O the daunting first post! Well, it’s best to start with a cordial welcome. Hi! I’m Colleen, The Unconventional Collegiate. My collegiate status is pretty self-explanatory: I am currently in my first year at the College of William and Mary. Being unconventional is not so straightforward. I am unconventional in a lot of ways, but in regards to college, my studies themselves are unconventional. I am actually a student at two institutions: The College of William and Mary in Virginia, USA and the University of St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. It was my incredible fortune to be accepted into a Joint Degree Programme between these two schools, so I will be spending two years at each and graduating with a bachelor’s degree recognized and granted by both schools!
“That sounds great! But Colleen, isn’t that going to be terribly complicated to move from one school to another and then back again like that and live in two very different quarters of the globe?” you may say. Yes, it will be both great and terribly complicated, but the general formula for a compelling and enriching story is (great) + (terribly complicated) = memories and stories worth sharing. Therefore, I hereby christen this blog with my self-declared epitaph in order to share my stories and lessons with you, fine people of the inter-webs.
In order to keep things practical (as I dearly love practically in life and nonsense in humor) I will also be sharing advice and information about finding and getting into the right college for you and all of the paperwork and preparation that accompanies studying abroad!
After several years of college searching, months of nervous tremor inducing application deadlines, and more months of thumb-twiddling while waiting for decisions; after the late-night acceptance email, the congratulations, and graduation; after much shopping, much sorting, and much packing, I was ready to leave home. It took the repacking of almost everything including my teabags, but my parents, my brother, and I fit all of my stuff and ourselves into our minivan and began the long and serpentine drive to Virginia.
Arriving on campus was a very loud and chaotic but friendly experience, as orientation took the incoming class into her arms like a chatty but loveable matron waiting to welcome her adopted children home with an over-excited embrace. Having roughly established some idea of the layout of the campus and having been confronted with a number of names only surpassed by the number of unknown faces in the crowd, I began class. If orientation gave me a bit of culture-shock (or a lot of culture-shock), the reassuring routine and fascination of the classroom soon made me feel at home. I am, in truth, a bookworm with a strong appreciation for regulated schedules.
Of course, I do have a bit of a life outside of academics. Upon arriving, I quickly got involved with a couple of organizations and began spending my weekends exploring the surround town. Thanks to Mr. John D. Rockefeller Jr. we have Colonial Williamsburg as our dear, aged neighbor. I try my best to make frequent expeditions to wander the quaint brick streets of the area, and I look forward to sharing my excitement and photos with you, readers.
In short, my unconventional collegiate adventure is off to a fantastic start. The next four years promise many interior and exterior discoveries, challenges, doubts, fears, friendships, wonders, blessings, and stories. And so, it begins.