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The Lalagirl Writing In Notebook
The Lalagirl Writing In Notebook
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What I Learned While My Friends Were Abroad

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

Looking into winter semester, I would be lying if I said I was not nervous or apprehensive about what is to come. Being a second-semester junior, 95% of my friends are abroad for four or five months. For whatever reason, I decided not to go abroad this semester, and sometimes it feels as if my head is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Luckily, there is a point in time in which I will be able to see some of those friends, but for now, I am learning a lot about the right headspace that I need to fully grasp in order to make this semester an enjoyable one. 

I have recognized that there are two ways in which I could look at this semester: 1) Feel sorry for myself and do nothing or 2) Branch out to those that I have not had the opportunity to become close with and meet new people. Clearly, number 2 would be a more beneficial choice for me. Having formed such a cohesive friend group throughout the first 2.5 years of college, it has become challenging to see past them in terms of branching out. For example, last semester I spent the majority of my time with my best friends, and although I do not regret any of it, I am left in a position where I’m thinking to myself, “What now?”

So, I joined some clubs in place of the ones that I dropped. I decided that if I did not have my main friends at school with me this semester, I needed to be there for me. I realized that I needed to join clubs and do things that were fulfilling for me — not things to simply fill the void of time. Consequently, I have also understood that by being more reliant on myself, this semester is for me and no one else. With my core friends gone, this gives me the perfect opportunity to discover more about myself. And I know it sounds lame and cheesy, but sometimes with people around you all of the time, you start to lose your sense of self — at least that’s what was happening to me. 

Although we’re barely a month into this semester, it has been one of the most fun and fulfilling months of the school year yet. I have spent time with those that I want to get closer with and have met people that I never anticipated meeting. Within this past month alone, I have pushed myself more than before to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, and I have happily gone out of my way to do things that I would normally not do. For example, I’ve made friends with several people on my floor in my apartment complex (which tbh should have happened a long time ago), reconnected with people that I have lived with in the past, spent more time really getting to know others and myself — not just listening to respond, but to really listen — and have picked up hobbies that I did in the past, but dropped the second I arrived at college. 

One of the things that I love most about this semester is the spontaneity of it. Generally, I have always valued how each day can be different from the next, but especially during this month, I have gone with the flow and it has paid off. Before my friends left, we all made New Year’s resolutions for one another. Mine was to overthink less, and I am now consciously catching myself whenever I start to unnecessarily overthink. Previously, I used to overthink everything, and now with more time for me, and thanks to my friends, I am able to recognize my own tendencies more. Because of this, it has become so much more fun for me to be spontaneous without overthinking the consequences or the what-ifs. 

Of course, I would not mind being in Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, or literally anywhere. But, I have realized that being in Ann Arbor for a semester has its own unique adventures and privileges if I am willing to dig a little bit to find them. A large part of me is grateful and proud that so many of my friends are away in foreign countries for the semester because I know that when we see each other next, we will all have grown in unanticipated ways that will only make our bond stronger. 

Finally, I have begun to understand how lucky I am to have this time for myself to reach out to those still in Ann Arbor and self-discover. I am never opposed to meeting and getting to know more people, and with only 3 semesters left at the University of Michigan, every moment matters and holds a certain weight to it. If I spent this semester feeling sorry for myself, I would waste so much time that could be spent towards getting used to being outside of my comfort zone.

Hi I'm Victoria, and I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan! I am from Petoskey, MI and I am majoring in psychology. A fun fact about me is that I am a triplet!