04.01.2015 - 05.16.2015 50 °F
A Sense of an Ending
This past Thursday I completed my exams, and thus marked a close to my freshman (1st year as they call it here) at St. Andrews. It feels a little weird. It's difficult for me to find proper words to describe the experience this year. It's been incredible.
After spring break, my time was largely consumed by work and studying in preparation for exams but if I were to describe this experience in whole, it would be an adventure.
Adventure Part 1: People:
It's all about the people. The friends that I have made here, have more than anything, marked my experience. As I am leaving for the College of William and Mary, which I am sure will be incredible and exciting, however, the most difficult part will be leaving my friends. I will carry a unique part of each of them with me wherever I go. The week before exam revising commenced, my close group of friends made the collective decision to throw me a surprise leaving party and take this wonderful photo below. We, as humans, tend to gravitate to those who are similar to us, sharing common interest, ideas, perspectives, but I don't think that's true necessarily. My friends' nationalities include, Swedish, English, Irish, Italian, German, Scottish, Bermudan, Croatian, and American, all with unique takes on the world. We celebrate these differences in our friendship. So rule one of life from freshman year - surround yourself with good people because bad company corrupts good people.
Part 2: Growth:
If I look back exactly a year ago today, which was the day I graduated form high school, I have grown more in this first year of college than I did throughout my high school career. Besides traditional intellectual and responsibility growth that comes along with leaving for college, there is a growth in the sense of learning to combat individual challenges ranging from dealing with the bureaucracies within the school to get an event proved, to dealing with being so far away from those close to you back home and simply missing Chick Fil A. But this international travel, this international perspective has most importantly improved my personal growth. Certain beliefs have been cemented based off experiences had this year, priorities have changed with a changing perspective, my appreciation for what I have and what I will become has increased, and I can say that I am glad I decided to spend my first year of college 3,500 miles from my home in Atlanta to a town of 10,000 in Scotland. It is a year that I not only will carry with me for the rest of my life, but nothing that anyone can take away.
Part 3: Happiness
It may sound cliché, trite, or over emphasized, but I think many of us forget to pursue our own individual happiness. I made a conscious effort this year to perform academically excellent, but never forgetting to take every opportunity to be content. Our collegiate experiences are all too short as a whole and to not enjoy the little things, the sunrises at 5 am after a night out with all my friends, or taking that extra beach walk, or heading to the pub with the boys, or traveling, or for me playing the piano, and hiking around St. Andrews, to not enjoy the little things would be a waste. I've learned to appreciate the beauty in whatever surrounding I reside in, I chose to pursue activities that I truly enjoyed, and again, most importantly, I surrounded myself with people that make me laugh, challenge me, and are always looking to have a good time. This time of maximum freedom with minimum responsiblity is not a time to be wasted.
Part 4: Moving Forward
I suppose a sense of an ending is nice. It will be nice to be missed by my friends, but I will miss them and, sure there are some days that I think "Why would I ever want to start all over again when I have had such a good experience here." But most of the time, I am beyond excited to enter a new environment - the American collegiate experience. Time of discomfort is time that fosters the most growth. I very much look forward to William and Mary. I will meet new people, and experience entirely different social and academic scenes.
I think I will continue this blog as I head to William and Mary, I don't see why not.
Anyhow, I will be spending the next week enjoying time with my friends before I head home. What a year.
This summer will be filled with it's own adventures and I will be spending most of it in Atlanta, so please call me and we'll get something to eat.
I like to characterize my year in Scotland in a way I think John Steinbeck put it best:
“There is something about it [travel and individual exploration] that opens no door to words. But it stays with you afterward, and, more than that, things you didn’t know you saw come back to you after you have left.” – Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck