I last left you at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn, following a devastating Spider loss to Charlotte in the opening round of the postseason. After the game, I headed home for two weeks to relax and decompress after an eight week term and a week of basketball. Prior to attending Oxford for my first term, I thought that eight weeks were simply too short and that the six-week breaks between trimesters was way too long. After having been through two terms and two breaks, the system that they have is perfect. During the terms, students do not sleep much. In response to this I spent the first two weeks at home recovering with 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night. I also was able to celebrate Easter with my family for the first time in my college career. I missed Thanksgiving, but celebrated Easter, so it all works out, right? After this two-week stay at home, and feeling rejuvenated to take on the world again, I headed back down to my second home. I came back to the University of Richmond for a few reasons. Reason 1- I love this place. Reason 2- Chance to Play, the organization that my best friends and I started this summer, was competing in the annual UR Business Pitch Competition. Reason 3- Basketball workouts. Reason 4 (Tie)- Pigroast, my 21st birthday and the Kappa Kappa Gatsby social! It doesn’t get better than that!
After spending 17 days in Richmond, I am ready to go back to England for my 3rd and final term of this year. So, as I look forward into these last eight weeks, what’s the play?
I like to group my plans into three areas- academic, cultural, and social. Let’s start with the academic side of things. I will continue my research in the Davies group working with some brilliant organic chemists from around the world. I want to make progress on my project and continue to learn as much organic chemistry as I can. On the tutorial side of things, I will be taking a major course of Advanced Organic Synthesis and a minor course of Modern British Drama/Performance. I couldn’t be happier with my courses this term. I get to study organic chemistry and act! I am transferring the Modern British Drama/Performance class as my Visual and Performing Arts general education requirement. I received an email this morning from my tutor outlining my first assignment. I have to read the play ‘Arcadia’ by Tom Stoppard, write a 2500 word essay on the idea of ‘Misinterpretation’ and be ready to recite specific lines from the play. It’s going to be a great term!
On the cultural side of things, I have two goals. I have spent 16 weeks in England already and believe that I am getting accustomed to their way of life. I want to better my understanding of their culture and immerse myself further. I also want to test the waters in a new culture. I have not travelled much outside of England, so this term I plan on visiting France and experiencing a glimpse of their culture. I know that a few days in a country like France cannot do it justice, but it will have to do.
And lastly, on the social side of things, I want to have a great time with the friends that I have made in England. People have said that the abroad experience is the best of their college career. So far, it has been for me. In these last weeks, it is time to live it up, enjoy the ride, and learn what I can. Tomorrow I fly from Richmond to Dulles and then Dulles to Heathrow. It is weird to think that less than seven months ago, I was scared and nervous going into unknown territory across the Atlantic. This third time, I feel ready to go. Let’s do this!
“The fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly. Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special. Because everyone is.” – David McCullough, Jr