By Erica DeBarge
It has been roughly eight months since we left our 1+4 host sites, and I’m currently on a bus from Hartford to Cambridge after a relaxing winter break. During my bridge year, I spent so many hours on buses, that if I didn’t look up every once in a while, I might forget that I’m actually in Connecticut.
Yes, time has passed. But I don’t find myself forgetting. Not the important stuff anyways. There is no way the terrazas and golden streets of Madrid at dusk, the constant buzzing of el Retiro, the shrieks and cackles of my host sisters, or the salty, wholesome taste of tortilla could ever slip from my memory. And if I do happen to do a little forgetting, I always have the “a year ago today” Google Photos notifications to remind me of the gorgeous cities I was galavanting exactly 365 days ago (as I sit in the library).
I’ve done my fair share of missing, but now I find comfort in my future. Madrid was an inexplicably beautiful experience, but college has begun! I can now study and live and laugh with my closest friends (who are also gifts from 1+4). Some people struggle freshman year to find their people, but I’m lucky to have already located mine.
My first semester back to school went rather swimmingly, but it wasn’t perfect. Something that bothered me and served as a source of stress was my low number of clubs and activities. In September, I was focused on my studies and getting back into the swing of academics, and I was afraid to stretch myself too thin my first semester. Therefore, I didn’t join as many clubs as everyone else had.
Over winter break, I decided to address my dissatisfaction. I scoured the 2020 and 2021 Facebook pages to join e-lists and apply for e-board positions in organizations that looked fascinating to me. I liked pages, researched websites, emailed professors and community service organizations, and became very close with Student Information Services. I can’t wait to get back to campus, get involved, and take charge of this semester.
The moral of the story is that everyone goes at their own pace. Stay present, stay golden, and don’t freak out!