This post is slightly overdue, seeing as we have been back on Wofford’s campus for nearly two months this school year. However, my “reverse culture shock” just ended (about) last week. What is reverse culture shock, you might ask? Well, I was abroad in Perugia, Italy last semester. Upon arrival we were warned about the rollercoaster of emotions we would feel in the four months to follow: excitement…homesickness….excitement…exhaustion…hatred for our “new” city and culture…excitement…sadness of the end approaching…exhaustion…denial of the end being near….excitement…HOME. It is without a doubt that at one point or another throughout my experience, I felt each of these emotions. What I didn’t expect is the feeling I would get 3 months after returning from abroad, when I arrived back on Wofford’s campus.
While abroad, I got so used to living in an actual city, not having my friends right next door in the Village or Wightman, having to cook for myself and walk more than 5 minutes to class. When I returned from abroad, I spent my summer working and learning the hard lesson of working for every dollar you make (unfortunately, my babysitting days and easy money are over). I paid rent for the first time, for an apartment of much less quality than The Village apartments at Wofford. If something broke and needed maintenance, I could not just send in a maintenance request online- I had to contact a landlord, make arrangements to be there when the handy-man showed up, and realize how much fixing a toilet can cost. Basically, I had to step out of the bubble of Wofford while abroad and living on my own this summer- and what a relief it was to return to Wofford this Fall for one last go-round.
When I got back on campus, everything seemed so much easier- having friends to hang out with who were right next door, getting my ice machine fixed (within two hours of a request), walking 2 minutes to have food made for me that didn’t cost “real” money (okay, well maybe it costs money, but indirectly :)) and not having to turn in a check for rent each month was a nice bonus. Returning to the simplicity and homeyness feeling of Wofford, where I didn’t always have to closely watch my belongings, and check my bank account every day (okay, maybe I still have to do that) felt weird. I was experiencing the reverse culture shock that we were told about when departing from Perugia, Italy. I was returning to the qualities of life that I had known for so long, but this re-entry felt weird. I have finally gotten used to living in The Bubble of Wofford again and I am so thankful for it.
What is the overall lesson of this, though? That I need to make my senior year last as long as possible- I am not ready for the real world, rent checks, and cooking for myself.