and a hairbrush. I am buying many of mine in London!

Books/ Art – the essence of who I am

Art history textbook for class, my daily journals and planners, other journals for personal art projects, a Reefer Madness comic, Mitski poster, Shame poster, letterpress and relief prints made by friends, letterpress holiday cards, and some zines that inspire me. This did not seem excessive as they all lie fairly flat!

Other Accessories

Laptop and case, chargers for laptop and phone, disposable camera, prescription ear drops, extra pair of glasses, and headphones. 

Thanks, Maisie!

Maisie's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations