Junior year is dreadful. Not because of the workload, or because of the ever-looming Future (save that one for senior year). Junior year gets the lonely prestige of being the Abroad Year. Most kids who study abroad do it in their third year, and that means you A. are abroad and miss a semester of all of your friends on campus, B. don’t study abroad, and miss your friends who are away and sending you pictures of themselves snogging Italians, or C. study abroad the opposite semester of your friends, and go over a year without physical contact.
I have been a victim of A. and C. I spend last semester in London, having a fabulous time of discoing, losing, searching, finding and growing (checking all those Abroad Experience boxes along the way). I regret nothing, but yet back on campus the hardest part of the transition isn’t the cold (Great Scott, why do I live here?), the classes (I had three days a week last semester — this is cruel) or the food (SDH may not have proper fish and chips, but I can go for the not having to budget for every meal thing). It is living without my friends who, some just last week, and bid farewell to go on their own trans-Atlantic journeys.
All I can think is, why? Why didn’t we plan this better? Why didn’t we agree to study abroad the same semester, instead of this painful ships passing in the night business? I’m all for starting out on your own, picking up and making your own way, but please, did you really have to go to Angers this semester? Or Santiago, London and Rome? Some of my best friends are just moving into their new homes, flats and dorms. And here I am, sitting on a heap of Experience and Newly Gained Maturity, without the emotional buffer of about half a dozen bodies I usually count on to hash out all the sticky issues.
I can find minute solace in the fact that none of us are really alone. Though physical separation is drastically unpleasant, we are armed with Facebook, Gchat and Skype, ready to face that five hour time difference at every turn. I can pop onto my e-mail and pretend Dan is just across campus, or comment on Michele’s status seconds after it goes up. But there is just something so disappointing about knowing I won’t get the chance to full-body tackle Ellie till August.
I could suck it up and pray that you’re all having a fantastic time of growth and blah blah blah, but that would be far too altruistic for my purposes. The only solution is that you all come home. Now. Don’t worry, my futon’s plenty big.
Do you really need all that “new experience?” Not as much as I need you!