Second Homes & Social Anxiety

Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I return to my second home. Tomorrow I return to my second family. Tomorrow I return to school. It’s kinda weird that I have two places that I think of equally as home and that one of those places is my university. But at the same time, it’s a really amazing and special thing. I have two locations, two support systems, two communities in which I am loved and am comfortable existing in.

I spent the day packing and cleaning up my bedroom at home, doing laundry, getting together all my books, the whole deal. I’m so excited to get back. So many of my friends have already returned, getting to school and unpacking today. I miss them all terribly. Unlike me, so many of my friends live so far from school so there’s no way I could see them over the three weeks of break. Some of my friends I haven’t seen since May when school got out last year as quite a few of them studied abroad this past fall semester. This makes me so much more excited to see them and catch up and hear about all their foreign adventures,  but at the same time a part of me is really nervous.

It’s like a sort of social anxiety I’m feeling. I’m nervous about how things will have changed in my relationships with my friends and within my different social circles in the time I’ve been apart from these people. There’s certain people who I know for sure things will be just the same as before I left for break. My roommate for example and the girls in my dorm who are returning and I’ve spent every day in close community with since August. But some of the girls in my dorm are leaving and others (who have just come back from studying in Europe) are replacing them. I wonder how that will affect the social dynamic of the hall. And in a similar example, a girl from my main friend group last year went abroad this first semester, another friend from that group decided to take this semester off and is not returning, two friends in the group have been constantly breaking up and making up and currently are broken up…..the group of friends have sort of fizzled and fallen apart since we all first met and I’m worried about the new social dynamic this semester after so much has changed, especially with one of us returning and expecting it to be the same as it always was. Lastly, there are some people who I was just starting to get close with as the semester ended. After three weeks apart and with having different schedules in this new semester, it’s possible that the newly budding relationships will suffer. Maybe we won’t see each other as often and the progress we made towards becoming friends will unravel, especially after three weeks of not tending to and spending time on the friendship.

I know it’s pointless to worry. Things will turn out like they’re going to turn out. Worrying about the social dynamics of my friends isn’t going to change anything. All I can do is get back to school and just see how things go. I don’t think the social changes this semester will be bad, they’re just going to be different. And until you get used to it, different can be unsettling and scary. But on a day to day basis, at school I’m surrounded with so many amazing, talented, intelligent, caring, and very special people. So regardless of the people coming and going and re-entering my life things will be fine, and more than likely, things will turn out great. Possibly for the better.

Positivity isn’t naturally one of my more prominent strengths. I’m trying not to be my normal negative self and hope for the best. Maybe the hall dynamic will be even better, the new people will add new life and new spice to our daily community living. Maybe my friend returning from Europe will be the glue that pulls the old group together again. Maybe my new friendships won’t have changed at all after our time apart and maybe they’ll continue to grow stronger. Maybe the new schedule will open me up to opportunities to meet more people and make new friends. Positivity, yay!

Now that I’ve nearly convinced myself I have no reason to have back to school blues, I’m feeling excited and optimistic about my homecoming tomorrow. What I’m not feeling excited about is all the packing I need to finish up tonight just so I can unpack it all again tomorrow in my dorm. Wish me luck.

– Jade Alexandra

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