5 things you are never told when considering a bridge year:
It will never feel 100% right
The truth is… no matter how many times you tell yourself that you made the right decision. No matter how many times you feel content and satisfied, there are still going to be moments where all you want is to escape back to your comfort because every day you spend away from home, from what you are accustomed to will be the biggest stretch of your life. Every day is a stretch zone. Not just one moment that occurs every couple of days, weeks or months. But you have to remember that it’s going to be okay even when it feels so far out because if you forget that you’re going to make it through the experience, then you might just not and that would be a tragic loss.
You will be completely alone, even when you aren’t
No matter how many people you have holding your hand and pushing you forward, at the end of the day you only have yourself. Because no other person can feel exactly what you are feeling. The only person that can keep you sane is yourself because the only person that knows you best is in fact yourself, even when it doesn’t seem that way. You have to know how to analyze yourself to do what’s best for yourself whether that’s going the extra mile or taking a step back. And it is okay to take a step back, no one is judging you.
FOMO and homesickness is so real
Not everyone experiences this, unfortunately, I am one of them who does. And I won’t say that it comes in only waves or drops but rather it just consumes me. Whether I’m having the very best moment of my life or whether I’m going through hell. It’s ALWAYS present. See, the thing about FOMO and homesickness, is that it’s everything we wish we could share with those that we love and it’s also every moment we can’t stand being away from. For me, it’s a curse. Sometimes, social media helps minimize it, other times, it worsens it. I’m not going to lie, at times I feel like I’m drowning, trying to grasp on to the last little bit of hope that I have. But the one thing that I learned is that I made this decision for myself, so I have to own it. In times of weakness, it’s okay to just cry. It’s okay to ask for help or ask for time for reflection. You have to do what is best for yourself because if you don’t, you will end up not only emotional but you will hurt yourself physically and mentally.
You shouldn’t feel forced to mesh in
If you embark on this experience and feel as though you aren’t fitting in, that’s cool. But don’t give up so quickly and just give yourself a terrible experience. Some things need time. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that you HAVE to FORCE yourself to FIT in. If it doesn’t feel right and you know yourself well enough then don’t force it. Talk to someone and have the issue resolved because forcing yourself to mesh in can damage you and ruin the experience. You are in charge of your own happiness and only you can choose how you spend this time.
It’s not for everyone, seriously
I think that is one is one that I often bounce back and forth from. I was always the girl who was going to graduate high school and immediately go to college but instead I chose a path that I don’t always feel was right for me. That’s alright too though, but I’m here now and I did end up choosing this for personal reasons that I would like to understand better. But honestly, in reality, it’s just not meant for some. Some people need to go to college and experience not only the lecture hall experience but also the dormroom experience of staying up late and partying because you think that you won’t regret it in the morning. Some people need to go to college because they know themselves, they know exactly what they want. In the same way, some just don’t need to go to school after high school whether they have their life set or whether they just aren’t meant for it. Others like myself, just need some time to explore. They need to push themselves far more than they feel like they can. People just need to grow and learn and for every individual it happens differently.