1. Social media is the enemy.
When I first arrived home, I'd religiously scroll through all the drunk Snapchat stories at parties and the bars every Thursday through Saturday night. I found myself missing those wild adventures as I laid in bed about to fall asleep.
The FOMO was real. However, I reminded myself that only a few weeks ago I'd been doing that exact same thing and yet still felt miserable, so it was easy to snap back to reality.
2. I had many acquaintances, but select people I consider real friends.
I realized once I got home that although I knew hundreds of people from school, there were only about three I cared to keep in contact with. I may have had friendly conversations with the guy in my British Lit class and borrowed clothes with the girls who lived in the dorm next door, but none of these interactions provided me with any evidence that any of these people were worth staying in touch with.
3. Few people care; the rest are just curious.
Adding onto my second point, when news of my absence first broke, my phone was inundated with texts inquiring about where I was, along with my friends at school informing me of the ridiculous amount of people who'd asked about me. All I can really do is laugh.
None of these people give a damn about how I'm doing. They just want to feel "in the know." I owe absolutely no one any explanation as to why I left school and it's their prerogative if they wish fabricate stories however they please.
4. My parents aren't so bad after all.
I didn't expect to bond with my old folks so much, but nonetheless I'm grateful we did. Most of my friends are away at school, so my parents willingly filled the void-- I accompanied them on their Saturday night dinners, went to see movies, went shopping, and did all kinds of fun activities.
I confided in them about relationships, my social life, and career goals, and they were surprisingly non-judgmental. Granted, they didn't completely abandon their roles as disciplinarians, but it was refreshing for both of us to get to know each other in a different light.
5. My unhappiness wasn't me; it was a product of the school.
I came home in a state of complete confusion and unease and prayed time away would allow to discover clarity in myself. It did.
My time home enabled me to pinpoint specific reasons as to why I'd been perpetually unhappy, and essentially every one of them involved some aspect of the school itself. It became startlingly obvious that if I wanted to get myself back on track, I needed to begin in a completely and incomparably different environment.
6. There is no rush to finish.
At first I was concerned my decision to take a semester off would force me to graduate later, but then I realized... who the hell cares if it does?
There is absolutely no rush to begin life in the *real* world, and in the scheme of things, it's pretty insignificant whether or not you graduate with your friends. It's not your high school graduation.
7. It's never too late to start over.
Following point number six, whether you took a semester off to transfer schools or to evaluate what exact vision you see for your life, it's never too late to abruptly alter your course of action. A semester home will provide you with a different perspective on your life that you may not have had back at school and could lead to some game changing epiphanies.
Don't fight it. Switch schools if you have to. Major in a field you never expected to intrigue you. Whatever it is, listen to both your head and heart and then run with it. It's your life and only you can decide its outcome.