Studying abroad: it’s a part of the college experience recommended by most, but experienced by few. It’s a chance to experience another culture, maybe learn a new language and make memories that will last a lifetime. That’s all good and well, but what happens when your best friend decides to study abroad while you’re left in the States? Grief is a real thing and a friend studying abroad is a form of loss.
Stage 1: Denial
I remember when my friend first told me she was planning on studying abroad, I was naturally happy for her especially as that was a goal of mine as well. Then I put it in the back of mind…until I realized she had actually applied, gotten accepted and put down her deposit. She’s been gone almost four months now and I still pull my phone out to text her if she wants to get lunch.
Stage 2: Anger
I don’t know if I was more angry that my friend was leaving me or that I couldn’t fit into her suitcase to go with her. I think the real moment of fury is when your friend posts that first picture in his or her new country with the biggest smile. It’s not that you’re jealous of their global adventures… who are you kidding — you are absolutely jealous. You can practically feel the fire in your belly as you begrudgingly click *like.*
Stage 3: Bargaining
Once the anger has subsided, you wonder just how large a deal with the devil you’d have to make to have your friend back. You calculate how much ramen you would need to eat to be able to afford a plane ticket and you check every week to see if the flight price ever drops. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.
Stage 4: Depression
This one hits hard and is something that even junk food and Netflix can’t fix, especially because those are activities once reserved for you and your bestie. You nostalgically remember the nights of staying up late for a House of Cards marathon and stuffing your face with take-out. Nothing hurts quite as much as not being able to see your best friend for five months straight, and the worst part about it is it makes you acutely aware what life after graduation will be like. Now you must settle for a tweet here and a text there. Plus, it’s pretty hard to snuggle with a computer screen, not that I’ve tried.
Stage 5: Acceptance
One day you will come to accept the fact that your friend is off jet-setting across the world while you try to decide which pair of leggings to wear to class… just kidding. But really, acceptance is possible because as much as you miss your friend, the knowledge that she is having the best time and enjoying incredible experiences almost makes up for her leaving. Almost.