Coming Back to Your College from Abroad: The Adjustment Period

After spending a semester abroad I'm sure most students such as myself were extremely anxious to get back to campus. I missed my friends, I missed my routine, and I honestly missed my simple college student life in Geneva, New York. I knew I had "grown up" while in Italy and changed a little bit for the better in terms of independence and confidence, but I thought I would come back to school and everything would be just how I left it, and I would fall instinctively back into my old patterns. In reality, I could not have been more wrong.

Don't get me wrong I am excited to be back at school, but everything is not how I left it. When I was abroad and was homesick I only ever focused on all the good times at school and everything that I loved and missed, never the bad things. One semester in college is equivalent to a full year in college student time, so it feels as though I missed out on a whole "year" with my friends. There are a lot of unfamiliar faces (first-years and transfers), and I can now walk into my dining hall and not recognize a single face. My class and homework load is so much more than I handled abroad, and the adjustment is still a work in progress. The food is different than I remember and everything about the atmosphere in my college town does not feel the same.

Prior to going abroad everyone tells you that you will experience culture shock in your host country, but no one tells you about the reverse culture shock you'll experience when you come home. Now that I am back from abroad, I have talked to many people who studied abroad before me and NOW they tell me that they all experienced an adjustment period in which they had to get back into the swing of things in terms of a typical American college student lifestyle. I'm hoping the adjustment period doesn't last that long, because I'm anxious to get back to enjoying my college days that I previously loved so much.