Sometimes I wonder how Alice felt after leaving Wonderland and her mad companions. Or Wendy parting with the mermaid coves of Neverland for the mundane streets of London. As I awoke this morning, the soft summer sun streamed in through my window, a realization that I was finally home. While laying in my own bed after months of being cooped in David Russell Apartments, I finally had the opportunity to calmly reflect on my final semester of first year.
I cannot even begin to comprehend that I have finished my first full year at St Andrews. As trite as it may sound, Fresher’s Week feels like it only occurred a few weeks ago, not nine months. How overwhelming it all was, my trepidation at finally leaving my door for this unknown, and how frightened I was are as clear as the sense of peace I currently feel.
Second semester, though, was by far a more incredible experience than the first. I began my time at St Andrews feeling small, scared, and alone, never knowing what to expect or just what to feel. Yet with the help of some amazing friends, the second half of this year passed as smoothly as a summer’s breeze. The people I met for the spring semester were truly incredible, and I am so thankful to have made such wonderful friends. Being quite shy and generally nervous in social situations, I am amazed that so many interesting, intelligent, and witty people have gathered around me. They have made this transition from quiet homebody to intrepid adventurer all the more exciting and easy.
My spring was also spent on very incredible journeys. Two forays into the Highlands, quaint harbor towns, castles, and my beloved Lake District made this first year at St Andrews all the more memorable. Though I have already endlessly praised the Lake District, words cannot really encompass all that I feel when I recall my time there. Visiting such a wonderfully quiet and peaceful place topped this year as my favorite experience, and I can only hope that I will return very soon.
This year, and particularly this semester, also helped truly cement what it is I wish to pursue with my life. Enrolling in the English module second semester made my school work all the more bearable, and I actually enjoyed myself as I studied Frankenstein and The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. This course of study made me rediscover my love of learning, which years of public schooling back home had stamped out of me. I truly enjoyed writing essays on my English texts and plumbing the depths of the various poems we were assigned. My foray into English helped me rediscover reading and writing for knowledge’s sake, not just the marks on the paper or the grade on the exam.
At this time, I am just at a loss for words on how to accurately describe my first year at St Andrews, which is a rare occurrence for any who really know me. Though I very much love the comfort of my own home, tucked away amongst my books and leather arm chairs, deep within my heart I yearn for a real experience of the places I usually only read of. This first year at St Andrews has done just that, opening a new world of incredible adventures filled with a motley cast of characters. Looking back on all that has occurred since September, I am so thankful that I did not hesitate at the last moment. Leaving my front door for this new world has been the best decision of my life, and I cannot wait for what mysteries the next three years holds for me. This hobbit has had her first taste of adventure, and though initially unsure, is now addicted.
Originally written 29 May 2013