Life After Erasmus: Coming Off the Rollercoaster

Leaving an Erasmus year can feel a bit like getting off of a roller coaster. Photo copyright dpa

Leaving an Erasmus year can feel a bit like getting off of a roller coaster. Photo copyright dpa

Some call it Post-Erasmus-Depression, I wouldn’t go quite so far. Post-Rollercoaster-Syndrome perhaps?

You know the feeling, you’ve just been on a rollercoaster, adrenaline is pumping through your veins, and you’re not quite ready to get off, maybe you could go again. That’s kind of how I feel about Erasmus.

It was a whirlwind of a year. I’m home one month and two days now and readjusting nicely to normal life. Nothing has changed and everything is different. While abroad I slightly forgot that life was still going on here without me. Even now life is still going on, and I have to find my place once more.

The last thing I want is to pick up exactly where I left off as if the Erasmus year didn’t have anything to do with normal life. It was a bubble in many ways, but it changed me. I can’t be who I was a year ago, I can’t even be the person I was five weeks ago, I’ve got to find a middle ground.
Stepping off the plane I was already a different person. In Ireland I was always going to be different than I was last year. I can’t be as footloose and fancy free as I was, away from home, spending the year on a glorified holiday. In “real life” there are different social pressures, expectations, and here I know exactly when and where I have to conform.

Erasmus was liberating to say the least: I lost myself, lost the plot, found myself, learnt a lot. Since getting home, keeping busy has prevented me from missing the hustle and bustle of Erasmus life. To say I’ve been busy is an understatement. The first week I was up to my eyes in paperwork and one final assignment for Cologne, the second week it lulled a little, and for about a day and a half I was bored out of my head in rainy old Ireland. After that I had a visitor from Poland and then I started back working in a hotel in the city centre three Mondays ago. The first week alone I got a good 40 hours in before collapsing into bed on Friday night.

In comparison to the wild adventures of the last year, my new routine of sleep, work, and study doesn’t leave much to blog about but it’s given me a lot to think about.

Striking the balance between pre-Erasmus, post-Erasmus, and on-Erasmus Erica is something that I’ve got to work on. Erasmus has redefined me as a person in many, many ways that I will inevitable divulge at some point in the future when it’s all a little clearer. The societal restrictions I’ve mentioned that exist in Ireland are something that I’ll delve into further detail on at some point too. Really, I could write a book on all this stuff, secretly, I plan to, someday. In the meantime, my Final Year Dissertation is calling, and it takes priority. Not quite the Fass of laughs that I experienced in Cologne, but sure, it’ll be grand…I hope!

This post was originally published on Ich hab Wanderlust.

By | 2017-03-21T23:17:03+00:00 February 20th, 2014|General, University and Education|Comments Off on Life After Erasmus: Coming Off the Rollercoaster

About the Author:

Erica Jane Lee is a final year student of European Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. Just back from a year abroad in Cologne, Germany, she’s beginning to write her dissertation about European Identity, a subject that interests her greatly. Erasmus was an amazing taster of life “on the continent” and Erica hopes to return to Germany to complete a Masters in the near future. With various ideas of Foreign Affairs, Politics and Journalism floating around in her head, she’s still not quite sure what she wants to be when she grows up. In the meantime she’s passing her time like all other 20 year olds ... on the internet. Her blog recounting her Erasmus adventure can be found at Ich hab Wanderlust and you can follow her on twitter at @habwanderlust.