As the car turned the corner, I couldn’t bring myself to look up. Looking up meant it was real. Looking up meant I was acknowledging my reality. Looking up meant saying goodbye. I was not, and am still not ready to say goodbye.
As a semester abroad comes to an end, everyone has a different set of emotions that flood in; some people are excited, some are sad, some are anxious, but I, I am grieving. The best way I can think of trying to explain my feelings is through the seven stages of grief.
When I walked out of my last final exam, I heard a girl talking on the phone saying “I can’t believe I am finally done with Junior year.” Wait what? Finishing this program means finishing my Junior year!?!? I feel like there is no way that is factually correct.
So denial kicks in. There is absolutely no way this is the end of my fantastic semester abroad. Of course Junior year isn’t over, of course study abroad will last forever and ever and ever. Right?
How can I actually make study abroad last forever and ever and ever? Technically I am traveling around Europe a bit so that still counts as being abroad, and therefore my semester is not over yet. I am also flying back home through London so technically I’ll be back in a few weeks. What if I miss my flight, call my internship, extended my time, snuck back into my building….
I am currently at this stage of the process, going back and forth between these first three steps but I can imagine that with time, I will eventually reach the next four steps that might look something like this.
I have a feeling that when my traveling ends and I check my bank account, I will be flooded by guilt. Did it really cost me this much even though I stuck to my tight budget? Waaaaaaaaaaah.
Once my crying dies down, my emotions will flip, and I will get mad. Mad that I spent so much but it feels like it lasted so little. Mad that it is over and that this adventure of a lifetime is no longer my present but part of my past.
I will turn my anger into a sadness when I find myself longing for a jog in Hyde Park, the view St. Paul’s from my desk at the office, a drink at Philomenas as we watch two football games at once, a slice of pizza at Franka Manka, a duck burger at Bricklane market, a free croissant when you order a coffee at Cafe Forum… Then I’ll probably just be extremely hungry because I’ll be thinking of all that delicious food I miss.
Eventually I hope to reach acceptance and come to peace with the end of a wonderful semester. My mom always says that we have to let go of things in order to continue having new adventures and experiences. She explains it with a glass of water: if the glass is always full, then you can’t continue filling it without it overflowing. For that reason I need to let go; pour out a little water to have enough room in my glass so that I can keep pouring into it as I continue trying to live my life to the fullest.
Alejandra Trueba is a Mexican student at Boston University, currently working on her Advertising undergraduate degree abroad in London. If it has anything to do with art, sports or food (especially food!) you can count her in! Ale is always up for exploring and trying new things.