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Coming Back from Abroad: A Note to Our Returning Brothers
About 6 months ago, I was in your shoes.
I studied abroad in China during the Fall semester of 2017. I had experienced a whole new world filled with self-discovery and relationships with people 7,000 miles away. Even then, I was finding myself checking into Alpha Gamma Xi constantly. I put something up for brother auction, had Tommy read a senior send-off letter I wrote, and even ran for Leadership VP. But even though I was staying involved in APO halfway around the world, coming back wasn’t easy.
I had a hard time transitioning back into our chapter. I had these expectations that everything would be the same, my role in chapter would not have changed, and the brothers I was closest too would be the ones I would continue to hang out with the most.
I was wrong.
This idea was hard for me to grasp. I had changed in ways I hadn’t realized, so coming back was a real challenge. Because I had a brand new world view, something that still affects my everyday decision making and outlook on life, chapter wasn’t the same for me.
And the important thing about it all was that it was nobody’s fault.
I had a totally different experience that semester than my brothers did. So why would it be the same for me?
I automatically felt disconnected from chapter. There were brand new brothers I didn’t know. It was the first time I experienced the new leadership in our chapter. And ultimately the spark I was riding from my first year in AGX was long gone.
So after a nice discussion with an advisor and a brother saying just what I needed at that time, I decided to work towards my spark again. I tried to connect with new brothers, especially those who pledged the semester I was gone. I got to know the new pledges, and I attended EC meetings to see how I could get more involved. I was putting a lot into my active membership status, and I ended up getting a lot out of it.
I met so many new friends in APO. I got to hangout with the awesome new pledges. I got two littles. I found a new role within chapter for myself. I got to know the advisors better. And I finally found my APO spark again. My struggle to come back to AGX was the hardest, yet best thing that happened to me in APO.
So moral of the story?
Coming back to anything from a life-changing experience is difficult. Although AGX is always excited for its brothers to return, you have to be honest with yourself to know when you're ready to make that big transition back to our chapter. I do not say this to try and scare you, but to prepare you.
The transition I am talking about involves finding your place in chapter, because it might have changed. Returning to chapter doesn't have to be just paying dues and becoming an active brother again. It can include using your experience to grow as a brother when you return. But just know, if you hit bumps along the way, AGX is always here for you.
We cannot wait to have you all back to learn about your experiences and have you back as an active brother in our chapter.
Posted by Nate Borries on June 5, 2018 at 1:11pm
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