I’m sitting in a coffee shop inside Edinburgh airport, waiting to board my flight home. Freshman year: check. For all of the worries I had about college–worries that took shape around the start of the 9th grade and peaked last August—I never once thought this far into the experience. I didn’t anticipate, for one, how hard it would be to leave St. Andrews.
Attending College Abroad
My college friends became like family so saying goodbye to them was difficult. Some of my friends were study abroad students who spent only this one year at St. Andrews, and I had to say goodbye to them for good. Others graduated, like my editor at the newspaper. Many will be returning but even saying goodbye to them for the summer was challenging. It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago I didn’t know any of them!
Before starting at St. Andrews, I had never been away from home for longer than a week. When our first school break began at Christmas time, I was desperate to get home. I had really missed my family during first semester, and I was anxious to finish my first round of university exams and make it home in one piece. But returning home for the summer feels markedly different. I have talked with my friends at St. Andrews and at other schools about how hard it is to leave these new lives and friends we’ve established at our schools, even though we love and miss our friends and family at home.
I’m also amazed by how quickly this year passed. I’ve had so many first experiences, from my first college party to my first golf lesson. I’ve learned to navigate my own school’s approach to teaching (and learning) and my new town’s rhythms. I’ve traveled more this academic year than I have in the rest of my life combined and become an airport regular.
So it’s fitting that my first year reflections are taking place inside this terminal. Perhaps the most significant reflection, though, is that year one has been such a positive experience. Some of my friends have had their college starts tainted by awful roommates or homesickness, but I lucked out. Unlike last summer, I’m not dreading September. Instead, I’m already looking forward to it!