Raincoats and Rain (in California?!)
It’s been difficult to figure out what to say about my upcoming departure (in just two days…!). So to start, I’ll begin with a classic topic: the weather! In preparation for my trip to England, I recently purchased my very first raincoat! I know it sounds strange, but as someone raised in the dry Central Valley of California, I haven’t seen much rain in my lifetime. Even in Washington, where I go to school, I live on the drier Eastern side of the state. But as if life is preparing me for what’s to come, my hometown has become one giant puddle the past few weeks, and my new raincoat has been put to good use!
Now to the real stuff: in this first post, I was tempted to include great sweeping claims about the excitement of international travel, the prestige of attending a world-renowned university, etc. etc. But to be honest, I’ve been terrified for the past few weeks. At school, I am constantly busy, with hardly a moment to think about anything besides assignments, meetings, and various obligations. But since I’ve been at home on break, I’ve had endless time to fret about leaving. I’m worried about getting lost when I get to London (the last time I was in a big city, I boarded the wrong bus and ended up in a different city altogether before I realized something was wrong!). I’m afraid I won’t be intellectually prepared for the rigorous academic standards of Oxford. And most of all, I’m scared that I won’t have the amazingly-incredible-once-in-a-lifetime-experience that I’ve imagined in my head for the past year.
The truth is, though, I know I’m prepared. For all of it. That isn’t to say it won’t be challenging. I can guarantee that I will get very, very lost at some point (more likely at several points — I’ll share the stories). Getting used to the tutorial system will be a strange adjustment from my usual classes. And my time in the UK will certainly not always be a beautiful fantasy. But these are all things that I can and already have managed. When I left for college, I felt all of the same anxieties. I was headed for a state I had never visited, to live in a place where I knew absolutely no one, and my family was not able to be at my side to help me through it. So far, studying at Whitman has been well worth the initial challenges, and I know that studying abroad at Oxford will be just as rewarding and memorable. Like my last few rainy days in California, my life has already prepared me for what’s to come. It’ll be a great time — I just need to not let anxieties get in the way! Oh, and I also need to finish packing…which may prove to be even more difficult.