To be Continued
I like to believe that this will not be the last time I live in Oxford, so I will not write that it is. Besides, there’s no reason to get too sentimental in this post, since I’m not going home for another six weeks. I’ll be in France for ten days with Camille, then Sweden for two weeks with Rosie, then Snowdonia for another two weeks, then at Priya’s house for a night. This year abroad is not over.
But my time at Oxford is essentially finished. Somewhat surprisingly, this experience has been nearly everything I hoped for and everything I feared, so in summary it has been wonderful. I was going to do this thing where I look back at my first post and write a sort of response to it, explaining how I’ve changed since then or whatever. I have decided not to do that, because a few seconds of reading that post has almost made me cry.
I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE ENGLAND.
That said, it’s time to go. I can tell that I’ve gotten all that I was ever going to get out of this experience, and I don’t think I have any learning left to do here (for now). I have managed to find a place where simply EXISTING makes me happy. That’s pretty great, and it feels nice to know where I want to be for the rest of my life. At the same time, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone back in America. As much as I love England, I my American friends a lot. I wish I could have the best of both worlds.
Anyway, I suppose I should give some sort of summary of the last half of my last term. It’ll be quite short, because my studying picked up in the past month or so and I haven’t had much time for much else. I’ve participated in some football here and there, seen a Pride and Prejudice play, which I’ve always wanted to do, spent some time with Asiyla and had a sad goodbye with the Radwans. My grades for this term have been really good, and I made great connections with my tutors. I’ll really miss most of them, actually. I suppose this should come as no surprise, but I think that I have grown enormously as a result of my academic experience at Oxford. I just…feel a lot CLEVERER, although I’m not sure that I actually am. Maybe it’s less the actual knowledge that I’ve gained, and more my sense of capability and accomplishment. Because after you get four hours of sleep every night for a week while simultaneously trying to write one essay on a 900-page novel and another on the French Revolution, you feel like you can do anything. My confidence has grown enormously this year – especially this term for some reason – and more importantly, I have somehow met one of the most important, challenging goals I had for myself at the beginning of the year – I have started to embrace the uncertainty in my life. I still don’t love feeling uncertain about my future, but Oxford has given me the confidence I needed to understand that it’s not that anything can happen to me, it’s that I can do anything. Maybe it’s corny, but it’s important.
Also, while I have begun to accept uncertainty, I have begun to feel more certain about certain things. The academic stimulation (and the end of my English major) that I’ve experienced here is persuading me that I could have a real future in academia. I’d love to do research in neuropsychology, a job that would be practical enough (increasing the effectiveness of treatment) while still allowing me to use my writing skills and my love of the university scene in general. I think it won’t be too long until I am back here in England, studying for a PhD in psychology from Oxford or Cambridge or St Andrews or King’s College London.
And I will conclude this post by conveying the good news that, according to one of my best friends, I now have an English inflection. Not an accent, but an inflection. It’s a start.