You've just touched down in America, your home country. It's late but you're not sure how late, you're tired and you're not sure if you should be. What day is it? What is the temperature outside? Who thought home could feel so foreign. The runway is dark, the scattered lights look blurry through the streams of raindrops that glide through your view. The window feels uncomfortably cold as your forehead rests against it.
You're home, you're sad and that doesn't feel right.
You will never really be home ever again because part of your heart is back in that other place you used to call home. It's just something you have to get used to. As college students, we probably all have different definitions of what we consider home. For some it may be where you grew up, for others it may be your college town, and for a smaller percentage, it may be the place you spent a semester abroad.
Wherever home may be, it's not gone forever. We are young and we have opportunities. You have your whole life to go wherever in the world your heart desires. Unfortunately, that is easier to say than to cope with.
The first few days being back from a semester abroad include a whole lot of laying around. You're mopey, you snap at your parents, you have regrets, you wish you did this and you wish you did that. Your suitcases linger, unraveled and messy, but still packed, in the corner of your bedroom. You know that the second you put everything away, it really is over, you're here to stay, you're not going back, this isn't just a sick joke.
You lay in bed at night, scrolling through pictures, watching Snapchat memories, desperately trying to relive your favorite moments. But it's not the same. You can't get up out of bed and walk down the street to your favorite coffee shop. You can't hop on a bus and ride to your favorite beach, where you used to watch famous surfers brave the tumbling waves. You're stuck here now, at your house, doing the same things you've done your whole life.
So how do you re-adjust? How do you get back into a new routine?
Try and stay busy. Do anything and everything you can to get out of the house. Don't give yourself a moment to be sad. Instead, make a list of every reason you have to be happy, every reason you have to be grateful for the life you have. After doing this you will realize just how lucky you are.
Get a job, love that job. You probably have a lot of money to pay off from your semester abroad so go out and work. It was worth the money right? So, go to work every day with a positive attitude and a smile on your face.
Although you may think so, your life is not over when you come home from a semester abroad. If you have post-abroad depression, then congratulations, you did your semester right. You also probably have a case of the travel bug, so make a list of other places you want to go and find a way to make it happen.
The more you keep yourself going, working toward your goals, you won't have any time to be sad about "that time I lived in Australia." After all, what is there to be sad about?