Loneliness & Overcoming Struggles in The Second Semester
Ellie covers how returning to the Netherlands after Christmas gifted her with some mixed feelings and how she dealt with the problems she faced after the departure of some of her friends
Déjà vu. That’s the main thing I felt as I got ready to return to Amsterdam after Christmas. Reluctant to leave the comfort of home, worried I’d forgotten to correctly upload proof of my negative COVID test and a little depressed at the thought of having to quarantine again… Yup, it was all feeling pretty similar to when I left for my year abroad at the end of last summer.
I’d thought going back would be easy. After all, I’d already been there for one semester. Hadn’t I done the hard part?
But, of course, it wasn’t that straightforward.
One minute I was staring out at the gloomy sky, wishing I were still at home. The next, I was deliriously happy to be back.
Once I touched down on Dutch soil, my mood oscillated a lot. One minute I was staring out at the gloomy sky, wishing I were still at home. The next, I was deliriously happy to be back.
It was a weird time, not helped by the fact most of my European friends – who’d only come to Amsterdam for the first semester – were in the process of moving out, which felt way too soon. Watching them empty out their rooms, giving me all the things they didn’t want to lug back to their home countries with them (I’ve now got enough toilet paper and bin bags to last me for the rest of the year) I felt a strange mix of emotions. Obviously, I was sad to see them go – but more than that, I felt as though I, too, were leaving, and I had to keep reminding myself that I still have another five months to go.
Two weeks later, that feeling is only just starting to ease off. All the new people have already started moving in. On my way out to Lidl earlier, I passed a group of them waiting nervously in the hallway, their bulging suitcases at their feet, struggling to open the front door. Weird to think that was me not long ago.
with the departure of most of my friends, I’m almost back to where I was in August – and I can’t decide if that’s a bad thing or not?
In a way, this kind of feels like I have gone back to that. True, I know my way around the city now (with some help from Google maps, that is) and I’m no longer petrified at the thought of having to go for my weekly food shop. But with the departure of most of my friends, I’m almost back to where I was in August – and I can’t decide if that’s a bad thing or not? I’ll admit, these past few days have been pretty hard. Seeing my friend off at the station was really surreal. I sat there on the metro ride home with my headphones in feeling sad, then lonely, then sad again, but when my train arrived back at my stop, the prevailing emotion was gratitude. I couldn’t even imagine leaving yet. There are still so many things I want to experience.
I’m upset my friends are gone. It would’ve been great to spend the second semester with them. But I guess the one positive to come out of it is it’s reminded me of how lucky I am to still be here. My work’s already piling up and I’m a little nervous about having to meet a load of new people again, but I’m excited, too.
Everything feels a lot less scary this time around.
Edited by Ryan Gerrett