The Second Semester So Far
As I stood ready to walk through Heathrow airport security, I felt a strange mix of emotions. Granted, being at home for a month was a good time to relax. There were mountains of food consumed over Xmas, home comforts were very much enjoyed and seeing all my family and friends was great. But at the same time, I enjoy being busy with work, friends and school life in general. The most exciting prospect was seeing what was in store for my second (and sadly final) semester here at W&M. So here is a quick summary of what I’ve been up to over the past few months
I came back to the US a week or so before the semester started to stay with a friend in her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I got to meet a lot of her family members before travelling down to
stay in her family’s shore-house near Bethany Beach, Delaware. Although the weather was a bit chilly, the beach was still beautiful to visit.
We then returned back to school and before I knew it I was busy with work from 4 new classes. This semester was slightly different to the fall, with less exam intensive courses. One of my classes is a senior seminar. There are only 14 of us in the class and on top of that it is entirely essay based which is something completely new to me, having only taken a majority of exam based courses at Exeter. So this semester has presented itself with new challenges, particularly with the forms of assessment I have to do. Whilst not completely used to this style of learning, I know I will benefit in the long run especially with my courses that I do in final year as they become more varied in their forms of assessment.
Williamsburg weather still continues to puzzle me. At the end of February it felt like summer, with lots of sunshine and temperatures reaching the mid-twenties. This called for my first trip to College Creek with some of my sorority sisters. College Creek is the local “beach” which is actually a river. Wording aside, all I could think whilst there was how mad anyone in England would think I was for going to the beach at this time of year.
The middle of the semester always becomes a slightly stressful time around campus with midterms and papers looming. Having successfully completed all my exams and essays, I got to go on Spring Break with a big group of friends as we returned to the shore house in Delaware. Okay, it might not have been Florida. But it was a great way to get away from school for a week and just relax. Most of this, admittedly, involved catching up on sleep lost during the lead up to midterm season.
One of my favourite parts of the semester so far happened just last week. My professor for my senior seminar, Economics of Higher Education, invited our entire class round to his house for dinner. It was such a unique experience that I’ve never had before so it was quite exciting. It is so great to be able to experience a different type of relationship with your professors, with the small class sizes helping to facilitate this.
Very aware of how close I am to the end, I am currently in the process of making plans to travel and explore a bit more of the US before returning home for good. Hopefully a trip to New York City is on the list as well as staying with a few friends.
It’s interesting being an exchange student at a college you know you have to leave at the end of the year. People around me are so excited for the term to end, having reached that point in the semester where you can see finals approaching and can’t wait to just have the work done. However, for me I know that the end of the semester is the end of my year abroad. Being so close to the end, I’ve started to look back on what I’ve achieved so far. Not only do I look back and admire what I’ve done but I feel a sense of pride in myself. I’ve put myself out of my comfort zone in ways I never could have imagined myself doing. From joining a sorority and making sure I’m busy every single day, to just little things like being more confident and outgoing when meeting new people. I can’t wait to use these skills and experiences not only when I return to Exeter but for the rest of my life. So whilst I value the academic skills and new knowledge I’ve acquired in my subject area, I know without a doubt that it is the experiences and personal growth that I have had whilst here that I will be (and am) most grateful for gaining.