Sometimes, you take a break from school for a semester or a year. It can be for mental health, a study abroad or an internship that takes you far away. But either way, you’re not on campus and therefore not on peoples’ minds as much as when you were just one row in front of them in class.
The clubs you were in keep functioning, the general group of people you were in class with moves forward without you, and life back home just keeps on going. But what happens when you’re back? In a way, it feels like you never left. The campus and professors are the same, the meetings at the same time, and you swing right back into a school routine. However, your classes are full of faces you’re unfamiliar with, and the clubs are being run by people you don’t know.
It feels like all your friends grew up for six months without you, and now you’re running behind them to catch up. When you’re doing a study away, for example, it’s super easy to make plans because everyone else is operating on the same general schedule as you. To make plans now, you have to coordinate with everyone’s busy, busy schedules that don’t seem to allow any time for you. Was it always this way?
Instead of being sad about the changes and friendships that suffered from lack of proximity, try to motivate yourself. It sucks to move out of the class cohort you’re used to, but try to see it as an opportunity to gain a larger network of colleagues and friends. If people don’t want to hang out now that you’re back, it’s okay to move on and accept that people change. Being away is a chance to find out who cares about you enough to check in while you’re gone and prioritize you when you’re back.
Allow yourself to be sad, but don’t let it stop you from conquering however much longer you’ve got to be in school. Change is never easy. Try to grow where you’re currently planted, even if you think you bloomed while you were away. In the words of Kelly Clarkson, “any second I’mma catch my second wind.”