Transition back to your daily life is an important part of the YES trip experience. When you go home, you may feel a bit out of place. Going back to school and being around peers and family members who didn’t share this experience with you may be both exciting and confusing. You could experience what is called Re-entry stress in a few different ways. Re-entry stress is like culture stress, or culture shock,- only in reverse.
After your trip you may feel frustrated, bored, and left out. You may feel very excited to share what you learned on your YES weekend and be eager to continue serving, even though you have to get back into your regular routine. Don’t be discouraged or give up on your passion to serve! Experiencing any of these thing is very normal.
What do to IF you feel…
- Disorientated– Keep in mind how the initial “culture shock” of your trip faded; your re-entry shock will too! Make yourself aware of changes within yourself from the trip.
- Lonely– Reach out to others who understand what you are going through and stay in touch with the ministry sites and your friends on this trip. Don’t isolate yourself or dwell on the past.
- Restlessness– Get involved! Whether it be through volunteering, sharing your experience with others, or planning your next trip.
- Misunderstood– Don’t be upset if people seem indifferent to your experience. You don’t want to become self-righteous or indignant over another’s response or lack of response.
- Tired– Take your time to readjust and allow for rest, reflection, and rejoicing in what you have seen God do.
- Frustrated– Try to avoid slipping into resentment, anger, or other responses that appear Lovingly try to inform those around you about the world’s needs.
- Loss of identity– Focus on how you are now better off from the experiences you have had. Also focus on skills you gained.
- Defensive– Take it as fact that others are usually not able to relate to your experiences as you would wish. People may ask superficial questions. Be prepared to face these questions. Develop ways to make transitions into what you really want to communicate.
- Sensitive- Peers back home can seem insensitive to materialism and wastefulness. Remember that your perspective has changed — not theirs.
How to remember and reflect on what you learned and experienced
Keep your memories alive – don’t store them away in a shoe box. It wasn’t a dream. It was a very real experience. You could make a memory book, write a blog, or journal.
Ask yourself some questions:
- What about your experience made it so special?
- How did this experience change you?
Talk to a friend or family member:
- Tell a story about a particularly momentous day or experience.
- Describe how your time has altered your goals and perceptions.
Encouragement and ideas for continuing to serve your community:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
- Live Differently: Only you can determine if you will continue the amazing journey of growing nearer to the Lord and of being a blessing to others. For this to happen, you must take on that responsibility and be intentional about your continuing journey.
- Invest in your community: You can be a great encouragement to the people you met and the ministry sites you visited by keeping in touch with them. Write letters, send birthday cards, pray for them, and visit.
- Take Risks—Stay Out of Your Comfort Zone: Decide right now that you are not just at the end of your short-term service-learning experience, but actually at the beginning of a new ministry. Plan to live in a way that will continue to stretch you beyond the level of faith you now have. Put your trust in God. Seek to hear his voice and to obey and put into practice all that you have learned.