a note from Nora Samuelson '05, Swedish Program alumna
While it may seem like your transition back to Bucknell will be a breeze, returning to Lewisburg after a semester or year off-campus can be harder than you think. For me, going home was easy, but even after a whole summer of being back in the country and readjusted to "American living," coming back to Bucknell was the hard part.
I didn’t think it would be a difficult transition. After all, I was going to be living with my three best friends, reconnecting with friends and professors I hadn’t seen in over a year, and I was going to be a senior. While I thought I was ready for the "bubble," I found out that I wasn’t as prepared as I imagined. It’s called reverse culture shock, and no matter how ready you think you’ll be to go back to your "old life," little things will throw you for a loop.
One of the most difficult things for me to come to terms with was that Bucknell seemed to be the same on the surface, but I had changed and the people at Bucknell had changed, too. Not only was I coming back after a year of incredible new and eye-opening experiences, I realized that I didn’t know half of the students at Bucknell anymore. Since I'd left, two classes had graduated and two new classes had taken their place. I know that most students only study off-campus for a semester, so you may not have this problem, but it was definitely a shock for me. At the same time, most of my really close friends were returning to Bucknell after spending the spring semester off-campus, so as soon as I started to tell a story about my time in Sweden, I felt like I was cut off so that a friend could tell a bigger and better story.
These are only a few of the challenges that I faced upon returning to Bucknell. It took me about three weeks to adjust to life here, and once I did, I had the best year of my life. It might seem really easy to come back, but definitely take your time. It’s normal to be sad, confused, and "homesick" for your off-campus friends and location. Here are a few tips for breaking back into the bubble that helped me and my friends:
Everyone deals with reverse culture shock in different ways, and it’s hard to predict how it will hit you. I know I didn’t see it coming. But no matter what, it’s important to remember that you should value your time off-campus, and your time here at Bucknell. We can only live these four years once, right?
Nora Samuelson '05
Swedish Program alumna
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