Every morning I’m greeted with the same routine. I grab my phone from the bedside table and start mindlessly thumbing through the latest posts on Instagram.
As I scroll through pictures, I see my best friends posing with one another in front of grand monuments and magnificent landscapes. They’re lifting their food in the air and capturing breathtaking views. In this moment, I can’t help but wish I were smiling alongside of them.
It isn’t a secret that the majority of Wake Forest’s junior class opts to spend the fall semester studying abroad.
Whether you’re dancing the night away in Barcelona or devouring endless pizzas in Florence, studying abroad is a chance to make new friends and experience the world.
Nevertheless, each year some of us choose to stay here, and somehow we’re managing.
If you’re on the fence about studying abroad, or if you think it might not be for you, you’re in good company.
Although my previous study abroad experiences were some of the best months of my life, I knew Winston-Salem would be my home this semester. I dreaded facing junior year without my close friends, but I’m surviving. And if you decide not to study abroad, you will survive, too.
Students choose to stay at Wake Forest for many reasons.
Whether you’re opting to stay for family matters, financial issues, coursework or personal preference, there will be other students here just like you.
Before making a decision, determine your reasons for either going abroad or staying. If your only reason for wanting to study abroad is because everyone else is doing it, consider staying.
Being here this semester has forced me to go outside my comfort zone to meet new people.
Without your usual crew by your side, you make friends with those around you. You have the opportunity to join a new organization and try a different social scene.
Although you may feel alone at times, remind yourself of the wonderful people surrounding you, most of whom you haven’t even met yet.
“Not going abroad has lead me to create new friendships at Wake,” said junior Maggie Sinkler. “I don’t know if I would have made them otherwise.”
Choosing not to study abroad also allows you a semester to focus on yourself without distraction.
Whether you’re trying a new workout class, focusing on your schoolwork or getting a job, you’re able to concentrate on yourself without being preoccupied with your close friends.
Junior year is pivotal because you are no longer filling your schedule with divisional courses and staying out late Wednesday through Saturday. You’ll most likely start taking classes in your major, so schoolwork becomes more intensive. Building your resume and applying for internships is critical junior year, so use this semester to work ahead.
“I love being at Wake Forest in the fall because there are so many opportunities,” said junior Kellie Giesel. “Not only network for jobs, but also to meet new friends on campus that you might not have necessarily known before. After studying abroad in the spring, I wouldn’t have changed anything to study abroad in the fall.”
Seeing my friends in pictures together without me still makes me a little envious. I miss them every second of the day.
I remind myself that in just a few short months, we’ll be back together.
I haven’t once doubted my decision to stay here this semester. You only get to do college once, so you might as well make the most of it while you can.