Back From Abroad: Reverse Culture Shock, Senior Year???
Blogger: Laurel Cox
Hey ya’ll! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (sorry). I was in Japan last semester, and I tried to keep a regular blog, but I was just too busy doing things to write about them. Now that school is back in session, there are two things I can’t believe (actually, there are many, but we’ll focus on two):
1. I am back in the United States. What?
Reverse culture shock is a thing, and it’s a thing I have been experiencing since my return from the land of the rising sun. What is reverse culture shock, you say? As far as I can tell, it’s a little different for everyone, but for me, it entails several things. I am basically over this now, but when I first got back, it was strange for me to hear English everywhere I went. While communicating with the world around me was certainly easier in my mother tongue, in the four and a half months I was abroad, I became accustomed to speaking and hearing Japanese everywhere I went. I also got used to sticking out a lot. Another strange RCS symptom for me was readjusting to driving everywhere. I missed (and still miss) being able to ride my bike everywhere and take the train. I also miss convenience stores. If you’ve never been to Japan, that might sound odd, but they are literally everywhere, and the food there is surprisingly good. Oh, the food. I miss that, too.
Lest this turn into a list of thing I miss, we’ll move on for now. Other difficult adjustments were using credit/debit cards again, seeing water fountains, and having a smart phone. Also, all the space! Japan is pretty crowded, in case you weren’t aware. I think the hardest thing about culture shock, though, is that whether going to a foreign country or leaving one, there are certain things about the way everyone lives life that you come to accept as universal, and when confronted with an entire country who does things differently, it’s a little jarring, to say the least.
2. I am a senior. In other words, I’m graduating. What????
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way. When I was a senior in high school, it was similarly surprising. I guess I thought I’d feel older than I do. When I was a freshman, I remember seeing the seniors and thinking, Wow, they’re so grown up and smart and prepared and…wow. But I don’t really feel like I imagined a senior would. Sure, I know my way around, but when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t think, “Now that’s what a senior looks like!” Granted, I have a baby face, but still. How can I be just two semesters away from entering The Real World
I try not to think of it that way, because it kind of freaks me out, but it is reality. Not to mention that I have to write comps. I tell everyone not to say the C-word in front of seniors, because we’re all thinking about it, so why stress us out even more? It’s the project that looms over you from the time you enter Oxy as a first year. Comps are like taxes; we all know we have to do them, but when the time comes, it’s still a bit nerve-wracking (this coming from someone who has never done taxes. Or comps.).
Overall, though, I think it’s hard to believe I’m a senior because it all went by so fast. Sure, it wasn’t always easy, but I’ve made so many wonderful friends here and had a fantastic time. I look at the first years and remember when I was in their place: excited, but still unsure of how I fit in to this place called “college”. Now that I think I kind of know where I belong here, I have to prepare myself to leave. No one prepares you for that, really, though I don’t think anyone can.
So here’s to a great year for everyone, whether you’re on your way in, out, or somewhere in between. Until next time, cheers!